Long, slender fingers with perfectly manicured ruby-red nails rest on the ivory keys. They press down gently and the beautiful music, “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, spills out into the air. I smile at her, and her blue eyes twinkle as she tosses her golden brown hair from her face. I snuggle next to her on the bench, trying to understand the language of the black notes on the page. She smells squeaky clean like Ivory soap. She sighs and stands up, her red-checkered apron still wrapped around her middle. “Play ‘Clair de Lune’,” my sister Diane requests, another of Mom’s favorites. I nod in agreement. Mom squeezes me, and I squeeze back. She’s perfectly perfect. She’s my mom – guide, friend, and hero.
My mom devoured books like a stegosaurus devours plants! My dad always said he just couldn’t keep Mom in books… she read so fast! Every Saturday I walked with my two sisters and Mom to the public library on Wadsworth Avenue. She helped me choose mysteries and animal stories before she made her own choices. We strolled home weighted down with armfuls of goodies! Mom read every Nancy Drew book with me. When she finished her books, she read Reader’s Digest or Life magazine. Then she was on to her crossword puzzles in the newspaper or reading a book to one of us. When mom was reading, she pushed her glasses on the top of her head and practically buried her nose in the book. I often wondered how she managed to finish a new book almost every day. I still wish I could do that! My mom was a READER, and that is probably why I am a reader, too!
I consider myself to be a lucky person. After all, I had a special mom. She loved her daughters so much. Every night she would listen to us say our prayers. She tucked us in, kissed us on our forehead, and whispered, “Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Then we all giggled. The next day I would get a kiss on the cheek as I scooted out the door for school, and when I opened my schoolbag, there was a note from Mom, telling me that she was thinking of me and waiting for me to get home so we could have lunch and read together (Yes, we actually got to come home for lunch!). I felt loved every single minute of the day.
Mom taught me to be responsible and made sure my homework was always completed. She said she would help us through elementary school (which went through grade 6), but that after that, we were on our own. When that time came, we were all ready to be independent. We had established good homework and study habits, we were readers, and we all loved poetry. Mom had us choose and memorize a poem each week. Then we recited it for the entire family – a performance. I still know many poems by heart and love to read and write poetry – I owe that to my mom, too!
Who could have had a better role model? I loved and respected my mother. She was smart, loving, and generous with her time. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Although sometimes I wonder if I could do better – Mom was a hard act to follow – I know that I am still trying to be more like my mom. She was something else!