When I think of Mother’s Day, I think of flowers and my mother, “Rose Mamoo”. Mama was no ordinary mother. She didn’t make our lunches or write notes on a sticky pad and put them in our backpacks. She gave us 2 quarters a day so we could ride the bus to and from school. When the Mt Brook City Schools stopped offering buses, she almost went into mourning. Carpool line was a form of punishment for her!
I didn’t have the smell of homemade Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies waiting for me when I got home. She did not like the kitchen. “If you can read, you can cook” was her motto. Mama had a couple of set menus during the week: chicken and rice on Mondays (cooked with lots of butter, salt and pepper); still a family favorite at my house. Fridays were spaghetti night. She would make the sauce (not Italian style, but Mama style).
But, Mama was a blast in the eyes of my friends. If she were alive today, she would have already written at least one editorial about how silly “helicopter parenting” was. My friends loved coming to my house because she left us alone. Let’s not forget the epic spend the night parties at my house: spaghetti for dinner and Krispy Kreme donuts in the mornings!!!(Her secret recipe? putting butter on the donuts and re baking them in the oven). It is a wonder I do not weigh 300 pounds. She wasn’t big on curfews by the time my brother and I got old enough to have one. She said “nothing good happens after midnight”. Truth was she could not stay awake past 8 o’clock. She had done that for years with my older siblings ( who are 8, 11 and 13 years older than I am. I never had a reason to sneak out or stay out late for the very reason, mostly because my friends curfews were at 11 or so.
Mama had her demons and she battled them ferociously. I remember those days shou would give in and not get out of bed. I couldn’t understand it and that scared me. But, one day, mama realized that to take care of us, she had to take care of herself. She learned how to play golf so she could spend some quality time with Daddy. He was always at the hospital, but the lure of 18 holes drew him like a siren. She also played every week with her best friends. Once the pool opened in the summer, she dropped us off at 7 in the morning and picked us up at 4 in the afternoon, playing golf or bridge as many days as she could. AS I said, getting out, doing things for herself and with her friends, helped her be a better mother for it. One of Mama’s excursions was her trip through part of the Appalachian Trail. I was always mortified when she walked around with a backpack weighted down so she would be ready for her new adventure. However this told me to always have a goal to achieve, a reason to get up out of bed every morning.
Mama taught us being active was one of the answers to staying out of the dark hole. She would take us on endless hikes at Oak Mountain and The Bankhead Forrest. I remember bologna sandwiches on white bread with a lot of mayo or peanut butter on wheat bread with the jelly soaked straight through to the baggie; OH!, and don’t forget the apple juice boxes. She would also push us on the day hikes that left each day from the Eeseola Lodge in Linville, NC. We would visit Emme, Daddy’s mama. I will never forget the countless treks up and over Grandfather Mountain. We even tackled a thunderstorm or two. She would lure us with the treat of seeing Mildred the Bear. Next thing I know we were climbing very steep ladders on the side of a mountain!!!
Mama’s first love was art. She dabbled in painting and other forms until she fell off a ladder and broke her right arm. Her visual arts hobby was no more. She then threw herself into teaching us all kinds of art and crafts. I loved it. She was doing something with us!!! She would also take us downtown to CAM each year. Who remembers that?! My favorite memory was making the big tissue flowers!!! Mom was a big art history buff as well. During my elementary school days she would present slide shows to my 5th, 6th and 7th grade teachers. Mama was not Betty Crocker or Patty PTO, but she donated her time so we, as students, could learn a bit of history through the arts. I didn’t appreciate the impact my mother had on so many people.
Mama’s greatest impact were the roses she grew on the side of the Green Valley Rd. 150 of them!!! Her pride and joy was working hard to provide beauty to everyone around. The power company came to the house to notify us of the trees they were going to cut down. She asked them to cut another 20 feet into the property so she could start her garden adventure. 5 years later she planted her first rose bush and the rest is history. She did have a deal with the greenskeeper at Mt Brook Club to confiscate some of his VERY potent pesticide. Between that and the license she received from Montgomery for the chemicals she used, it was no wonder she died of lung cancer. She never failed to wake at 5 am, drink a cup of percolated coffee, then began watering her roses. It was just too hot to work with them after 9. Even when mom was going through chemo, she would get up, put her backpack full of pesticides on her back, and tend to her roses. Passerbys would often drop a gift off to mama to thank her for the beauty she shared with everyone.
Today, I am a mom to 4 healthy children. I have my dark moments as well. The kids still don’t get it sometimes, but that is ok. Being their mom has forced me to face the dark side and fight it head on. My children need me more than they think. I owe it to them, as their mom, to fight. I am so blessed to be their mother. I want to make lasting, funny, endearing memories like my Mama did. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to everyone.