Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen 3/13/08


To the rest of the world, I lost my mom 13 years ago this week, but to me it's still like it was just yesterday. In the past, I've kept it pretty generic and not specific on the blog. I'm not going to do that this year. This is for me, but you are welcome to pull up some coffee and have a seat with me. My mom's birthday is today, Thursday, March 13th. Hard to believe she would have turned 69 years old this year. The 13th anniversary of my mom's death, just one day after her 56th birthday (I know, so young, ALS is so unbelievably cruel), is tomorrow, Friday March 14th. We knew she lived for birthdays but apparently even more so than we suspected. I'm the same way, and I embrace it because to me there is no greater compliment I could ever receive than to be told that I'm just like my mother. She lives on through me and through the lives of those whose lives she touched, and I'm proud of any little bit of her legacy I discover within myself.

So, after all that long introduction, in honor of my mom's birthday on this Thursday Thirteen, I present not just one list but three lists because my mom really and truly was all that.

My Mom, Thirteen Ways of Being:
  1. Diehard Cub's fan (as in full Cubs gear at her viewing when normal women would have been respectfully dressed in nice clothes and pearls or whatever you are supposed to wear in a casket, as in "please scatter my ashes where Ryno stood playing 2nd base")
  2. Hilariously funny (though not always intentionally, which was often even more hysterical)
  3. Barefoot (except in winter) and talked with her hands, even on the phone (genetics got me there, too)
  4. Irreverent, almost completely
  5. Inappropriate (but in harmless ways, usually)
  6. Petrified of public speaking
  7. Loud
  8. Potty mouth (but no f-bombs)
  9. Proud and photo-bearing (and wearing things like sweatshirts daring you to ask her about her grandsons)(nope, not my kids)
  10. Always "pulling a boner" (her words, not mine...)
  11. Not so good on the whole dieting thing that tended to start on Mondays, but if the situation called for it, she could drink a group of college kids under the table and then order a pizza for herself while they were passed out, almost just to make a point back before the word pwned even existed (true story)(not me, different college kid of hers)(no, she wasn't a drunk, not even remotely. sheesh.)
  12. Lived and loved with all her heart, no holding back
  13. Missed. Tremendously. And never, ever, forgotten. I promise.

A Compilation Mix of Thirteen Songs and Sayings You Could Expect to Hear During a Car Ride with My Mom
(all music would have been on 8-tracks - remember those? - and now I'm all up here on my blog linking each song to a video on YouTube, two things she'd never have imagined):
  1. Put a quarter on the seat, and I'll park it for you (which is really funny if you've ever seen my mother drive. or park. or drive into the side of the garage while trying to park. waaahahahahhhhaaaaaaa, kills me, even now whenever I need a chuckle.)
  2. Linda Ronstadt "I'm Gonna Say it Again, You're No Good, You're No Good, Baby You're Nooooo Goooooood"
  3. Try the radio, sweeter tune (in response to honking, whether at her or not)
  4. The Platters "Oh-ho-only You (Only You)" (or something really nonsensical and nutty like The Ames Brothers "M, I say M-O, M-O-P, M-O-P-P, Mop," Ragmop)
  5. None of these assholes will give me a break (said in exasperation while attempting left turn against traffic, which I try never to try to do)
  6. Nat King Cole "L is for the Way You Look at Me, O is for the Only One I Seeeee, V is Very Very Extraordinary, E is Even More than Anyone that You Adore and Love is all that I can give to yoooooooou, Love is.... (L-O-V-E)"
  7. Oh, just blow it out your ass (in reference to honking, I think)
  8. Oak Ridge Boys "Elvira, My Heart's on Fire, Elvira. Getty a Hmm Bop a Hmm Bop a Mao Mao"
  9. Bald headed Jesus on a rainy day! (stated randomly, sometimes while turning left, or general usage when annoyed at other cars - I've never heard anyone else say this, ever)
  10. Peter Paul and Mary "Puff the Magic Dragon Lived by the Sea and Frolicked in the Autumn Mist in a Land Called Honah Lee." (not. about. pot. not.)
  11. Don't make me pull over and stop this car; I will break your little ass (this never ended well. it was back in the days when spanking misbehaving kids - who? me? - was allowed. on the side of the road. if need be. don't judge.)
  12. Statler Brothers "Don't Wait on Me (then the low voice: Little Darlin')/ When the Lights Go on at Wrigley Field I'll be Coming Home to You" (if you don't know, the lights did actually come on for the first time on August 8, 1988 at Wrigley Field, and you can bet your sweet ass that my mom was there - so was I - which was awesome even if that game did get rained out, but the song kind of lost its meaning after that...)
  13. Oh, balls (general usage, applied liberally, as needed)
  14. Bonus. Ronnie Milsap "But Tears Filled My Eyes When I Found Out She Was Gone, Smoky Mountain Rain" (classic, gets me even now)

Thirteen Titles My Mom Held:

  1. Mom
  2. Wife
  3. Friend
  4. Sister
  5. Daughter
  6. Aunt
  7. Grandma
  8. Girl Scout Leader
  9. Room mother at school
  10. Santa's Favorite Helper Ever
  11. Easter Bunny
  12. The Fat Toothfairy (her words, not mine, when she was all excited, change jingling in her robe so that I woke up, and she had to come up with some reason for standing there by my pillow and said that she was "the fat toothfairy" but that the real one would be coming later - made sense at the time)
  13. Chef, Housekeeper, Healer, Psychologist, Encourager, Cheerleader, Advocate, Hug Giver, Birthday Planner Extraorinaire, Person who Loved Me Most of All No Matter What and Did Awesome Things Like Mail Me Cookies in College

Today is smoke-free day 270, and my mom would be positively thrilled about this. It really is just a day at a time, and today, this smoke-free day is for you, Mom. Happy Birthday. Yes, I love you, too. A bushel and a peck.


