April 20, 2004

An Easter Explanation (Part One)


Last week, I visited the topic of how I spent my Easter. There were calls for elucidation. So, I decided to explain...but where to start? How about with my mother...the one with the silly hat.

My mom's an interesting person. And please don't take that to mean anything negative, although as with anyone there is some of that.

My mother is just barely five feet tall which makes me, not incredibly tall myself, feel gigantic. She weighs in at just over 100 pounds but I remember times in my life when she was in double digits. She's just a teeny little person. Which makes her big personality that much more difficult to explain. Some facts:

- When I was born my mother didn't believe she could wait until the elevator arrived in the hospital lobby. She ran up four flights of stairs and brought me into the world in 20 minutes. I have a feeling this is why I'm punctual.

- My parents were living in Argentina when I was born. She was having the nursery constructed and was telling the various workmen where she wanted the cabinets to be hung on the walls. She was never a good Spanish speaker. No one should have been surprised when she requested that the workmen nail their balls to the wall. They left without complying with her request.

- My mom has always been a teacher. She taught American diplomats' kids in Argentina. She taught in New York City and Chicago. When we moved to Houston (I was a whopping one year old), her career took a different track - she began teaching kids with learning disabilities and mental retardation. When my family moved to Washington DC, she began teaching kids with severe behavioral problems. These were kids who were one step away from institutionalization. They were twice her size, tried to physically assult her and screamed every name in the book at her while she took it, stared them down and kept teaching. She retired a couple of years ago. I think there's only so much of that you can take.

- In nearly every photo taken at our wedding, my mom's arms are straight up in the air. Its become her thing. I think its an I'm-short-but-you-damn-well-better-notice-me thing. It works.

- My mom has what she's termed the "silly garden." This consists of a rather large flower bed in which fairly normal plants are grown. What's slightly unusual, however, is the collection of pink flamingos, cartoon-like frogs, and generally unusual sculpture sprinkled throughout. My father is just happy she decided to do this behind the house, away from the prying eyes of the neighbors.

- My mom thinks she knows how to operate a computer correctly. This makes her incredibly dangerous. I field tech support calls at all hours of the day. When she sends an email, its generally in all caps and contains LOTS of punctuation, mainly exclamation points. We've told her its considered yelling. She does it anyway. We think this is her online equivalent of the arms in the air thing.

- After a year of retirement, my mom started going nuts. She started volunteering at a library, something she still does. But then came this opportunity to use some of her skills teaching life skills and speech pathology. A group of truly wonderful people began working with political refugees. These people are largely from war torn countries, and most are seeking political asylum in the United States for fear they'll be killed upon their return home. Most of the refugees suffer from post traumatic stress disorders. Many have been tortured or seen members of their families killed. About a year ago, my mom helped out with a production of something that would become quite remarkable. A prominent stage director heard about the children who this group was helping and decided they should tell their stories to audiences. And they did. Helping them do so, to communicate through heavy accents in front of audiences, was my mom. MTV recently filmed the production for release sometime in the near future.

So my mom? She's a nut. She has to be the center of attention but in most cases, she deserves to be.

Posted by Chris at April 20, 2004 08:55 AM

Yay for nutty moms!!

I don't know your mom, but I like her already. She sounds like she's a wonderful mom! I wish my mom would get more nutty like that :)) Nutty moms rock!

About the CAPS used in emails, we've tried to explain that to Mr. Sweety's father too. After a few months, he went from writing in CAPS to writing in font 14. That's like talking VERY LOUD :)

Posted by: Sweety at April 20, 2004 09:09 AM

Your mom sounds awesome. And she's not nutty, she's just got lots of personality. At least she uses it for good and not evil.

But the arms in the air thing? Cracks me up.

And I totally understand the small person/big personality thing. One of the guys I dated in college had a mom like that - she was about the same size as your mom, and she scared the crap out of me. Seriously.

Posted by: Dawnie at April 20, 2004 09:31 AM

I think nutty Moms are the best kind there are. They teach their kids not to take life so seriously, but to live fully.

Posted by: Oliquig at April 20, 2004 10:20 AM

sounds like she's an incredible person! very full of life and enjoying every moment of it. and helping out people along the way. it's a greay way to be... even if she is a bit eccentric at times. =)

Posted by: Judy at April 20, 2004 10:57 AM

Your Mom sounds interesting which is way better than boring and annoying.
And I can TOTALLY relate to the arms in the air thing, I am short (4'9") and my hubby calls me a cartoon cause my arms are constantly flailing all over the place..mostly above my head.

Posted by: Another Pam at April 20, 2004 11:14 AM

"When she sends an email, its generally in all caps and contains LOTS of punctuation, mainly exclamation points. We've told her its considered yelling. She does it anyway. We think this is her online equivalent of the arms in the air thing."

Yeah...I almost just spit my drink all over the computer. :)

Posted by: at April 20, 2004 12:32 PM

Um yeah. That was just me. *Hides head in shame*.

Posted by: feisty girl at April 20, 2004 12:33 PM

Your mom sounds great. My mom is nuts, too, but not in a way that I'm proud of!

Yay for eccentric, cool moms. I hope to be a cool mom someday. My kids'll be telling me to turn the music down.

Posted by: Shiz at April 20, 2004 12:34 PM

Hee hee hee. Can I borrow your mom? Mine a barking moonbat, but not in a fun way.

Posted by: Casey at April 20, 2004 01:14 PM

Let's add "is" to that last remark. My mom IS a barking moonbat.

Posted by: Casey at April 20, 2004 01:14 PM

My mom is the same way with computers. She didn't understand why everyone was laughing at her at the barbecue the other day when I said forward that message to me and she didn't know waht I meant. And she calls me at work all the time from her work for help on her computer....my dad and I just sign and say maybe she will get it someday.

Posted by: Amy at April 20, 2004 02:21 PM

What a cool woman! She sounds amazing.

Posted by: Diana at April 20, 2004 03:39 PM

Your mom sounds like the coolest person ever. I love that whole "hands straight up in the air" thing. :)

Also completely awesome is working with the political refugees and making sure that their story is heard by a wide audience. It's a good example of something that should be publicized so that more people know what is going on in these places...

Posted by: Zandria at April 20, 2004 11:26 PM

Sounds like she's a fantastic woman.

Posted by: Nicole at April 21, 2004 11:16 AM

Yeah, my mom is nuts also (most in a good way), but who wouldn't be after 6 kids. She also is vertically challeged at 5' (and the pc-ness as nothing to do with my being the same height...really). Is hardly ever seen not wearing overalls (she even had a "dress" pair in velvet), makes homemade soap and such for a living, and somehow always manages to manuever herself into being in charge of everything she is a part of.

She would have made a great football, I have never met another person so small that was so capable of intimidating anyone and everyone.

Posted by: Gesikah at April 21, 2004 10:49 PM