Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Where Did These Apples Come From?

Most of us wait until we’ve lost someone to reminisce about how wonderful they were. This time, I’m not going to wait and I’m going to tell you all about my mother. And while everyone waxes philosophical about how lucky they were to have their own mom, I can honestly say  I’m luckier than most. She’s almost 92 and other than her using a walker (at our insistence), you’d never believe she was over 70. But, to me – and the rest of my sibs – even 70 was a huge gift. You see, all of us expected Mom to be gone long, long ago.

I’m not being melodramatic. My grandmother – her mom – died when Mom was only 16 and we were all sure that meant she wouldn’t last too long either. Maybe the belief that I could lose her at any time made every year all that more precious to me. Thinking that your mother was on the verge of death (okay; now I am being melodramatic)  really makes you look at her in an whole different light. How could I ever be mad at Mom, when she could be gone any day? How could I not want to watch TV with her as a teen – who knew when she wouldn’t be there anymore?

Of course, that wasn’t the only reason. My cousin Chuck kind of summed it up when he nicknamed her “Saint Aunt Dolly”. Mom rarely lost her temper and just as rarely yelled at us (hard to believe if you know my brothers and sisters). When we were kids, there were maybe three times I can remember her locking herself in the bathroom to cry. And, oh did that make us feel like dirt. “What did you do to make Mom cry?” Because, of course, it couldn’t be yourself. Those times actually made us tremble. No, Mom didn’t yell or scream. But we always knew that if we were really  bad, we could make her cry. And none of us wanted that.

Want to have a friend over for dinner? It didn’t matter that we barely had enough on the table for the 8 of us. Everyone was welcome. Friend needs a place to stay? No question; bring them home. Of course, Mom did have to deal with Dad (who’s a whole ‘nother story. . . ). Dad was  a yeller, and we couldn’t believe he would actually yell at her. She could die, Dad!

But Mom is special in lots of other ways. Yeah, I know, your mom is special, too. Just not as special as mine :) . When we were doing our homework and had a question, instead of telling us the answer she would say “Look it up!” After all, she and Dad spent all that money on that World Book encyclopedia. Our kitchen phone ended up being a virtual internet – all our friends would call us to look up things for them.  We sure got our  money’s worth with that World Book. And when you were really bummed out – fight with a friend or a disappearing boyfriend – she never pried. If you wanted to talk, she was – and is – there. But she wanted us to try to work things out ourselves.

If Mom didn’t like someone – and that rarely happened – you knew something had to be wrong with them. You might argue it, but in the end, she was usually right.

Back in the 50s when lots of people thought it was okay to look down on Blacks (or “coloreds” as they were politely called), Mom would have none of it. “Everyone’s the same; they just have different color skin ” was her mantra. Yeah, she might not have been Rosa Parks, but she made sure we had the right attitude.

Dolly doesn’t drink, she doesn’t smoke and she doesn’t – ever – curse. And when our family gets together – cousins, aunts, uncles – and the Lo Sapio girls are the life of the party, she loves it!

Yes, Mom is one of a kind. Smart, loving, respectful, giving. And she’s outlasted just about everyone from her generation. She tricked us all.

And, boy, am I glad she did.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2013 at 2:15 PM and is filed under Family. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. The "baby" says:

    Damn Lucille!!! You made my eyes sweat. Like seriously-ruined my makeup (no melodrama here).
    How many times mom feels like, your onlyfriend/ally. You can always count on her to listen, hug you & let you know you are loved. I remember Vincent & I making her cry. OMG. It was the worst sound in the world. I swore I’d never let Vincent make her cry again (lol).
    Damn straight, we are the luckiest in the world. Ma-ma is one of a kind. And she’s ours!!!
    Thank you for bringing up wonderful memories. Especially the fight you and Camille had over a vacuum!!! Well fu********ck you. I nearly died. Mom was shocked. Funny thing, when dad would scream that in the nursing home she had no prob repeating it to me–LMFAO.
    Love you & all my crazy siblings!!
    Blessed, indeed!!!!

  2. Barry Jay says:

    Great story! I loved it!

  3. Terri says:

    I can’t believe your mom is 92! God Bless her. She might make 100! That was very sweet Lucille!

  4. David Berkowitz says:

    You are both lucky to have each other with the respect and love you hold for one another. Would that it were more common.

  5. Jan says:

    Hi Lucille…..That is such a wonderful story and tribute to your Mother. You are so Blessed to have her still with you. She sounds like a wonderful woman. No wonder we have always been friends since childhood, but we have to get together soon…..Love Always, Jan

  6. Allegra says:

    Made me cry, Lucille — I love your mom, and still remember how kind she was to me! Please say hello for me… xo

  7. Lucille,
    That was sweet. I always thought your mom’s name matched her personallity. She was always so sweet,and calm, and I always wondered how. with all those kids lol. She really is a doll, and your all so lucky to still have her. xx

  8. Robin says:

    Awwww…..Smile Good stuff

  9. Judy Herring says:

    So glad you paid tribute to your mother while she is alive. I take care of my 93 year old mother and I consider it a privilege and an honor. I tell her I love her every day, and I consider every day I have with her a gift from heaven. My mother always made me look things up, too!!

  10. Kirk says:

    Aloha Lucille,

    First off , sorry for your loss. Your story reminded me of my Mom’s journey. She was ill for a bit over 14 years so I know what you meant by saying “Thinking that your mother was on the verge of death (okay; now I am being melodramatic) really makes you look at her in an whole different light.” For years every time the phone rang I worried that it was another call saying that Mom was being rushed to the hospital for something that could be her last aliment. During her last week of life I spoke with her 2-3 time before the end. The first time she was upbeat and alert. The second time she was a little distant and the third time I didn’t understand a word that she was saying but hearing her was comforting but disturbing. She was 71…

    I know how you feel and I have to admit that it does feel weird loosing both of your parents within a 2 year period.

    Chin up,

    Thanks for sharing…

  11. Camille says:

    Mom has always been an amazing role model; not just as a mother but as a caring, loving person. No matter what mistake I’ve made and there have been many, Mom was always there fir me. I love her so much!

  12. Jennie says:

    What a fabulous and loving tribute to your Mom, Lucille~ What a woman!! :)

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