To Be Half as Sweet as Mom

It’s my mom’s birthday this weekend. I don’t often blog about her because my dad’s stories are so much easier. Mom has great stories too.

My mom puts a lot of emphasis on packaging and in having things perfectly just so. At times this has embarrassed me greatly. In high school, she’d triple-wrapped my sandwiches. Once in cellophane, then in wax paper, and then once again in foil. In high school, my P.E. shirts were not only ironed, but starched. My college roommates used to marvel at how perfectly square she folded my trash bag liners that she’s recycled from Walmart. They loved watching me unpack my luggage every time I came back from a trip home. The socks evened out the bottom of my luggage. My undies were perfectly flat and stacked. There wasn’t a bump or ridge in sight, everything was absolutely even. She still sends me back to Austin with coolers of food. Each box of fried rice is literally weighed so that not one box weighs less or more than another. I see her with the food scale and plead that she doesn’t have to be that meticulous but she can’t help herself.

She loves really hard and it’s the tiny details that speak volumes. She really listens to you and commits everything to memory. She runs a convenience store with my dad in Houston and if she sees a regular pull up in the parking lot, she giggles in delight as she places out their routine purchase neatly on the counter. She pouts a little to herself if a customer changes his routine but then commits the changes to memory too. When my friends meet me at the store, I have to warn them, “hey, uh, whatever you like that she sells, maybe don’t tell her, but do take something.” She will kill your preference. My ex-boyfriend got cases of mangoes every time she saw him just because he told her he loved them. My friend, Alex mentioned once in passing how much she likes Airheads, and mom made me hand over a wholesale size box of Airheads. I couldn’t eat cheddar Goldfish and Milano cookies for years after she sent them up to the dorms by the cases.

She’s so accomodating. She cooks me three meals at a time so that I can have options. She called me crying once because she gave me a giant cooler of food, and thought it better had she given me two smaller coolers because they would be easier to lift. Sometimes I get so frustrated with her for being so giving of herself and or I blame her for my own shortcomings (namely, I can be too giving sometimes too). It took me a long time to realize that her inability to limit her love and expressions of love might be a strength and a joy and not just an embarrassment. Some of the very best pieces of me were passed on through her and I should be so lucky to be half as sweet as her.

I hope she has many more healthy birthdays and that I continue to learn from her. She has so much to give.