My father died when I was 11 and I was raised by a single mother. We were poor. I’m talking wait in line for government cheese poor, but she did what needed to be done. She was a stay at home mom raising me and my three older siblings while my father was on the road as a truck driver. When he died I was the only kid left to raise and she went back into the work force at 53. One job she took was being a lunch lady at the school I went to. Instead of making my lunch (a chef, she wasn’t) or paying for hot lunch, the Fast Food Queen would get me a bag of McDonald’s or Wendy’s on her way into work. Cooking wasn’t something I learned from my mom but, in honor of Mother’s Day I thought I would compile the Top 5 things I did learn from her.
5: Mom The Mechanic – If it’s broken, fix it…with duct tape. I didn’t know that glue existed until I was in my teens. I learned, yes duct tape will hold up your car’s bumper but not the muffler. Got to give her credit for trying though.
4: To Thine Own Self Be True – My mother was a tough lady and you always knew where you stood with her. If she didn’t like you, you knew it. However, those in her inner circle knew she was very funny and definitely a character. She would baby sit my nephew and take him shopping at the dollar store where he could buy five of anything. Then the two of them would sit down to watch some educational episodes of Beavis & Butthead until my sister picked him up. The lesson, be yourself.
3: I Got A Meeting In The Ladies Room – I inherited my mother’s short fuse for people and listening to their long-winded stories. Thankfully I also mastered her selective hearing skills. There is a point where the talking wears you down and you need an escape. Growing up our bathroom always had a lock on the door and a stack of Star gossip magazines on the toilet tank. Find your own nirvana.
2: Take The High Road – Just because you’re white trash doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have class. So when confrontation presents itself, always take the high road and be the better person. Plain and simple.
1: Drink A Gallon Of Wine And Call Me In The Morning – My mom didn’t have the greatest life, in order to cope she smoked and drank more than she should have. Not expecting a child at the age of 42, she assumed her swelling was tumor related. Not having medical insurance, she didn’t go to the doctor until she thought she was on her death bed, only to find out she was in her third trimester with me. I was probably born with a blood alcohol level of .10% and a smokers cough. This is one of those instances where I learned from her mistakes. Self medicating isn’t the way to happiness, it just masks the pain.
My mother died when I was 25 after two bouts with cancer. The first time she quit smoking cold turkey and beat the cancer into remission with radiation and chemo. A few years later, she had a re-occurrence that took her life at 66. She had a shit life but never once complained. I think that’s the thing I learned most from her. No matter what life brings; wake up, put on your elephant slippers, swig your Sanka, and ride into battle with your middle finger in the air and a smirk on your face.