Okay, so NCS over at More Cowbell did this, and I hopped over to Adventures in Babywearing and decided to do this too.
My mom and I have not always had the greatest relationship. In particular, she unfortunately has a twisted worldview and has created false memories because of this worldview, which makes her think that some things are true which are not true. She did some things growing up that severely messed me up. I know that she did this because she loved me, and that in her twisted world she was caring for me. But they hurt. I was only able to forgive her about a year and a half after I moved out of her house and wasn't under her influence any more.
That being said, except when you get on those few subjects that she has a false outlook on, she is a wonderful woman. My mom has lived for others practically her whole adult life. She works hard and she gives all that she has to give, more sometimes. She is a wonderful grandmother and our number-one babysitter of choice (we don't do babysitters outside the family.) As you can see in the picture, she keeps things around at her house to make it a special place for my girls, she loves to play with them, and she is wonderful with kids.
My mom loves her job. She is a Registered Nurse, Registered Occupational Therapist, and Certified Public Health Nurse, and she currently is the Nurse-Coordinator of Craniofacial Services for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. She runs all of Kaiser's craniofacial clinics in the region. She works with the parents and the patients. She remembers all of their names, lives, histories, family details. She sits with parents while their children are in life-threatening but life-saving surgeries; she teaches them how to feed their child, stretch the child's neck, care for the child's stitches, anything that the doctors don't take the time to do or the other nurses didn't do right the first time. She is the heart and soul of the Craniofacial Department, and the doctors all know it. Besides that, when the other OTs have a child who they can't get to eat-- even the feeding specialists-- my mom is the one they call. How lucky I was to have her when my second child wasn't nursing well when she came home from the hospital, and her jaundice wasn't clearing! I called my mom at work, sobbing, because you know how you get when you've just had a baby, the hormones make you completely wack-o, and the baby not eating is enough to send you over the edge. She dropped what she was doing, told her boss she was leaving, and drove to our apartment and spent about half an hour helping me get Bridey to nurse. (Turns out she had a small chin, and needed extra support and a different position for the first few weeks.) She is also the one who noticed that Bridey's chin was small and when we put her on her back or side to sleep, her tongue was blocking her throat, and that's why she was waking up to scream every half-hour. After we followed her advice and turned Bridget on her tummy to sleep, we found out she was a wonderful sleeper. Thank goodness for my very knowledgeable, observant mom!
I have really forgiven my mom more and grown closer to her since I got pregnant with Emma. I sometimes wonder how she took care of us after working long hours, like she always did. Before she worked Craniofacial she worked Newborn Screening, and before that Genetics at County (before that, Child Abuse at County, but I was not very aware of her work back then.) She used to tell us about interesting cases at the dinner table, and draw Punnett squares on the paper napkins to explain genotypes to us. By the time I hit Jr. High School Life Science, I was able to teach the TEACHER a few things about the principles of genetics. I also excelled in nutrition; my mom always explained WHY we ate what we ate and what about it was good for us, and when I started cooking for my own family I didn't have a problem serving balanced, delicious, nutritious meals on the cheap (she also taught me how to grocery shop.)
I see now that my mom went out of her way to encourage our natural curiosity and aptitude for learning. She is part of the reason that by the time we were 8 or so, we would rather take a vacation touring historical sites than a trip to Disneyland. (Not that we didn't love Disneyland, but we knew my mom hated it and would be grumpy, plus that was only one day, while we could instead choose to vacation for a week and see LOTS of fascinating stuff.) We did science projects in the back yard, and she either helped us or freely gave us the materials. We played math games in waiting rooms and logic and word games in the car. We learned to respect other people from the way she always talked about others, and to love other cultures from our trips to cultural experiences and friends' gatherings where we ate Filipino, Korean, and all other kinds of food. I learned to pray and love God from her, and I learned that being a good citizen and a good neighbor means both caring and helping. And all of this was so natural that it just was part of our life, nothing odd or strange or out of the ordinary. She has very much informed my ideal of what an education should be.
She also taught us to love music and literature. I remember reading out loud before bed; I remember seeing her curled up with a book, same as we would; I remember the house always filled with music. Both of my older sisters were in A Capella Choir and also the All-State Honor Choir in high school. They sang constantly, and if they weren't singing, my mom was. We had a song for everything and songs for nothing. We sang in the car; on long road trips we would harmonize over folk songs and hymns and you couldn't turn the radio on without someone singing along-- unless it was classical music, in which case we played "what's that instrument" (when we were younger) and "name that composer and work" (when we were older.) Music made things fun; we sang while we cleaned, or raced a song on the radio to see if we could pick up all the toys before it ended. Mom played marches on the piano to get us to "march" off to our baths or to our bedrooms.
So in the end, I have taken more good than bad from my relationship with my mom. I know that she loves me, always has and always will. She loves my little family now, and she helps us more than I can say. She knows how to help even when she's not told what's wrong or asked for help, and that is truly a gift. I love having her near, even more having lived away for two years, and I don't want to have to do without her any time soon.
So that's my mom. If you're interested, post a picture and tell us something about yours. You can check it out over at Adventures in Babywearing. :)