Like you, I love my mother. Very much. As do all her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. But nobody loves her more than my dad. He has been hopelessly devoted to her since the day he met her. He used to meet her in downtown New York when he worked in the Custom House and she was a secretary on Wall St. They would meet and walk down to the water to make out on their lunch hour! They still are always making out even though they are in their seventies. Their love was and is an all consuming fire. When he became a fireman all my dad ever wanted to do was to do his job and save people and then get home safe to his family and most of all his “doll.” When I was a kid we could never disturb them when they went behind closed doors to do the “bills.” And they seemed to be paying a lot of bills.
So my mom was always kind of distracted. You see she wasn’t all that interested in fashion. She is a beautiful woman and always looked totally put together. But she didn’t really follow the trends. I remember when she forced me to wear a light blue pantsuit to my 8th grade graduation. You see in the 70’s everyone was in halter maxis and buffalo shoes and that’s what I really wanted like all my girlfriends. My mom wouldn’t let me wear heels but went into housewife mode and put me in white patent leather sling backs with no heel! I was mortified. You see I was a few pounds heavier than any of my friends. Not a lot just ten or fifteen pounds with a little belly. Like a lot of kids these days. But there were no cool clothes for a plus size fourteen year old so I was forced to wear a pant suit like I was Hillary Clinton getting ready for another debate. Not that there’s anything wrong with that for a middle aged woman but it was embarrassing for a teen. She just dressed me like a seventies housewife. Think Maude without the politics.
You see that is one of the problems with the plus size industry to this day. Most of it is geared to the older woman. I guess it is because they feel those are the people who have the money to spend. But there are plenty of teens and tweens and young women who are bigger than a size eight who need some cool and trendy clothing. They want to dress in the latest style just like their friends. They don’t want to look matronly; they just want to look cool.
You see my mom never knew what to do to help me. She used to hug me and if I had lost a few pounds she would say “Wow Lisa, you lost some weight. How great.” But if I gained a few or stayed the same she would just hug and kiss me and tell me she loved me. I would call it the “hug test.”
So I was determined to break the cycle with my daughter. I was never the domestic goddess either. I was always interested in art and design and fashion and creativity. I encouraged my daughter to be the same. When I dressed her I guess I went to the other extreme. I always tried to find cool and trendy clothes that sometimes were even “too cool for school.” You see teenagers are the true conservatives. They all want to look like everybody else. So she suffered in her own way because I didn’t really fit in with the other school moms. Everybody makes their own mistakes.
My daughter has her own daughter now and she’s ten. My granddaughter is a little mini-me. You see if she even looks at food she can gain a pound. But my daughter is very smart. She has her constantly on the move. She has cheerleading and swimming and track and best off all she is the goalie on the lacrosse team. You have to see her get hit in the head with the ball and turn to the stands and go “I’m OK! I’m OK! Don’t worry, I’m fine.” She is very active and sports oriented because she lives in Florida and has all these teams and squads to be on. In Brooklyn we used to exercise by rolling down the hill in Friend’s Field in a garbage can.
Every time they come home to Brooklyn I run to them and squish them and hug them and tell them how much I love them. I don’t care if they gained a pound or lost ten, I just love them all to death. Just the way my Mom loves me even if she didn’t quite say it the right way all the time. You see the way we do it now; you can never fail the hug test.
Are you going to hug your mom on Mother’s Day?