Wednesday, July 6, 2011


To quote my husband: "Behind every great man, is a narcissistic woman." But really, take away the narcissistic, replace it with great, and know that the great man we are talking about is my father, and we end up with Jan. My mother, who is a gem. And until this very moment, I had never used the word gem.

2 1/2 month old Jan

 Today, Mummy Dearest turns the ripe age of 60. And correct me if I'm wrong, but 60 never looked so good.

Janice is quite the beauty. Someone who also thinks so is Sidney Poitier. He asked her out, but a certain someone was already in the picture, so he got served the rejection card. Oh snap! I call him Uncle Sid.

Good choice, Mommy.

Janine is from Miami, Fl. She was quite the ballerina in her day. Her knees are feeling the repercussion of her days of dance. A few surgeries later and she still complains.

She also rocked the tennis court.

Mother lived in Italy for 4 years after marrying my dad . She learned how to cook from Father's family like the Barefoot Contessa. My palate growing up, was that of a spoiled one. She is fluent in Italian and taught English to Italians right across the street from Christopher Colombus' house. Yes, I am name dropping. And if he were alive then, he probably also would have asked her out.

Present day, Miss Jan works at a pre-school. I would be the luckiest tot if I were 3 and had her as my teacher. I would get to hear the voice of an angel daily.  Fortunately my little ones get to benefit. They witness the dramatic presentations of children's songs preformed for them. It halts a crying baby mid scream.

Unfortunately she was not around for this episode.

 She is the reason I sing. All the time. Not stopping. Never allowing silence. She has been in the choir since I was little. She has had many a duets, quartets and small solos in her day. All of her performances have been on my tongue for years and years. Especially the one from 1991 where she got the words wrong but improvised. I still sing the song with her incorrect lyrics.
Judging by the outfit, I'd say this was about 1991.

Oddly, Janet and I have always gotten along. My teen years didn't bring on the tension that many a mom and daughter run into. Or maybe it was because I never got caught. Nevertheless, I'm not saying she never had to get her discipline on. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Or in our home, it was the wooden spoon. I remember in my teens "talking back" to her. She took after me. I ran around the dining room table so she couldn't get me. She picked up the closest thing she could find, which happened to be a brush, and chucked it at me. It didn't hurt. What did hurt was what she did last summer. We were at a waterfall. She decided she was going to skim rocks across the water. She used everything she had. The rock flew and slammed me in the collarbone. I don't know how, I stood opposite direction of the water.

The only negative thing about this woman, is her ability to make everything into worst case scenarios. I'll give you two examples that make her chuckle. I was 10. We were on an overnight train traveling from Deerfield Beach, Fl to VA. Before we checked in to our sleep cabin, we would go watch a movie in another car. We had to walk through quite a few to get there. One was an empty dark one. She spotted a black briefcase sitting on the seat by itself. She exclaimed, "It's a bomb!" And took off. Without me. Secondly, I was 12 and kept trying to open my bedroom door. I'd get it open almost half way and then it would slam shut on me. I called for Mummy. She came upstairs. She tried to open it. It shut on her. She exclaimed, "There's a man in there!" And took off downstairs. Without me. Needless to say, the man who planted the bomb on the train was now hiding in my bedroom.

I wish I was like her in so many ways. Growing up, I never heard her complain. I never heard her speak poorly of anyone. I never knew her to not get up earlier than the rump crack of dawn to spend time with the Lord. If I ever have any question about anything Biblical or Spiritual, I call the lady. She always has a response similar to, "Well Carilou Caribou, if you read Zephaniah 53, you will have your answer."

Her nickname is Ruby. Oh I guess she really is a gem.
Please notice the ruby on her finger. I also wore this ring in my wedding.

One time many years ago when I was a young lad, I remember saying, "Mommy we are friends." Almost before I could get that sentence out, she responded, "We are not friends, I am your mother." That is the best response I could have ever gotten. She was very  loving and nurturing to us growing up, but her role was my mother. She didn't try to be "cool" or be my friend. She was there to raise me and point me towards the straight and narrow. I knew the most important thing in her life was Jesus, not me thank goodness. She had a huge role as a mother, but she also had a life apart from her 3 kids. She still had her identity. She still had hobbies. She still had  friends. She still loved her hubby. Knowing that I wasn't the center of my parent's universe, gave me a great independence and confidence in life even as a young child and a great respect for them. Today things have changed. We are friends. The best of. And we live 2 miles away from each other. Praise Him! Happy Birthday Mommy! I love you!

The song I leave you with is from Boyz II Men, from the 1997 album, Evolution. For Mother's Day when I was 15, I put on their song, stood up on the mantel in a homemade dress, and lip sang it to my mom. She teared up. Ha! The song is as follows: Oh and before we get to it, there was no man in my bedroom. It was just a shelf that had fallen and was leaning in front of my bedroom door causing it to shut. And yes, I am aware that Zephaniah only has 3 chapters.
A Song For Mama

You taught me everything
And everything you’ve given me
I always keep it inside
You’re the driving force in my life, yeah
There isn’t anything
Or anyone I can be
And it just wouldn’t feel right
If I didn’t have you by my side
You were there for me to love and care for me
When skies were grey
Whenever I was down
You were always there to comfort me
And no one else can be what you have been to me
You’ll always be you always will be the girl
In my life for all times

Mama, mama you know I love you
Oh you know I love you
Mama, mama you’re the queen of my heart
Your love is like
Tears from the stars
Mama, I just want you to know
Lovin’ you is like food to my soul
You’re always down for me
Have always been around for me even when I was bad
You showed me right from my wrong
Yes you did
And you took up for me
When everyone was downin’ me
You always did understand
You gave me strength to go on
There was so many times
Looking back when I was so afraid
And then you come to me
And say to me I can face anything
And no one else can do
What you have done for me
You’ll always be
You will always be the girl in my life