My mom is so herself. I mean, what you see is what you get with this woman. There are no false pretenses, nothing subtle or hidden–she is who she is. Everything she says, does, wears screams Nancy.
She’s honest, to a fault even. She absolutely believes that the truth is the best policy, under all circumstances. (So don’t ask her if that outfit makes you look fat unless you are indeed prepared to hear the answer.) I’m a pretty honest person myself, about the big things, but I am not above telling my kids we can’t go to the park that’s conveniently located right around the corner from our house because it’s closed. . . for naptime. Now my mom would see this as a teachable moment: kids need to learn to handle disappointment, not be spared the truth even when it’s easier, blah blah blah. And then she would gently reflect their feelings back to them: I can see that you’re feeling very disappointed. It’s hard not to get what we want, isn’t it?
She’s also supersmart (and always beats me and my brother in the adult spelling bee), but she’s patient and anything but arrogant. She pays attention to everything and manages to keep up on the important details of so many lives. She’s a sharp reader and a great writer and one of the few people I’ve allowed to go all out with my entire manuscript. She made countless corrections and suggestions and then, on the very last page, in typical supportive-mom fashion, wrote,”You’re an author, Krissy! I LOVED it!!!!!”
We make fun of her in my family. She’s sort of the easy target, because she does things like lose all her documents on her computer . . . “without touching anything on the keyboard, I swear!” And when she takes pictures, instead of just pushing down the single button, she pushes down the entire camera, inevitably cutting off everyone’s foreheads. So we tease her and sometimes get impatient or roll our eyes, “Mah-ahm,” but we love her and admire her and we’re all proud to say we belong to her.
She’s very well-known in our town, has been a member of City Council for almost twelve years. She’s braver than she looks on the outside too. My brothers and I actually thought she had thin skin because she wants people to like her, but she’s tough. She led the fight in our community to give benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. It was quite a battle too. I’ll never forget those City Council meetings with people angrily thumping their Bibles and shouting, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” (You have to admit, even if you totally disagree with the sentiment, that that’s a pretty funny line.) But she knew what was right and good and she stood tall and fought hard.
We look alike, me and my mom. Except she let her hair go gray in her late twenties and I color mine with great regularity. And we sound alike and mimic each other’s gestures. People who newly meet me often give me a funny look, an I-feel-like-I-already-know-you look and then halfway through our conversation, they’ll interrupt and exclaim, “Oh! You’re Nancy Dietrich’s daughter, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am,” I reply.
And I feel proud.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom.