She tells me I can do anything I put my mind to. She has been telling me this for many years. Somewhere along the line I decided to believe her.
Jan is my mother. She is middle-aged-plus some years. She has spent most of her life on the fit end of the fat-fit continuum. She shares not one of my bad habits.
I remember believing when I was little that my mom was a Movie Star on vacation. I am not sure why, except she has always had this bit of star quality about her. Her mother, my grandmother Dorothy, saw it first perhaps — getting my mom into voice, piano and dance lessons when she was a young girl growing up in Indianapolis. Somewhere in the family archives there is a photograph of Darlyn (my mother’s middle name and the name she was known by) on stage in a short flouncy little dress and Shirley Temple ringlets. If I had that photo you would see it here. And I would probably be in Big Trouble and have to Go To My Room/Farm.
My mom has always loved music and is a fabulous singer although we don’t get to hear it much. Somewhere also in the family archives are recordings she made as a teenager. She is a fan of all types of music, Dixieland Jazz a favorite. She is also an accomplished ballroom dancer and for years she made a point to be out dancing a couple nights a week.
I don’t favor my mom physically. Her heritage is Mediterranean French. I favor my father’s side, Anglo/Scot/Irish/German. She is small boned, slender, and has a light olive complexion. I am larger-boned, slender only from the hip down (thanks to Mo), and have my father’s ruddy complexion. Although lucky for me, I got her Good Skin gene.
I did not get her genes of Self-Discipline, Healthy Eating, Good Housekeeping, or Pretty Hands. But I did get her Mystery Fiction gene, Coffee gene, Jewelry gene, and Lancome gene. From her, I also got my love for music and my desire to study piano (the desire that disappeared in a flash when I discovered there was a thing called Horse, and sold my beautiful baby grand to be able to afford my first horse mistake).
The reason my mom is one of my favorite sources of inspiration is that she is a survivor. For most of my childhood and adolescence, she was a single working mom, mostly on her own raising four kids — who all turned out to be reasonably productive and responsible people, btw. If not, each in their own right, just a tad bit wackadoo.
She survived bumps in the road — maybe stumbled a bit here and there, but she always landed on her feet. She survived difficult marriages and divorces. When financial times got tough, she worked second jobs. We kids always had plenty, and her abiding example that we could have a good life in spite of difficulties if we were willing to work for it.
She survived going back to college during her 40’s and earned her AA degree, all the while working and raising four teenagers.
She survived the long illness and passing of my sister, her youngest daughter and the mother of her only grandchildren — this with grace and strength that awes and uplifts me to this day.
She survives still. She manages her life and her health and her home, on her own. She loves reading good mystery novels, taking walks, tending my little sister’s resting place.
Like me, she cherishes her independence and enjoys her privacy as well as her freedom. She gets my sense of humor. She gets my contentment with solitude. We share passions for old movies and mystery fiction. She encourages me in my writing, and she will be my Number One reader and critic when I have a mystery baked well enough for her to read.
I know she is my Number One Fan. I hope she knows I am her Number One Fan. I am so very proud of her.
Love you Mom!