Thursday, December 8, 2011


My mother prefers "mum" to "mom", because it's more British.  I call her mom, but when I'm writing a note or a card to her, I always address it "Dear Mum".  It makes her happy.

My mom has stricter dietary restrictions than I do, but it doesn't seem to bother her much.  She was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was very young, back before anyone had an understanding of what caused the disease.  For a long time her diet was restricted to plain white rice, skim milk, boiled beef, and mashed bananas.  She used to steal coins from her grandmother's changepurse and sneak off to the candy store after school to buy treats.  She would get so sick that sometimes she ended up in the hospital, but she still says that it was worth it.  Compared to that diet, the choices that she has now seem abundant.

My mom likes her tea STRONG.  There's so much tannic acid in the tea she brews that it'll make your tongue curl.  She also prefers it very hot, almost straight from the kettle.  She's hardcore like that.

Recently my mom and I went shopping at a housewares store that was having a clearance sale.  There was a table spread with discounted rubber mats for outside your front door.  She spotted one that she thought was cute.  It had the word "Hello" in various fonts and languages all over it in raised lettering.  She started regretting the fact that she had already bought a new rubber mat for her new house.  "Oh, this one is so much nicer!  I should have waited!  I wish I had this one instead!"  "Mom," I said, "check the price."  The mat was $13.  In my mother's budget $ 13 is not a big deal.  "Mom," I said, "just buy it.  Donate the other one to charity or just throw it in the garage."  She looked at me as though I had just revealed a brand new, shining truth to her.  "You know," she said, "if you hadn't said that I never would have thought to buy it.  I would have just assumed I had to live with the other mat forever."  She bought the mat and is happy with it now. 

My mom subscribes to two newspapers and can't stand to recycle them until she's at least flipped through every page of her favourite sections.  If she's been busy the newspapers stack up on the counter until the piles are intimidating.  She listens to CBC radio all day long, which has constant news updates and talk shows about current events and culture, which are the subjects she's interested in.  I have tried to convince her that she doesn't need to read every newspaper in order to keep adequately up to date, but to no avail.

My mom loves her cats so much that she heats up their soft cat food on the stove in the morning.  It smells terrible.  If I complain she asks me "Would you like to eat an ice cold breakfast on a cold winter morning?" 

I was over at my mom's house on Tuesday night.  She pulled out a giftwrapped box and said "I found this.  I think it's for you."  I thought she meant it was a gift from someone for my most recent birthday.  It took me a few questions to realize that she found it at the back of a closet when she was packing for her move.  She thinks that it's a baby gift for me, from when I was born in 1972.  I tear it open and sure enough, she's right.  It's a brand-new, never worn onesie, meant for me 39 years ago.  As you can see, everyone expected me to be a boy:


Just Plain Tired said...

Your mother sounds a lot like my grandmother. That's amazing that a baby gift gets discovered 39 years later.

Owl Dancer said...

Hi Spark, I'm glad you helped your mom think about the doormat :) It never fails to amaze me...the things which are so simple that never occur to us until someone else suggests it. That happens with me a lot...I like to call them my V8 moments.

That little onsie is incredible! Especially since the box is still there and it's still sealed in plastic. I love stuff like that. BTW...I'm glad you weren't a boy! What would we do without Spark? ;)

Jameil said...

Is your mom British? I'm tres confused now and also curious about your ancestry! Your mom's old school diet!?!? *runs screaming from room* There are some things I'm quite certain I could eliminate from my diet to feel better but I'm resisting. Meh. I let my tea sit until it's 2 tics above warm. I like strong but not tongue-curling tea. I know how my mom likes her coffee, clueless abt her tea. I so have doormat moments! "You know you can just..." Oooooh! LOL When I'm a student getting all smart? THE WORST. The most oblivious to things I could ever be. It's crazy. My mom hoards newspapers, too. I secretly recycle them when I'm home... LOLOL @ that gift! The cat food makes me wanna cry.

LL Cool Joe said...

I call my mother mum, oh, maybe that's because I'm British and so is my mum!

I'm like your mother with newspapers too, I get busy and they pile up until I've read all my favourite bits, when I finally finish reading them, I cut out all the bits I'm interested in and they sit in another pile for months. :D

Nice baby gift, will you keep it?

DarcKnyt said...

That doormat story killed me. I want you to come to the States and do the same thing for my wife. She has so much to learn from you! ;)

Granny Annie said...

I love your mum. She sounds like me. I cannot part with a piece of newspaper or magazine until I'm sure I haven't missed something important. You did a wonderful job of telling about her and I laughed out loud,

Lynn said...

Oh my goodness! That is a treasure! I would frame that in a shadowbox or something. Your mom sounds like a treasure, too.

(And I used to heat up my cat's canned food, too, only I used the microwave.) :)

Sparkling Red said...

JPT: Yup, that box was a true time capsule. It blew my mind.

Owl Dancer: Aw, you're sweet! :-) Apparently the "boy" prediction was so entrenched that when I was a newborn my mom had only blue clothes to dress me in. Of course strangers always thought I was a boy. Fortunately I have no gender confusion as a result of that experience, although I still like to wear blue.

Jameil: I think my mom must have been a Brit in a previous life, but in this life she's 100% Russian Jew, with a fetish for all things UK-ish. She loves Brit-coms and high tea, royal weddings and Anglican church music. I have no explanation.

LL Cool Joe: I left the onesie at my mom's house. I hope that she keeps it.

DarcKnyt: I'd be glad to be of service, anytime! Between my mom and my aunt, I have a lot of experience convincing reluctant women to treat themselves. ;-)

Granny Annie: My mother's mother, now in her 90's, has a basement full of newspapers and magazines. Some of them are from the 1960's!

Lynn: Yes, my mom is a treasure. She has the ability to appreciate the small, beautiful things in life - like you do. I'll have to tell her that I found someone else who heats up wet cat food! :-)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

All I have to say is you HAVE to wear your gift out at least once or twice or the giver will feel as though you don't like it.

DarcsFalcon said...

That's hysterical she kept the wrapped baby gift for you! LOL I'm sure everyone was glad you were a baby girl though. :)

I can't imagine heating up cat food. I think I would gag myself at the smell, ugh. Your mother must be brave!

I love the mat story! "Just get it!" Indeed, life's too short to worry over small things like that. :)

DarcsFalcon said...

I hereby dub thee, nominated! :)

The Liebster Blog Award « The "Ness" in DarcNess ;).

Jenski said...

That onesie is great!
As glad as I am that I do not hesitate to throw out the newspaper, it would be fascinating to see what your grandmother has.