Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ode To My Mama

When I hear people talking about their mother's and their memories, my mind begins to wander. I don't know that I have any profound memories. Or memories that involve quotes that I have carried around in my head all of my life. My memories are more subtle. More like gentle breezes that flow through my mind from time to time. Many of my memories are sensory related. Smells and sights that run in and out of my mind.

Driving home from work, Mama always had rubber bands still on her wrists from her day at work. Every now and again, I'll at some point during my day do the same thing, and it always triggers that flash of a memory. She still smelled faintly of perfume and hairspray. She always had on lipstick and fingernail polish. And if she had on open toed shoes, her toenails were always painted. A sweater stayed on the back of her work chair year round. She has always been so cold natured. If she was laying on the couch watching television or reading a book, she had a afghan across her body and doubled up on her feet. Year round.

Ever the lady, if she had a night gown on anywhere besides her bedroom, she had on a robe and it was closed up. Her hands always smell like lotion. She has been applying dark eye circle concealer as part of her make-up routine as long as I can remember. Even when she didn't have dark circles.

I have few memories of her stopping. Even when she was bone dead tired. She always came home and cooked a full course supper. We always had a big Sunday breakfast. And she always made sure I took those awful chewable vitamins. Well, she made sure she gave them to me. Our pecan tree in the backyard got most of those vitamins thrown at it's trunk on my way to the bus stop.

Her skin is still snowy white. She knew what the value of sunscreen was, and believed the sun to be the evil root of all wrinkles and early aged skin. Her eyes and her face may even look younger than mine. For mine saw too many years of practiced burns and tanning beds. She still colors her hair once a month. And now, my sweet Daddy helps her do it. And if ever he is not able, it will be my blessed duty to help her.

In the leaner years, she bought a sewing machine and made my clothes look better than the expensive store bought ones. She sewed material at the bottom of the legs on my blue jeans. Patches all over my behind when that was popular, even though there was nary a hole in my jeans. Halter tops that were as cute as any that could be bought. And those cute tops with the tie in the back that were so popular when I was in Jr High. One Easter she made all of our outfits. Mine was a corduroy skirt and vest with a silk blouse. I was stylin' and profilin' with the best of them.

She always gardened with gloves on. One year she got into some poison ivy. It evidently got into her gloves, up her arms, and at some point she touched her face. She was swollen and broken out for weeks. Finally requiring a series of cortisone shots to get it healed. 

She has the patience of a saint. And a laugh that rings loud and true. She has a wonderful self deprecating humor. I got none of the patience, but I will claim her laughter and special humor. She was born and raised in Phenix City, Alabama. And no matter how long it's been since she lived there, she still rolls her "r"s when she speaks. It's Rivah..not River. Always. She is an original Steel Magnolia.

Over the years I have come to know my Mother as one of my best friends. She has always been very reserved, but I like to think my children and I have taught her that it's alright to open up and laugh out loud at what is sometimes, raw and bawdy humor. I love that now, sometimes, she even lets a curse word slip now and again. Sometimes my proudest moment memory is when my Daddy is driving her crazy, and she calls him an "ass" quietly off to the me.

I would have liked to have been the lady my mother is...but I am but a cheap imitation..a broad at best. My boys know what a lady their Mema is, and they know me, so I figure they've gotten a good balance.  When her day comes, my Mama will have no waiting period when it's her turn to pass through those gates of heaven. Her spot has been reserved for a long, long time. I imagine, she'll know exactly which chair is hers when she gets there. It will be the one with a sweater draped across the back.

Happy Mother's Day Mama.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. Aaaww Meeechelle ... that's beautiful! In the first pic of you and your Mama I almost didn't know who was who ... yall look like sisters!

  2. That was taken Mother's Day 1990. Seems like a million years ago now. And the 2nd picture was Dec 1985..and I had Josh that next April 86'.
    Thanks you.

  3. Awwww Michelle; I'm sure this was one of the many proud moments your mama has had. You are a ray of sunshine in a thunderstorm! Oh and being a broad isn't so bad; I kinda like it :-D!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.