Now before you stop reading, let me relate a few stories of my mom that will hopefully cause her great embarrassment, as I've been planning to get back at her for more than 20 years when she divulged to my 8th grade science class on my birthday that when I was born, I had a bowel movement, and the doctor proclaimed me a "dirty baby." Hence, my nickname for the rest of the year was "dirty baby."
My mom is a teacher, and wherever some of her 10 kids went to school, my mom wanted to be there. So odds are, most of us have actually been a student in one of my mom's classes. For many years she taught english and then science at West Minico Junior High School. Then she taught gifted and talented and remedial high schooler students. Now she teaches english at Burley High School, and if all calculations are correct, this will be her last year.
I think we are all kind-of amazed that my dad found someone like my mom to marry him. Dad is great, don't get me wrong, but my mom is one of those rare individuals who is positive, thoughful, smart, courageous, and just awe-inspiring. But this post is aimed at embarrassing, so to the little known facts about my mom (except by those inside our immediate family):
- Mom drives like a bat-out-of-hell. Because we drove with mom to school in our ginormous brown van, we knew our life could potentially end at any moment when mom was behind the wheel. Every morning it seemed we were running late, so Mom would floor the pedal to the medal and race to school. The snow and ice didn't even slow her down. We would try to patiently say, "Uh, Mom, you'd better slow down," but then we would get the, "Be quiet. I know what I'm doing. Just don't say anything." So we kept our yaps shut and our prayers flowin'. Miraculously, we never got in a wreck. We assumed it was her California upbringing that brought the wild side out of Mom.
- Mom tends to doubt before she believes. The best example was when B.J. was trying to jump over a tree via the trampoline in our backyard. He fell from his ridiculously high height and landed on his arm (clearing the tree, so he won that dare). You could instantly tell he'd seriously broken his arm, because his arm resembled the ZZ Top trademark. B.J. ran into the house saying, "Mom, I broke my arm." My mom's response: "How do you know that? I'm sure it's not that bad." Then B.J. held up his arm. Nothing else was said. Mom summoned B.J. to the van, and they were off to the hospital.
- My mom is a bit of a ham. She's not afraid to dress up in Halloween costumes such as Frosty the Snowman or Sandra Dee, even at the embarrassment of her children who happen to go to the same school as where she teaches. But the best story of her hamminess comes from my dad. When he and my mom first started teaching back in the late 60s, early 70s, they taught at a small junior high school halfway between Menan and Lewisville, Idaho. For one of the pep assemblies, my dad and mom dressed up as African native tribal people (this was long before PC). They wore black tights under leopard-print sarongs and danced around to wild rock'n'roll music (to my dad, anything harder than the Beach Boys) in front of the middle school student body. Half way through the dance, my mom's sarong (skirt) fell off. She was unaware of the sarong falling off, and continued dancing even more wildly when the kids' roaring laughter increased. She finally saw her skirt was not a part of her ensemble, and ran over to pick it up and put it back on. Of course, she continued dancing afterwards.
This is a picture of my mom on her wedding day in 1966. She was 19.
Everything I am I owe to my angel mother, is how me and Abe Lincoln feel. So many great lessons were given to me by example and from discussion with my mother. An especially tender moment in my life was after I had my first child. Post-partum depression set in the moment my mom left after spending a few days helping me adjust to life with a baby. I was a wreck. But every night for two weeks my mother called me to check on me. Her voice was full of understanding and care. She had great empathy, as she knew very well how hard those first few weeks after having a baby can be.
Here's a picture of me, my mom, my mom's mom, and my baby Lilia at less than one week old.
Happy birthday, Karen! I hope my other siblings post their memories about the remarkable lady we're all so grateful to call our mom.