Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Not So Improper: Day for Moms

I was going to write about pet peeves before I realized it’s Mother’s Day.  Writing about peeves on Mother’s Day would just be wrong.

Although thinking about it did get me thinking about something my mother used to do that upset me.  She used to tell me I was too thin.  Can you imagine?  What I wouldn’t give to hear that now. Alas, who but a mother ever tells you that you’re too thin?

Anyway, this is a little story about my mother.

For years, I thought of her as huge.  Then one day in college I realized with a shock that I was physically bigger than she was.  She was 5’ 2” and weighed 105. 

My mother was what everyone called a strong woman.  She was tiny and fierce and political, with an elegance all her own.  She had a powerful sense of justice, and her character and honesty were to me on par with a superhero.  When she believed in something—and she always believed in something—you were either on her side or you stayed out of the way.

As an adult, I once told a friend about how my mother had been left partially crippled by a childhood bout with polio.  The friend seemed shocked I’d never mentioned such a significant thing before.

I laughed.  For most of my life, it wasn’t something I even noticed.  It was just how she was.

My mother had one leg that had suffered some muscle atrophy.  She walked with a limp. Once when we were buying shoes, a little boy loudly wondered what was wrong with the lady’s leg.  I was shocked when I realized he was talking about my mother.  That was how her leg was supposed to be, like the way some mothers have freckles or curly hair or long fingernails.

As a child, I could lie in bed and listen to my family members’ footsteps on our old house’s creaky stairs, and each person had a walk that was as individual as his or her fingerprint. 

My father went, “STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP!”

My sister went, "Skip-skip! Skip-skip! Skip-skip!"

And my mother went, “Step-pause…step-pause…step-pause….”

That was how I thought of it.  It was her walk.

It wasn’t until I was grown that I realized how hard it had been for my mother in a world that wasn’t terribly friendly to those who were different.  Or how hard it had taught her to fight for the underdog. 

And when she died, it was the underdogs who turned up at her funeral.  In droves.  Turns out they were grateful my mother walked to her own beat, too. Funny that I still think of her as huge.  She was.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours.  If you need a pick-me-up, imagine a small, fierce woman saying the below quote to you.  You’re welcome.

Are you on a diet?  Because you are much too thin.  It isn’t healthy to be so thin!  Eat something! ~My mother  


  1. Very lovely Tammy... your mother sounds like someone I would have liked to known. Happy Mother's Day!

  2. Wat a wonderful tribute to your mom, Tammy. I think you could parallel your mom and you, to make a wonderful "Parenthood" CS story. (The more we submit, the greater our chances. The WWWPs ARE going on tour...don't forget!)

  3. Sweet. My mom encourages people to eat. But she does not precede it with an assessment of their adipose tissue. Which is just as well, as not even a mom would consider any of us "too thin."

    My husband walks with a STOMP STOMP. It sounds like his legs end at the ankles, no feet attached.

  4. Awww Tammy that was so sweet. You made my face happy. Hope you had a happy Mother's Day.

  5. Wat? Sorry. I should have checked my comment before I sent it.

  6. Tammy, what a great tribute to your Mom. I feel as if I missed out by not knowing her.

    Hope you had a great Mother's Day even though I know you miss her terribly.

    Kathy M.

  7. Alas, she also had no qualms about announcing when you'd gained weight. LOL. Happy Mother's Day to all of you!!


Any return "messages" are appreciated!