My mom has always been my biggest fan. That’s her, visiting me at my very first radio job.
She passed away last week at the incredibly wonderful age of almost 92.
While our dad gave us a moral compass, and taught us respect and responsibility (not all of which completely took hold), it was mom who gave us a sense of humor. She was a very funny lady and she was full of surprises.
The summer before first grade, I discovered an old song called Puff the Magic Dragon, and it became my theme song that summer. Boy. Dragon. Perfect for a kid, right?
When school started that fall, my mom secretly bought the sheet music and practiced it on the piano and learned the words while I was at school, and then she surprised me with a concert on a Friday afternoon.
For all that I’ve done and all that I’ve seen, and as young as I was, that is still the highlight of my life.
When my college-bound sister found out, she told me that song “was about drugs.”
I was devastated.
When I told my mom what my sister said, she thought for a minute, and then grinned and said… “Not when we sing it.”
She was 43 when I was born, and with two other siblings much older, my mom and I were more best friends growing up than parent and child, and even when parenting she was funny.
One moment I will never forget came when I royally screwed something up and my mom sat me down and in a very serious tone quoted poet John Greenleaf Whittier: “For all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these: It might have been.”
Those were strong words, which I remember to this day, but she quickly followed up by laughing and saying “Well, now I can tell your dad I talked to you. I made cinnamon rolls and Mary Tyler Moore is on in five minutes.”
We watched a lot of reruns together.
Mom was also my tour guide. Dad got to travel a lot and we went along. But instead of being a convention wife, my mom had me. Long before Google and Travelocity, mom researched all the sites and points of interest in every city we visited and she showed me the world.
Even in old age, she looked great (that’s her, taking a selfie, on her 90th birthday below) and she remained sharp and funny.
Our last conversation, days before she died, lasted 30 minutes and we did nothing but talk about funny memories and laugh. At one point she told me she wished all of her family and all of her friends could get together again. And then she chuckled and said “that will be my funeral, won’t it?”
It was mom. And it was wonderful. Thank you for everything.