Friday, June 18, 2010

I have long forgiven you for the Irish Spring.

I was a fluke. One of those biological combinations determined to come into the world regardless of all that planning and precaution you used. You were thrilled even after thoroughly explained the risks. You prayed for a pregnancy not nearly as difficult as my older brother provided. Well, you quasi-received your wish. I was a much easier pregnancy but as you brought me home in that sweet yellow number, you were unaware I would be a far sassier child. You knew you were in for a long stretch when at age four I told your mother’s friend she called him  retarded when she actually said he was retired. And for the next decade (or two) there was not much of a break.

But I might have inherited that trait from you. Remember when we played Taboo and the word you were supposed to guess was “ATTORNEY” so when one of your other children gave you the clue “What is JennyMac?” The answer you provided, FLAT, was incorrect.

But I inherited a little bit of no nonsense from you too. Recall when I was about six and told TW to shove it even though, clearly, I had NO IDEA what it meant and only repeated what someone else in our house stated once. You told me to come into the house and get my mouth washed out. NO WAY, LADY. So I took off running. Umm, you started running too. Without even a pause for breath, you basically mocked me as you went running past me and said, “You have to come back sometime.” And I did. And wasn’t the embarrassment you shed upon me having outrun me enough? Did you have to actually put Irish Spring in my yap? NO. And did you have to select the largest green bar of it you could?

And when in high school, I had a gaggle of friends over and you asked me to do something or else. I asked, “OR WHAT?” You promptly raced in that room and with a swing kick to the back of my legs, took me down and then pinned me and said, "THAT IS WHAT." Damn woman, I had no idea such a powerhouse was hiding in your tiny 5’4 body.  I should have learned my lesson with the soaping incident. 

And after moving away to college and then grad school, coming home was still a favorite. To our crazy nights out with your girlfriends as we tore up that dance floor at the dirty blues bar, to chatting at Cutter’s over cocktails, the history of our memories are an awesome string of technicolor vignettes.

We have laughed so hard we have cried. And I have cried so hard at times, there was nothing left to do but laugh. Anytime something has truly been disjointed in my life, you were the person to call. The instant I heard your voice, I could hide nothing. And in that narrow space of time, you knew before I uttered a sentence that I needed you.   

As a freshman, a girl I had known my entire life was killed on the way to school. My Father said, “People die, Jen.” TRUE but no offense, DP, not exactly from the Institute of HALLMARK. But you knew I would be overwhelmed and likely incapable of processing something so big and raw. This was pre-cell phone era so instinctively, you left your office, and called my StepDad. The two of you made haste driving to my school to search the faces of 1500 kids until you found the one that belonged to you. With vivid clarity, I can remember not only exactly where I was when I looked up and saw you both but also, the tremendous sense of belief that you could help me make sense of it. And if not make sense, you would alleviate the level of awfulness surrounding and choking everything that day. 

I am not the only one who knows that you often leave people better than you found them.

But, in addition to that, it was every time you colored the sugar on holidays, or made us pancakes for dinner (which we loved.) It was being in the first row for every concert, every game, every talent show, every speech, and every event. Making whale pillows with us at my elementary school (in retrospect, you should have helped me more, mine was quite scary) to making every birthday feel like a national holiday.  All examples of how easily you demonstrated our importance to you.

Growing up, I had everything I needed (except a bigger chest) and as an adult, we discovered it is ok to have differences of opinion. I know I have made you laugh, made you cry, made you proud, and likely have provoked you to wonder if we are, in fact, related.

But your support and belief in my ability to achieve anything will cling to me for life. Everyone needs someone to champion them along, and I have no bigger champion of me than you.  You once asked me in a moment of your own personal entanglement, how I became a stronger person than you. I am not necessarily stronger but if I had to answer it is because I had a Mom like you, and you did not. But those window panes of adversity you burned through with tenacity. And a vow to ensure your children knew they are incredibly loved. I promise you, we know. And no one loves us more than you do.

And I have long forgiven you for the Irish Spring. As you have forgiven me for "borrowing" your black pearl necklace and losing it. Wait, you knew that right?

Everyone whose life you touch is lucky. For your wide generosity, that lowdown sass you predominantly keep under wraps, to your ability to decide after age 55 to take up Equestrianism as a new hobby, you make being over 60 years old look better than I have ever seen it. I am certain Cher will ring you for some tips. This picture from my wedding is a perfect example and you were the most beautiful person there.

Today is a great day to be celebrating you. And what began as a fluke for you, turned into incredible serendipity for me. Happy Birthday Mom. Both internally and externally, you are more gorgeous than ever.


74 comments:

jinksy said...

What a glowing, birthday tribute. Hope your Ma appreciates it!

Brian Miller said...

a wonderful tribute...i hope she has an amazing birthday...smiles. and that she knew about that necklace....

Will Burke said...

