Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mom Made Me a Writer

I’m loving the Mom theme going on this week, so I hope you all don’t mind if I wax poetic, too. First, though, I’m going to tell you a horrible story. 

It all started on a dark and stormy night…  
(just kidding, Melanie!).

No, it was actually bright and sunny outside, but I was inside a lecture hall where I’d just finished giving a very thorough and brilliant answer to my professor over a rather thorny issue. He paused, considered me carefully, and then uttered these words: 

“Someone trained you well.”

 All twenty something years of me was mortally offended. I had given that answer. I knew the material. I had blood, sweated and teared to get it right.

How Dare He.

But do you know what? Looking back, that professor might have been a jerk, but in so many ways,

He Was Right. 

Who I am, I owe in large part to the people who raised and nurtured me: my wonderful dad, my fabulously creative sister, teachers, friends, neighbors, grandparents, and Mom.

I won’t go into details, but because of my mom’s health, there was a large chunk of my growing up years where she wasn’t able to do typical mom things. She never helped out at school, she was never on the PTA or Welcome Wagon committees, she never led a Girl Scout troop.

But here are a few things my mom was able to do:

  • When my sister and I were little, she gathered us into her big bed and told us amazing stories, even when her eyes were too weak to stay open.
  • She read to us, and she read to herself, and she filled our home with books (doesn’t every house have at least one bookcase in every room?)
  • She shared her rich vocabulary with us from the moment we were born.
  • She dreamed and wasn’t embarrassed to share all the wonderful ‘what ifs’ in her life.
  • She had an outrageous memory for odd facts and interesting tidbits, and stuffed our brains full of them (can’t all five year olds tell you that many annelids are hermaphroditic? I could).
  • She held late night scrabble marathons with us when my dad was away on business - complete with a huge pan of peanut butter cookies. Want the recipe? They’re delicious, and better yet, no eggs, so why not just eat the dough!
Mom’s Peanut Butter Scrabble Cookies

3 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 C shortening, margarine or butter
1 C peanut butter
½ C corn syrup
2 Tbs milk (maybe a smidge more)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients. Blend in the shortening and peanut butter. Add the corn syrup and milk. Either roll the dough into balls, press with the back of a fork and bake for 8 minutes, Or roll out all the dough in a greased jelly roll pan and bake for 15+ minutes until light brown. Cut into squares and eat while playing Scrabble.

  • She had many hobbies: sewing, reading, gardening, reading, embroidery, reading, genealogy, reading, which taught us to be well rounded.
  • She edited my high school papers with as much rigor as she would a graduate student and taught me how to see my own strengths and weaknesses.
  • She always encouraged my writing by talking over ideas, reading my stuff, applauding, consoling, and more than a few times, typing my papers into the wee hours of the night so I could sleep.
  • She loved, deeply and beautifully and simply, and still does.
Thanks, Mom. I may have never had a college writing course, but you trained me well.



  1. I love this mother tribute we got going on here too. :)

    You're mom sounds amazing. It is interesting how the little things moms do have such a big impact on how children turn out.

    I definitely have to try those scrabble cookies.

  2. This is great! What a wonderful mom you've got.

    Now I might have to do a post about my mom too...

  3. Beautiful. I love this. It's amazing to me how much our moms make us into who we are. The thought also scares me, for my children's sake.


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