Mamacita says: My mother hasn’t been feeling very well this week, so I’ve gone over there every night after school to bring her some food, do a few little chores, and make sure she’s still there. If you know what I mean. She’s still weak and shaky, as she’s described her own illnesses all our lives, but she’s getting better, thankyouforcaring.
As a kid, I never thought of Mom and style in the same breath. She looked like the other girls’ mothers, and back then, moms weren’t supposed to look like anything but moms – what we would, these days, call frumpy.
Not anymore. There’s nothing frumpy about Mom now; however, I personally tend to lean that way. Mom outclasses everyone else, Red Hat, boa, and all.
Oh, she doesn’t wear the Red Hat and boa every day; I just wanted to make sure you all knew she had them. And wore them. Mom has a better social life than anybody else I know personally.
Mom is one classy broad.
After all the kids grew up and moved out, Mom decided she’d had enough frump for one lifetime and bought some new clothes – bright colors, which look great with her coloring. She looks especially good in red. Her hair is dark and stylish, her makeup is subtle, and her voice has always been beautiful. When Mom was younger, she was breathtaking. Pictures of her, in her late teens and twenties, look like photos of a movie star. No exaggeration.
What I hadn’t noticed, until this week, were Mom’s hands.
Mom’s hands have had quite a workout over the years; with four kids, that’s a lot of hair brushing, shoe-tying, hugs, backrubs, buttoning-up, cleaning, washing clothes, dishes, cooking, and all the other activities good moms do.
Most women my her age have hands that have begun to show wear, but as I brought Mom some ice this week and leaned over her bed to give it to her, I noticed that her hands did not reflect her actual age at all. She has the hands of a young woman, smooth and shapely. I can close my eyes and see those hands playing paper dolls with little girls, and stacking blocks with a little boy and those same little girls. I can see those hands trimming a Christmas tree, wrapping gifts, and feeding ham into a grinder that was clamped to the edge of the kitchen counter. I remember Mom’s hands rolling out pie crust, breaking eggs into a big yellow bowl*, unpeeling Band-aids, tweezing out splinters, sewing little nightgowns, holding a book and turning pages as she read out loud to us, and turning frying chicken in a big black frying pan. Mom’s hands, changing diapers, bathing babies, washing little kids’ hair. . . I can picture perfectly my mother’s hands caring for my bedridden father, pouring Ensure in a feeding tube, checking the bedside IV stand and all its connections, monitoring every detail of his last few years. I can see her, washcloth in those hands, cleaning the faces of little children and, later, Dad. In my mind’s eye, her hands looked then exactly as they look now. This isn’t wishful thinking, either; I got a good long look at her hands, resting quietly on her body as she lay in her bed, and those hands are absolutely beautiful. Mom was, and still is, the pivot around which all the rest of us revolve. She held our world in those hands.
She’s feeling a lot better today. Tomorrow, I hope she feels even more like herself.
I’ll tell you the honest truth: I am NOT ready to be grown up all by myself without my mommy right there to help me figure things out. I’m counting on her to live to 110, still in her right mind and able to wipe her own butt.
Actually, those are my own goals as well. ( So far so good with the latter; not so good with the former.)
*Oh, and that big yellow Pyrex mixing bowl? She gave it to me. I break eggs into it now. Mom got the whole set of mixing bowls as a wedding gift in 1950. They’re, like, you know, old and stuff.