Today is my mother’s 56th birthday or another way to put that is her 25th year of having her birthday dominated by her attention loving middle child daughter. While I cannot make up for the many childhood oversights of her birthday I can at least try to give her birthday a bit more attention now. First for those of you who haven’t met my mother you are indeed missing out. In attempting to describe her I thought of a character from my new obsession show, Burn Notice. The main character (Michael)’s mother is constant source of frustration for him, whether it is through her chain-smoking, inability to take his line of work (ex-spy) seriously or constant her ability to manipulate him into doing favors. I don’t think I could come up with a more complete opposite to my own mother. While our relationship has been in no way perfect, I consider myself to be incredibly blessed to have a close relationship with and great appreciation for my mother. But grandiose statements only go so far in describing my mother, so here is a memory from childhood and a picture to do the trick.
I am 7 or 8 and standing in the kitchen of the old house (the one my parents built soon after their wedding). It is summertime and despite the breeze from the oscilating fan, the air is muggy. Standing in front of the stove is my grandma checking on the large canner full of peaches for the winter. I am perched on a step stool in front of the sink watching my mom select peachs, halve them, peal off the fuzzy skins and place them in the vinegar bath. The pale orange peach halves bob against each other so enticingly that I can’t resist and grab one. I bite into it and the tang of vinegar quickly gives way to firm sweet peach that melts beneath my tongue and mouth. As juice runs down my chin, I realize I may have grabbed too quickly. But when I look up at my mother, she grins and bites into a peach.