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  1. Hey Hi there, Thats was the best TT one could think of doing....
    I have lost my dad, he too was in his early 50s and I know what it means to lose someone you are the closest too...and when ppl say I look like my dad I am proud!!!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Happy TT!!

  2. Your mom sounds like she was a wonderful woman. :)

  3. nice catch for TT! Hope you'll visit mine too!

  4. This is so beautiful and thoughtful, thanks for sharing. I just put up my very first TT post, but it sure is nothing compared to this. Your mom must have been a wonderful woman.

  5. You're making all our TT's look bad :-). Really, though, that was very touching and I thank you for sharing it with us. I'm sure your mother is just as proud of you being her daughter as you are of her being your mother. (yeah... that was a bit wordy, but I think you get the point?)

    Stay strong, I know this week is going to be a hard one for you. *Hugs*

  6. Just another reason for you to keep on keepin' on!

    "Bald headed Jesus on a rainy day!"...I'm TOTALLY going to start using this!

    She sounds like she was quite the woman :-)

  7. I think a testament to a well lived life is the love that lingers behind. This is a wonderful TT - and such a loving tribute. While I am so sorry for your loss, I am delighted that you had her in the first place.

    Happy TT!

  8. Makes me cry Maggie.
    I had a horrible mother and always wondered what it would be like to live on the other side.
    I think I was a great Mom and most of the reason was because I wanted to be more than my own mother.

    Sounds to me like you were BLESSED with your Mom and Our Creator decided he would give you more QUALITY than QUANTITY.

  9. This is so lovely! I'm so glad you shared this tribute to your Mom - I think I would have positively adored her.

    Congrats on your quit, too.

  10. Loved those lists. It must have taken a long time to compile them, but it's so good to remember.

  11. Great post Maggie. Birthdays and holidays are the worst when someone so dear to us is gone. Thanks for stopping by my completely irreverent TT.

  12. I'm all choked up, and holding back tears. Wow, Maggie. This is the most poignant, touching, and love-filled 13 (x3) ever. She's smiling on you from heaven; I'm sure of it!

  13. I love that your memories of her are so real and don't seem at all glorified...just the real woman she was.

  14. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful woman and MOM! Hugs!

  15. Maggie,
    Your ode to you mom through your words was really touching. I have had a lot of resentments about my mom but through the years I realize she did the best she could with what she had to work with and really did want to be a good mom. Sadly, smoking killed her at 49. Maybe one day I will do a tribute like you did.

  16. Oh Maggie this is so touching. You brought tears to my eyes this time.

    She had to have been an amazing person - your kindness, generosity, and friendship are all proof of that.

    *big hug*

  17. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing it with us Maggie.

  18. What a lovely way to celebrate your mom! My grandma and I were both Cub fans, and Ryno was her favorite, too. Also I loved the songs that remind you of your mom. Touching and sweet. (Thanks for visiting my TT)

  19. Thanks for sharing Maggie! It was lovely.

    The 31st of this month will be the anniversary of my dads death. He had MS and was called home at age 46. He was such a great dad that I always felt cheated that I didn't have him around when I was an adult. On the other hand, he was miserable here and is in such a better place now. :)

    My mom was only 62 when she died unexpectedly. After reading your lists, it sounds like our moms were somewhat alike! :) We were both blessed.

    Take care

  20. Great TT! That is a wonderful way to tribute your mom, She sounds like she was a great person.

  21. Thank you all for your super kind comments. I really appreciated it. I wrote this as a way to remind me of my mom, a place I can return to when I feel like remembering her, but the comments have touched my heart, too. As you've commented, my mom really was wonderful (though, thanks Di for what you said about not glorifying because you are so right I wanted to keep her real, as I remember her), left lots of love behind her when she went, made me feel truly blessed (yep, not everyone is so lucky), and would have loved you all for being so kind to me (and because some of you are kind of nutty in a good way like her!). For those who mentioned also losing a parent, no matter what the relationship, I don't have to tell you that it can be quite the experience making quite the impact on our lives. Anyway, most of you probably won't circle back to read comments, and Blogger doesn't let me do the email thing to personally thank each of you, but I wanted to do so somehow anyway, and this is how. So, thank you. Sincerely.

  22. Wow, Maggie. That was awesome. I have to go dry my eyes now.

    FYI - August 8, 1988? I know all about that. Our wedding day was 10 years to the day after the first Cubs nightgame. It was the only way my husband would remember our anniversary. LoL.

  23. I miss her so much. She was an amazing grandmother. I made my mom read this posting too.


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