What an amazing tribute! You've been very lucky to win that genetic lottery!

Matty said...

You sure know how to write a wonderful tribute. She sounds like a winner. And she looks great too. Happy Birthday to your mom.

The Robin's Nest said...

That is so beautiful. I hope my daughter has such glowing things to say about me one day!

Simply Suthern said...

Beautiful Tribute

Happy BDay Mom

Jules said...

Happy Birthday JennyMom!!!!!!

BigSis said...

Aw, that's so sweet. I want to be that kind of mom. I've got a long way to go!

Dustjacket Attic said...

Ooo that is so cool, sweet and moving, Happy Birthday to your Mom!
xoxo DJ

Erin said...

Powerful and lovely and inspiring. Happy Birthday, Jenny Mac's Mom!!
Gorgeous picture of you two!

Lucia said...

Happy Birthday Darling! I hope my daughter will write nice things about me one day.

vanilla said...

Lovely tribute to your Mom, JennyMac. Blessings to you both on her birthday.

If only all children had this sort of relationship with their parents...

*uncorked said...

I LOVE this! Happy Birthday to Mom! This paragraph grabbed me like no other:

"We have laughed so hard we have cried. And I have cried so hard at times, there was nothing left to do but laugh. Anytime something has truly been disjointed in my life, you were the person to call. The instant I heard your voice, I could hide nothing. And in that narrow space of time, you knew before I uttered a sentence that I needed you."

So true with my relationship as well. Only my mom didn't use soap, she used Tabasco sauce. As always, your writing is beautiful and your memories are so vivid they jump off the screen.

confused homemaker said...

Happy Birthday to Mom!!

This is fabulous post Jenny, very lovely indeed. I think you & your Mom have a beautiful relationship :)

Poindexter said...

I love birthdays - happy birthday to your lovely mom!! :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is beautiful JennyMac. You have such a great way with words. Happy Bday Mom!!!

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Gorgeous JM. You are a testament to how great your mom is.

Hope she has a wonderful birthday!

*hugs* to you both!

Reins In Seattle said...

Thank you Jennifer. Your words have touched me profoundly. I know that I have told you this many times if I live to bee 100 it will never be long enough to thank you for all the joy you have given me. I love you. Mom

P.S.
Thank you blog friends for your birthday wishes. This will be one I shall not forget!

The Boob Nazi said...

Happy birthday to her!

Taylor-Made Wife said...

She sounds like a special lady...and your tribute to her shows what a great daughter you are.

AmyLK said...

Happy Birthday! this is a lovely tribute to your mom.

Eva Gallant said...

What a great way to honor your Mom! Happy birthday to her from me, too!

Just Us said...

What an amazing tribute to an amazing mom. The love was tangible in the reading of it. Happy Birthday to your mom, and have a great day to you!

CountessLaurie said...

*sniff*sniff* waaahhhh!
That was beautiful!! Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Jenn@the loves of jenn said...

Lovely post for your mom. I hope she has a terrific birthday!

Just Us said...

I wrote a little comment about this blog and put it on my facebook page. I hope I can hook more readers into your day to day...Thanks for a style of writing that brings tears at times and laughter more often than not into my home!
Colleen

Barbaloot said...

You always write such beautiful things to your family members!

Jen said...

P.S. My mom used to shove bars of Ivory in my mouth, so I know how you feel...

Jen said...

Happy birthday to your mama, who has clearly made you the wonderful, beautiful, witty woman that you are! You BOTH looked gorgeous on your wedding day! I heart the red detail on your dress.

Myya said...

That was so touching, hilarious & sweet all wrapped in one. Happy Birthday to your mama!!!

Oh & believe me having a chest isn't all its cracked up to be... well, maybe it would be if you were somewhere inbetween you & me. ha ha ha! : )

Dumblond said...

Wow. Irish Spring? I think a bar of lye would have been gentler...
Another great post! I hope your mom has a wonderful birthday.

Intense Guy said...

That picture has two, very beautiful and very remarkable women in it.

Happy Birthday, JennyMac's Mom (and thank you for JennyMac).

Kristina P. said...

I wish I had this kind of relationship with my mom. Yours sounds so great.

Allyson & Jere said...

Well, before I even say what I meant to say on this post, let's get this out of the way:

1. LOVE your wedding dress, totally gorgeous. Red on it, FAB!

2. Your mom is a total hotty. AT.YOUR.WEDDING! haha

Ok, but what i really wanted to say is...this post is all kinds of AWESOME! It is so beautifully and well written. I feel like I "know so much" about this amazing woman that you call Mom. She sounds so fun and wonderful. And, ultimately, she is as lucky to have you as her daughter as you are to have her as a Mom.

Happy Birthday to MamaMAC.

Writing Without Periods! said...

What a great treat for you mom. She needs to be one of my sensational women on Saturdays.
Mary

Babes Mami said...

