Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Mom and Laughter

I was thinking about my Mom the other day.

Well, I think about her every day...but this particular day was the day I wrote about Joshua turning the shower on Jim's head...and how my Mom was there because she had come to help me after Holly was born.

I started thinking about her laughter...because, that day, she laughed so hard that tears were ROLLING down her face. And every few minutes, she would think about it again, and the laughter would start all over again.

I remember my Mom telling me that, early in their marriage, my Dad had come home with a dust pan one day. Like, he actually picked it out special for her and brought it to her as a surprise, as a gift.

Now would probably be a good time to say that my Mom? Not Suzie Homemaker. She made a great home...she was great at picking out things and arranging things and she was a great cook...all of that. But she wasn't really drawn to home and the things of home like I am. She was more drawn to a housekeeper. :)

I don't think they had been married very long, and I don't know if she had mentioned needing a dust pan or what...but here comes my Dad one day, dust pan in hand. He was so proud of himself. My Mom said it had a design on it and it was all sparkly. I don't know if she'd had a bad day or a bad week or they'd had a fight or none of the above...but it hit her funny...and she said she started laughing and could not stop. The tears were rolling down her face. At one point, my Dad started getting quite offended!

Another time, I remember we had just moved to Taiwan. Our family of 6 was eating at the Officer's Club, and trying to be on our best manners to make a good impression. I'm sure it had been a stressful time for my Mom, trying to get us all settled and in school and negotiating the driving and the language and all that is involved in moving your family to a foreign country that's the size of a rock...and 90 miles from mainland China. And you know, kids are picky eaters and they don't care who you are or where you are eating.

My little brother, David, he loved the white powdered donuts. Like the little Hostess ones? The menu at the Officer's Club listed "donuts" as one of the menu options. So, we all ordered our breakfasts..."cereal with NO milk," "CRISPY bacon," "toast that's not burned," and "CAN WE HAVE SPRITE INSTEAD OF MILK?" I'm sure my Mom was exasperated. So, when it came to David, the baby who always got his way, my Mom asked the waitress if they had donuts, you know...just making sure. The waitress was Taiwanese, and very polite. She said, "yes, Missy." My Mom said, "well, what KIND of donuts do you have?" (She was thinking, you know...glazed, frosted, sprinkled, etc.) The waitress looked very confused, but finally said, "oh, you know, Missy, ROUND-AND-HAVE-HOLE-IN-MIDDLE?"

And my Mom lost it.

Seriously, she started laughing and could not stop. She tried to kind of keep it together until the waitress left the table, but then she laughed and laughed...and tears were rolling down her face. Every few minutes, she would think about it again, and here we'd go.

As a kid, it was so great to see her like this...because both of my parents were pretty reserved and "in charge" of their emotions at all least around us. My Mom always had impeccable make-up and she would never want to be seen with it streaked all over her face...or have those big, puffy eyes. So, this was something!

Then, there was the time that my quiet, unassuming, practical Dad...went out and bought a car for my Mom (1st mistake)...that she had not even seen (2nd mistake)...and brought it home (3rd mistake). It was a used, slightly beat up, red, VW Beetle. Let me paint the picture, because there is nothing wrong with a VW Beetle...but a person has to prepare themselves for it, especially if they are pushing 40 at the time. Or if they aren't expecting it. Because, seriously?

And my Mom...not exactly the VW Beetle type. She was more the Cadillac type. The Cadillac-type-on-a-VW-budget type.

So he pulls in with this car and calls my Mom out to see it...and he's all proud. And my Mom is dumb-founded for a minute. Shocked, really.


Because, seriously? There are SIX PEOPLE IN MY's a BUG. I'm just sayin'.

But then my Mom started laughing. And she laughed and she laughed and she laughed. She laughed til she cried.

But she ended up driving that thing for several years.

My Dad told me that I could "share" that car with my Mom. I was 16 and had my first after-school job. Even tho it was a standard, it was the car I first learned to drive...the one I took my driver's test in. AND, since I was "sharing" it...and I mistakenly thought that meant it was PART MINE...I put a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker on it one day that I bought with my own money. And I hung a small stuffed mouse by it's tail from the rear-view mirror. The next night when I got in it to go to my job at the Bonanza Steakhouse? There was nothing left of the mouse but it's sad little tail, swinging in the breeze.

Three days later, I saw what was left of the bumper sticker. It was technically still attached to the bumper of the car...but it looked like it had been attacked by the claws of rabid wolves.

No, it was just my Mom's long acrylic nails.

Seems like I neglected to tell her about the bumper sticker, and even tho she loved Jesus very much...she was when she thought people were being critical of her driving.

I love my Mom. I miss her. I am thankful for the legacy of faith and family that she left for us. Of all of the aspects of her personality, I think I love her sense of humor the most. So thankful she passed that on to us.

"...He gives you...joyful hearts." Acts 14:17

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