She would come in our rooms and DEMAND us to get up as if we were in the Air Force (as she once was. I am so incredibly proud of her for choosing to enlist into the armed forces. I am quite sure, that is never an easy decision to make but she did it and, I believe, it was absolutely the right one for her. Without that choice, I may not have been born! I feel the Air Force made her stronger, made her proud, and gave her that sense of self that she was missing at the time. It also gave her the perfect husband for her! So, in the long run, the Air Force gave her happiness.)
Oh, and if you said you were sick, all hell would break loose. No, you better have clear signs of leprosy or stroke or else your ass was getting out of that bed and going to school. In all honesty though, she KNEW when you were faking. I have no clue how in those 5 seconds of listening to us saying we didn't feel good she could do a full body scan on us and determine that we did, in fact, feel fine and just did not want to go OR that yes, they are a bit sick and staying home is a viable option. Cyborg. That is the only answer.
If you did stay home, there were strict rules. This, I am fully aware, was the final test for staying home. If you felt fine, there is no way any sane person would agree to the terms and promises put upon you for the day. If you felt horrible, you did not care about the rules and would comply to anything. No television, no video games, no visiting of friends, no eating crap. You would think we would realize that she wouldn't know all of these things even if we did them but the fact she knew we were faking basically made us wonder what else she could find out. We were not stupid enough to risk it. She also knew when we had tests. She would say, "Don't you have a chemistry test today?" Before my answer of "No, why would you think that?", my mind would reel with Wait, what? I didn't tell you that, how do you know that? What the hell? Are you talking to my teachers? Crap. ( Now that I am grown up, I appreciate the Dictatorship of my mother on school mornings. This was the only time I remember her as that description, to be fair. She had to be strict on us for this. She was smarter than us in so many things but this especially. She was teaching us so many lessons in that few minutes every morning. She taught us that we could not fool her, that she was not to be "had" by a couple of evil-doing adolescents. She was teaching us that sometimes, no matter how you feel, you have to do the right thing and just suck-it up. She was teaching us that we were not going to ruin HER job and that she did not have time to baby us anymore because she also had to get to work; this in turn was teaching us that we were not the center of the universe. Life does not stop because we are too tired to get up or because we forgot to study for the test we had that day. We needed these lessons.It now makes me second guess my feelings when I first wake up. I fully believe that if my mother had let me stay home every time I wanted to, I would not have the work ethic I have today and would probably not have a job anymore.).
My mom always says I got my stubbornness form Dad. So not true. Well, partly true, but not completely. She was plenty stubborn. She was very hard to negotiate with as well. If she said something, it pretty much was the way it would be. Even Dad didn't [publicly] override her decisions. She says it is cleaning day and you want to go out with your friends? Nope, you should have planned ahead and done your cleaning earlier. You went to the mall and ate pizza with your friends an hour before dinner and want to skip it? Sorry, it is family time and you chose poorly. Mom ran the household whether she realized it or not. (She had her stubbornness all along. From the very time she met my father in the Air Force, it was mom that was being the stubborn one; she was fighting with him to keep her nail polish on when he was a medic and trying to get her to take it off for a procedure. He must had appreciated the charm then too because not long after, they were married.
Family time was always important. It didn't matter if it was cleaning day or family dinner time. Family dinner time could be anywhere from 5:00 to 10:00 at night. The important part was that we were together whenever possible so if that meant Dad didn't get home from work until 9:00, and all we had was Taco Bell because it was late, then that is what we did. I remember the nights of sitting at the table, or even the living room, with our Taco Bell eating dinner late but still doing it together. As much as everyone dreaded cleaning days, there were some great qualities to them as well. My mom would always have her hair up in her palm tree pony tail. Her hair was always full and straight and usually short. When it was long enough, she would put it up in a ponytail on top of her hear for cleaning days and fell ending up looking exactly like a palm tree. I love that memory of her. It was adorable. She would also sing during cleaning times. I remember being little and wondering why she never became a singer. It was such a wonderful feeling hearing her sing. She would sing such random songs but for some reason, I can still hear hear singing
"Lipstick on your collar told a tale on you
Lipstick on your collar said you were untrue
Bet your bottom dollar you and I are through
Cuz lipstick on your collar told a tale on you"
I still remember hearing her sing that and wondering if she meant it and during cleaning day, she found lipstick on Dad's collar. I was too scare to ask but quickly realized that she was too happy when she sang it. Had she been bitter and scary, I would have worried more.
Now that I am grown, I make sure we always eat together as a family. It might usually be in the living room but we are together and talking. Where and what you eat, in my opinion, does not matter. Mom taught us that if you are together, it is all good.
Fighting with my mom happened quite often. (92% my fault there, not hers). We fought about everything Why I couldn't go to my friend's house, why I couldn't talk on the phone for 45 minutes, why I had to do my homework. Sometimes these arguments would end with just her saying, "you know what, fine. You go ahead and do whatever you want then if you are so smart." Oh crap, that can't be good. It always felt like a trap. Or even when she said, "Go ask your father and see what he says". I would always answer with, "Fine! I will, and he will be on my side!" Yeah, he never was. At least, if he WAS, he would side with my Mom in defense. (Smart guy). (Arguing with my mother was so difficult! She was usually right and VERY clever in her arguments. She used to tell me after I had gotten older that I was clever and it was hard to find points to argue with me about but, to tell you the truth, it was HER that was the clever one. I only had to find new points because I had to keep up with HER. She had excellent points and reasons for things so I found myself floundering and grasping for anything I could think of. She made me have to think quick and become witty in my arguments. The reason it felt like a trap when she said "do whatever you want" was because it was. Oh, it was. For anyone looking for advice about moms - when they say that - DON'T DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!! You will pay for it. Mom taught us that you can, in fact, do whatever you want but you will ALWAYS pay the consequences. They are usually not worth the choices. Everything has consequences, good or bad. She made us realize we had to think about that and weigh the options before making our choices. Mom always thought I thought I was smarter than them...but in actuality, I knew I wasn't and was trying to figure how to be. I am still trying to figure that out. )
I love my mother. Period. I would not trade her for any other mother ever. She taught my sister and I how to be moms and how to be a family. She taught us that family was not just blood but whomever you chose to into your heart to be your family. She taught us to laugh at our mistakes, not dwell on them negatively. Our mom did what moms are supposed to do. She taught us love, family, strength, and the courage to live our lives being good people. Courage, yes, because it is so much easier sometimes to make the bad choices. She gave us the gift of learning how to choose the harder, yet right choices and making our lives, and others' lives, better.
Mother's Dy can be quite commercial and cheesy, we know. So I want you to know that I appreciate you each and every day. Not a single day goes by that I don't use something you taught me or appreciate something about you and my childhood. Mother's Day or not, I am so thankful for having you as my mom. Thank you.