Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Remember Mama

In some families, sibling rivalry can be a real bother. (See: Cain and Abel.) In ours, it's pretty benign. We've never fought over men or competed in careers. We don't care who makes the most money or even who mom and dad like best at any given time. The sibling rivalry in our family revolves around just one small, yet critical matter: Who can give the gift that makes mom cry.

My sister, with the unfair advantage of incredible talent and generosity, usually wins. But not this year. This year, Mother's Day is mine.

This year, I have a secret weapon:

Once upon a time, Laura Brown was my teacher in an official capacity. She gave me things to read and things to write. She gave me guidance in the kindest of ways, with a gentle nudge or probing question, jotted in the margin of my paper in tiny lavender script. After the semester came to an end, I graduated from student to friend, but Laura continued to teach me. When I carelessly tossed a "funny" comment on my Facebook wall that got a cheap laugh at my mother's expense, Laura was there to gently nudge me again. "Honor your mother," she wrote in a private message."Be grateful that you still have her."

Just in time for Mother's Day, Laura came through for me again. Her new book, Everything That Makes You Mom: A Bouquet of Memories, is her best writing assignment yet. On each page, Laura shares a simple memory of her own mom doing one of a thousand simple mom things: shopping, visiting, playing, caring. Like a good teacher, Laura then offers a selection of writing prompts designed to stir our own mom memories and some space for us to share them. In the end, the gift we give our mother isn't a book, but the knowledge that we have been listening, we have been paying attention, we do remember.

Thank you, Laura, for a beautiful book that will make my mom cry.

And thank you, Mom, for a lifetime of memories that no single book can contain.


Laura Brown said...

You are most welcome. Thanks for adding spice to that Reading and Writing About Food class.

Mom said...

Dear Suz, You certainly did listen, and learn and remember.
You know me better than most and I feel blessed and loved.
I laughed, and cried, and laughed and cried again.
What a perfect gift. I love it and I love you. Mom

Ann Kroeker said...

I'm not surprised Laura is an inspiring writing instructor, as she is surely an inspiring writer and friend. And her gentle nudge to honor your mother reveals her desire for all of us to take the time to remember with respect and gratitude the ways our moms have mothered us well. I think you've got the gift-to-make-mom-cry competition in the bag. Write from your heart and you will rise up and call her blessed.