Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jenny’s amazing mother

There’s a children’s book called “Hazel’s Amazing Mother” about this small raccoon that always ends up in a pickle and right when it looks like there’s no hope, her mother swoops in and saves the day at the last minute.

Even though the daughter raccoon is far from home, she would cry, "Mother, I need you," and mother would be there.

Hazel’s Amazing Mother was my amazing mother’s favorite children’s book to read to us, and for very good reason: she is Hazel’s amazing mother. I’d like to say that after 27 years, I wouldn’t need to cry “Mother, I need you!” anymore — I mean, most of my classmates from high school are mothers themselves — but I do.

And My Amazing Mother still swoops in to save the day. Her amazing feats used to be physical things. Somehow, even though her office was on the other side of the Mississippi River, she would find a way to leave work and come home to deliver homework and school projects to us that we had left sprawled out on the living room floor.

She would drag my brother, Franklin, and our father to support our gymnastics and jump rope careers. She even took off work to be the school mom chaperone at the Louisiana state fair, a field trip our class looked forward to every year.

The fair was a blast; you could eat your weight in elephant ears, listen to authentic Cajun music and see the world’s ugliest dog.
They also had a hula-hoop contest.
My mom, a teacher, was stuck chaperoning the token “bad kids” in the grade. As if putting them all together in a group would make them behave or something.
“Oh, you’re a teacher?” my mom was asked when she showed up for chaperone mom duty.
“You can have this group.”

So, there was my mom, chaperoning a group of kids that her daughters weren’t even in, and they were the bad kids and they were acting up at the fair.

“Just sit down and watch the hula hoop contest!” my mother told them. “Sit down and behave!”

Right then, they asked for kid volunteers to enter the contest. My mother urged them to all enter, because then she could keep an eye on them all at the same time.
“Enter the contest everyone!” she said. “If they had an adult group competing, I’d definitely enter!”

“CALLING ALL ADULTS NOW!” the announcer said, as the kid group finished.
All the bad kids pointed at my mom and said, “You said you’d do it!”
Without blinking an eye, My Amazing Mother said “Yes! I’m going!” and all the kids kept their eyes on her and she WON. THE. CONTEST. !!!!!!!

My twin sister, Joy, and I were not in the bad group and we stumbled upon the stage and looked up and there was our mom, out-hula hoping the rest of the adults and all the bad kids clapping and cheering. We felt so cool. Jenny’s Amazing Mother.

Other amazing feats during elementary school? Mom would tirelessly drive us around New Orleans, because our friends always lived in other parts of town, and she would have no problem picking everyone up for a Friday night sleepover.

One time, Jenny’s amazing mother became our friend’s amazing mother, and, not to be dramatic or anything, but kind of saved her life.

She was our childhood friend, one of the handful of 20+ year friends we still keep in touch with, and my mom remembers when she would drop us off for tea parties at her house when we were in elementary school.

She was asthmatic and always had an inhaler with her just in case. (We used to all use it and pass it around; I didn’t see what the big fuss was about. It just felt like cold air.)

So, her mom went out of town when we were in high school and she was spending the week at our other longtime friend’s house, and that friend lived all the way uptown and lived with her not-so-amazing-father.

That rainy Wednesday night, our friend had an asthma attack and found her inhaler empty. She panicked.
She was all the way in uptown New Orleans, a good half hour away from my house and it was pouring down rain, like New Orleans pouring down rain.

Who did she call for help?
Jenny’s Amazing mother.
My mother ran to the K&B down the street (awww I miss K&B) and pleaded with the pharmacist, who she knew.

My daughter’s friend is having an asthma attack, and her inhaler is empty and her mother is out of town. Can you fill it?

Because he knew my mom so well, and because it was New Orleans, and in New Orleans, you always help people’s mamma and dem, he filled it.

My mother drove all the way uptown with prescription in hand to deliver the medicine to our friend in the pouring rain. It was amazing.

Now that I’m older, my mom provides more advice-type amazement. She and my dad navigated through the complicated college application and student loan process and has used her influence to land her children jobs.

She flew me back from Spain for a job interview when I studied abroad and has used frequent flier miles to fly me back to New Orleans countless times.

My Amazing Mother has been quite the miracle worker at airports, now that I mention it.
I was plagued by a missing bag fairy, and when my bag got lost from New York to South Carolina, my mother spent hours on the phone and even drove to the airport to track it down. Ask her about the process of missing baggage at airports, I dare you. (All the unclaimed or lost bags go to a big warehouse in Atlanta.)
She saved my favorite blue jeans. Jenny’s Amazing Mother.

The most adult help was when she helped me and Joy buy a house. And then spent hours on the phone with our sleazy broker to get us re-financed.
Jenny’s Amazing mother.

What I find the most amazing about My Amazing Mother is that her life continues to surprise me and Joy.
(Oh, yea, she’s also Joy’s amazing mother. And my brother Franklin’s amazing mother. But enough about them.)

Joy and I lived with my mom's best friend from childhood for a wonderful summer in New York, and heard all kinds of stories about our mom from her former life.
She lived in the French quarter and would meet sailors at bars and take them home to teach them how to juggle with fruit.
She single-handedly got rid of the curfew in the dorms at Syracuse University. She used to sleep in caves in Ibiza, Spain for crying out loud!

My mom has twin brothers, so it’s not surprising that she has twins of her own. She said she used to paint my toenails when we were little to tell us apart.

And she subscribed to Twins Magazine (Yes! Twins Magazine! I told someone pregnant with twins at brunch about it!) and she recalls all these tips from the magazine about being the parent of a “multiple.”

One really cute twins tip — that I tell people who ask about me about being a twin — is to teach an older sibling (in this case, Franklin, who is a “single” and 18 months older than us) to tell people how old we are.

It’s a common question, you see, after the aww look twins! is How old are they?? And then Franklin can come in and say in his high-pitched two-year-old voice, “They are six months!” even though he has no idea what six months means.

“Oh, and aren’t you just the cutest little boy!!!” people would then say, and BOOM! Instant attention for Franklin. It’s genius.

One of my recent blog entries was about being a twin, and all the silly twin questions we get and how people confuse us and how it’s an integral part of our beings.
(Seriously, when I hear about twins not being friends, I feel bad for them.)

My Amazing Mother read the blog entry, and being the supportive mother and friend she is, submitted it to Twins Magazine. I do some freelance writing, but this is a national magazine! Big time!

I got an email from the editor saying they would love to print it and it came out this month, and I have added it to my resume.
It never would have happened without my Amazing Mother.
I am thankful everyday.
Happy Mother’s day mom!!!!


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