My Mother, The Tube

Today, I wanted to take the occassion to dedicate a slice of cyberspace to my mom.

You might be saying, “Hey, slacker.  Why don’t you make your mother breakfast instead of twiddling on the computer about her?”  Well, slapshot, I would, except Mom’s celebrating her matriarchal accomplishments in London at the moment, along with a chorus of my aunts.  Yeah, that’s how she rolls.

I couldn’t have asked for a better mother, and I’m lucky to have her be such a big part of my life.  She’s endlessly compassionate, truly wise, and a continuing source of pride and inspiration for me.  She’s not beyond lamenting how her two little babies have grown up and don’t seem to need her anymore, but she won’t hestitate to, as my brother put it, tell us when to shape up.  For all that and more, I’m grateful today–and all days–that she’s my mom.

My good friends agree with me that my family is truly ripe for television.  Truth is often more outlandish and more amusing than fiction.  In that vein, I thought I could best illustrate my wonderful mom by describing her in terms of which famous TV moms she reminds me of.

10% Carmela Soprano (The Sopranos, played by Edie Falco)

carmelaThis one works purely on an aesthetic level.  Blonde, pretty, excellent dressers.  Good cooks.  My mom has a bit more sense in her head than Carmela, and more of a backbone.  My mother’s accent isn’t nearly as strong in everyday conversation, and it’s a Long Island twang as opposed to a New Jersey honk (there is a difference), but when something’s irking her, you’ll hear it loud and clear: “WHAAddaayou, FUCKing CRAAAY-zeeee?”

20% Clair Huxtble (The Cosby Show, played by Phylicia Rashad)

clairI included a dash of Mrs. Huxtable not because the relationship between my mom and I resembles the relationship Clair had with her kids; rather, I included her because the way Clair dealt with her husband resembles the way my mom dealt with my father’s shenanigans.  Like Clair, Mom often had one eye on us kids and the other on her husband, completely unaware which was going to cause her more mischief each day.  Most times, Dad won.  She still squares her shoulders Mrs. Huxtable-style when recounting how my dad planned my first birthday party by simply telling her, “Don’t worry, I’ve taken care of it.”  Unbeknownst to her, he had hired Zippy the Chimp (and his handlers) to come to the house and entertain (re: terrify) a room full of toddlers.  Years later, when he was home recovering from an operation, he went out one day for a few hours and returned home to say to my mother, “Guess what I bought!”.  Not every woman could have kept it together had they discovered a red two-seater convertible in the driveway.  I also remember my mother having to hide gumdrops from my father, much the same way Clair hid snacks from Cliff.  Dad was undaunted, even after pulling out dental work in the process of enjoying one.  Mom’s also got the Mrs. Huxtable stare down, but I think Dad taught her that one more than Ms. Rashad did.

25% Jill Taylor (Home Improvement, played by Patricia Richardson)

jill3I devoted a big portion to Jill because I don’t think any TV mom ever more perfectly conveyed the frustration of living in a house filled with men.  Like Jill, the men in my mother’s household were messy, loud, lazy, constantly hungry, and utterly incapable of accomplishing even the simplest household repair.  I liked Jill because she always tried to bring a little femine delicacy to the Taylor den, but she also fit in as one of the boys, too.  Such is the case with my mom, who was incensed that the commentators were not giving the time of possession during this year’s Super Bowl.   Like Jill, Mom came from a big family, and went back to school and started a new career later in life.  I may be making this up, but I seem to recall episodes of Home Improvement where Jill sharpened her claws on some of Brad, Randy, and Mark’s female friends.  While my mom’s never done something like that to my brother and I, she has, on occassion, thanked whatever divine powers are out there that she had sons and not daughters.

45% Bree Van De Kamp Hodge (Desperate Housewives, played by Marcia Cross)

breeThe biggest piece of the pie goes to TV’s reigning homemaker.  Like Bree, Mom is a domestic diva.  Every throw pillow is always in place, the dishwasher never stays full for too long, and jelly is never served straight from the jar.  Consequently, she has almost as many pet peeves as Bree does, and usually provides running commentary of any event we’re at.  To be fair, that’s only because she is truly the hostess with the mostest.   Any party she throws runs on a military timetable; the engagement party she had for my cousin rivaled any operation Bree put together.   She loves running her own business and thoroughly enjoys the work.  Like Bree, Mom is always a great shoulder to lean on, but she’ll spit the truth when she sees it.   She’s got 1950s heart and instict, and her composure is always as smooth and warm as the clothes she just ironed; but beneath the surface is a woman every bit 2009: ambitious, self-sufficient, confident, and proud.

So, here’s to you, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.  You’re every bit as wonderful as these fictional mothers, and then some.  Best of all, you’re real, and I’m lucky enough to be your son.  In the long-running dramedy that is our extended family, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ T


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