I'm terrible at remembering to take pictures with an actual camera (thus all the not-so-great iphone shots you all get the pleasure of seeing on this blog) and even worse at taking the time to upload those pictures to my computer. I recently emptied two different camera cards onto our computer because I was starting to have to delete pictures so I could take new ones. I found these:
It might go without saying, but I didn't take these pictures. My mother did. She was her own actor, producer, and director of photography for what I have dubbed "The Nanny Show: with special guest star Lila!" Based on Lila's outfit and the sweatiness that seems to be stylin' my child's hair, I assume these were taken sometime last summer when my mom was watching Lila. I love them. They perfectly capture who my mom is as well as Lila's faces that I think will continue to be the natural reactions to her Nanny's shenanigans. One of my favorite things about my mom is that she doesn't take herself too seriously. As someone who DOES take herself too seriously, my mom's willingness to ham it up - no matter the size of the audience - is something I aspire to embrace as a mom.
As a tribute to my mom (and perhaps to make up for posting these pictures which she may or may not be happy about), I would like to share with you a list of random memories of my mom from my childhood:
1. 6th grade, my mom was driving my friends and me to volleyball practice. I was mortified (and alright, a bit amused) when she pulled her billy-bob teeth out of her purse (yes, they were always on hand in case of emergency) and popped them in her mouth. She then proceeded to put on a show for my friends and the people in the cars next to us. I remember hunkering down in my seat in embarrassment, all the while secretly enjoying the fact that my friends had collapsed in fits of giggles as 12-year-olds are prone to do.
2. Sometime in upper elementary school, my mom brought my sister and me and a few of our friends to the swimming pool. We begged her to buy us a treat at the pool snack shop. She kept refusing until finally she said she would buy us each a treat if we jumped off the diving board and yelled "I'm a dork!" as loud as we could. She even offered to go first. We all stood along the edge of the pool and giggled with our hands over our mouths, watching as she jumped off, splayed her feet out and yelled "I'm a dork!" I can't remember if any of us did it, but I do remember my friend saying, "Your mom is so cool!"
3. When we were little (5 or 6 maybe?) we would beg my mom to do SuperMom, this character she had created whose goal was to meet every need of her children in record time. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and yelling out things like "I need some ketchup! I need a fork!" while my mom ran around the kitchen dramatically slamming drawers, throwing things around, opening the refrigerator, and tossing things to the table. We thought it was brilliant.
4. For one of our many elaborate birthday parties (the backwards party, maybe?), my mom came downstairs wearing a rainbow mow-hawk wig and overall shorts (yes, I said overall shorts) on backwards with a banana in the pocket. 'Nough said.
5. The first time Eric came over to our house for dinner when we were dating, my mom brought out her Book of Inappropriate Pictures. (It's just what it sounds like: photos of people's butt cracks, things hanging out of people's noses, people with pit stains, my mom and her friends standing in front of naked statues, etc.) I'm not sure what Eric thought, but that wasn't the most memorable part of the evening. The most memorable part was when my mom "zoobied" him. What does that mean? It's when she gets really close to your ear and says "zoobie, zoobie, zoobie, zoobie" into it. Kids love it. Prospective husbands may be a little wigged out. I know. She's a total weirdo. He must have really wanted to marry me if that didn't scare him off!
6. I have a memory - the time and location I can't place, but I must have been pretty young - of being in the car at night with just my mom and sister. Jessica and I spotted a search light out the car window and asked our mom what the light was. That query resulted in an indulgent hunt for the source of the light. Now that I'm older, I know what my mom must have known: a search light is usually no more than a marketing ploy for attention from a car dealership or the like. She must have known that, but I think she sensed that the hunt would be worth it even if the result would be disappointing. She was right, because as an adult I have no memory of where the light was coming from. All I remember is the excitement, the mystery, the earnestness of the search. My hazy nostalgic memory is of two wide-eyed kids staring out the window, making imaginative guesses as to the source of this mysterious night. And I remember having a sense that my mom was allowing the creation of that moment - she was setting aside any agenda of getting wherever we were going for the opportunity for adventure. She was rewarding our curiosity. She was telling us, showing us, what really mattered to her. Us.
I hope I have the opportunity to do things like these for my kids. Scratch that. I know I will have the opportunity. I hope I have the presence of mind, the discernment to recognize, the patience and perspective to set aside my plans and agenda to do things like these for my kids. And in the moments when I don't have any of those things, I'll just send them over to Nanny's house.