“What is it dear?”

“I want a Salerno butter cookie….Mommy?”

   “What is it dear?”

   “Forget the cookie and give me a beer.”


My mother taught me this…and a million much more appropriate lessons.

Correction: My mother insists she did NOT teach me this gem, nor did she ever tell me to go play in traffic.  These were apparently dad’s contributions. It was, however, her that taught me to shove mustache hairs up my hung-over father’s nose while singing “What do you do with a drunken sailor.”

This post has been in the making since I started my family series…I just can’t seem to ever shrink my feelings down enough to put them into blog form.

Pam Dell’Aquila or Miss D to the hundreds of kids (now adults) she taught in pre-school is the epitome of what mothers should be.  She has been the center of my universe for my forever.  She has been the focus of the majority of my past resentments (my narrow-minded fault, not hers).  She is the one I want when I’m sick or sad.  She is my greatest cheerleader and she never lets me down.  My mom can do anything… cook, garden, can, sew, diagnose car problems, diagnose life problems, fix said problems, heal her sick kids, soothe babies, put a person at ease, perfectly navigate a route she’s only traveled once, swing a hammer, fix a garbage disposal, draw, paint, create, write a story, write a boring grant proposal, clean dog poop, say the right thing in any situation, recognize trees, flowers and plants, plow, mow, drive with a trailer, drive stick…you get the point.   My bro and I (well, more me than him) lucked out in the genetics market: both of our parents are extremely smart and capable…tall too.

Mom is a pioneer woman according to my Dad and she is the anchor that holds  our little family in place through turbulent times .

Oh yes.  She has faults…like a fuse so short that a base jumping, cliff diving adrenaline junkie would think twice about lighting it.   Pride so intense that she will hide a problem until it reaches the point of no return.  And of course, the inability to say no to her very adult children.

None of that matters…because she is my mom. She loves me and accepts me and believes in me without any conditions and I love her crazy, stubborn ass exactly the same way…even if I do wish she would learn that it isn’t weak to ask for help.

Tomorrow we go to the Dr. way before I’m used to being awake, to have a spot of squamous cell carcinoma removed from her hand. It’s localized and I’m sure the procedure will go off without a hitch, but finding out my mom has cancer was not a cool thing to experience.  I’m not ready to make the transition from my mom taking care of me to me taking care of her.  I’ll do it tomorrow, but I expect her to take care of her health…to be out in her garden and in everyone’s business for a long time to come.


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