Oh Jenny Mac, your tributes to the loves in your life always bring tears to my eyes.

Happy Birthday to the mama of Jenny Mac.

I have the urge to call her Mama Mac instead of Jenny Macs Mama

Vivienne said...

This brought me to tears and I am still trying to swallow the lump in my throat.
I am tempted to flirt with plagiarism come November, change a couple of the details and pass this on to my mother on her birthday. I will be able to leave the soap story and the undercurrent of sass.
Having mothers like these absolutely enable us to be better mothers, better wives and better friends. Great, great job celebrating your mother and paying a funny, touching tribute. If your mother is anything like mine, she will print this post, frame it, and hang it in her bathroom.
Brilliant, as usual, JennyMac!

Sara said...

Wow, this totally made me cry. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Jingle said...

you shall be forgiven after you post this...

move on, forgive yourself first...
Happy Weekend.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Happy birthday to your momma! This was so special!!!!!
Kristin

shortmama said...

What an amazing tribute to your mom!

Kristin said...

Why do you have to make me cry. Geesh. Happy happy bday to your beautiful mama!!

furygirl3132 said...

What a beautiful and special tribute!

I am a new follower from Friday Follow, so glad to have found your blog. Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

Eloise
Mommy2TwoGirls
http://mommy2twogirls.blogspot.com/

SPLENDEROSA said...

What a brilliant tribute to your mother. Comes from a brilliant & witty daughter who entertained me for a few minutes today. I won't forget what you wrote with so much love. xx's

Aging Mommy said...

Wow what a great Mom and what a wonderful daughter she has so lovingly raised who is now able to write so beautifully about her.

Have a fabulous time celebrating with your Mom on her birthday

Pricilla said...

What a gorgeous photo.
Happy Birthday to your Mom

Jen said...

What a great birthday post to your mom. :)

Caty said...

This was such a sweet tribute...by the way, I just fell in love with your mom! and she is beautiful too! Happy Birthday to your mom...seems she has raised quite a fabulous daughter too :)

Summer said...

I have to say this is my most favorite post, Girlie. When you wrote of the swing kick, I died laughing. I can definitely relate. :)

"I am not the only one who knows that you often leave people better than you found them." That pretty much sums up a really good mom, huh? Happy Birthday MommaMac!

Bossy Betty said...

Awwwww---lovely post and tribute! So many wonderful details too!!! Happy Birthday to your mom!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Happy birthday. A lovely tribute.

Chez Zizi said...

What a beautiful birthday present for your mom. You are the best!
Zizette

Fragrant Liar said...

If that doesn't make your mama cry, she's on somethin'! That was a beautiful way to show your mom how much she is loved and admired. Good on you.

HalfAsstic.com said...

JennyMac, I am certain that MommyMac feels just as fortunate as you as you do to have her.
And you are, indeed, fortunate!
Happy Birthday, Jen's Mom!

gayle said...

That is so beautiful!! You are a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful mom and she is lucky to have you!!

Shana said...

That is so beautifully written. Happy Birthday to your mom.

Little Ms J said...

This got to me. Beautifully written and wonderfully said. I love that your mom became the things her mother may not have been. Tear.

Life with Kaishon said...

She is a beauty!

mbkatc230 said...

This brought tears to my eyes JennyMac. What a lovely tribute to a very special woman. Happy Birthday to your Mom! Kat

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

You take after your mom - beautiful inside and out! This was a wonderful tribute, Jenny - Happy (belated) Birthday to your mom! :)

Unknown Mami said...

Oh my goodness! I am in tears. Happy Birthday to your gorgeous mother! She obviously deserves this moving tribute. I hope one day my daughter feels the same way about me.

Debbie said...

This is the sweetest birthday post ever! You are both lucky women.

My name is PJ. said...

What a funny, loving tribute!

Hope her birthday was happy!!

Jen said...

Lovely :) and she is GORGEOUS! Happy Birthday to your mom!

My Life As I Live It said...

What a sweet ode to your mom, btw, love your dress in that pic.

Here's a little something for you over at my blog:
http://mylifeasiliveitdaily.blogspot.com/2010/06/versatile-blogger.html

Baloney said...

I love that your mom took you down. Think I'll be able to do that with my boys when they are teens?
This was a great tribute to your mom. Happy Birthday to her!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

That was just plain beautiful!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Fine post

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Beautiful and lovely!
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Michele R said...

What wonderful words you have written here about your mother. You two are lucky! (I share her birthday!)

J.J. said...

Aww, this was sweet! What a tribute!

My mom's b-day is July 4th and you've given me a wonderful idea! Thanks!

JoAnn's Daughter said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom! It's inspired me to write a letter to my mom telling her what she's meant to me. Thank you.

Aunt Crazy said...

I'm here from Texan Mama's place. This is a beautiful tribute.

Susan said...

Beautifully said.