Most of the time I have trouble coming up with column topics. It?s not that I don?t have tons of ideas, it?s that I?m never sure that my random life musings are worth putting into print. Last week, though, I found myself with a surplus of ?good ideas? when Mama Humber came to visit.
Page after page could be written about the goofy and quirky things that make her unique and wonderful: her ridiculous catchphrases (a breathy ?yeeee-haw? during a lull in conversation), her laugh (always big, always loud, always full of life) and her dramatic story-telling mannerisms (much like mine?my Chicago friends would understand so much more about me if they met my mother).
She also does this thing I call ?spider voice.? I have an irrational fear of creepy-crawly things, so Mom has squished and flushed many a spider in our 19 years together.
Sometimes, as she?s smashing that sucker, she?ll ?speak for the spider? using a scratchy, baby-ish voice. She?ll say something like, ?I?m sorry I scared you, I?m just a lil? spider. I was just walkin? on the walls and lookin? at your room?.?
The voice is so cute and adorable! I instantly feel some strange form of compassion for the spider and feel bad for ordering its death.
When she visited this week, she tried to use the same voice on a centipede she found?didn?t work. I will never empathize with centipedes. Ever. They are terrifying, and that?s that.
She also does all of the typical ?mommy? things: makes sure I have plenty of vegetables in the fridge, replaces the water filter that needed to be switched three months ago (oops), brags about me to our hair and nail ladies?.
But then there are the things she does that go way beyond the protocol for a typical ?good mother.? These are the things that make my mom my favorite human in the world?seriously.
She probably did all of this stuff when I lived at home, but I didn?t realize its value until she came to take care of me last week.
She is always looking out for me. While I was away at work for a few hours, she was scrubbing my floors, cleaning my fridge, buying my groceries, organizing my cabinets and de-cluttering my closet. I didn?t ask her to do any of those tasks, but she realized they were the things that get overlooked when a mommy isn?t around.
She is always selfless. Mom hadn?t been in Omaha for a week when she realized I needed her help in Chicago. I?m sure there was plenty of settling in she wanted to do in Nebraska, but she dropped whatever she was working on, put her entire new life on hold, and came to me when I needed her.
Granted, this time around she was coming to care for an injured Abi, but this kind of selfless behavior has always been evident in her role as my mother.
She is always empathetic, comforting and tenderhearted. Mom and I have had some pretty gritty conversations about life recently, and I have never felt judged or belittled when I?m honest with her about elements of my life that I might not be proud of.
As I struggle through navigating my own path, she listens to everything I have to say and gives an encouraging, thoughtful response that introduces different ideas without making me feel guilty for not ?being there? yet.
This column actually began as the note I wanted to give her as she headed back to Omaha. But, as everyone has probably realized by now, my fantastical dreams tend to surpass what I can realistically achieve. I ran out of time and she left empty-handed.
This isn?t the type of thing I would typically share with the public, but I really want my mom to know how much I value her and cherish our time together.
I can?t express how much I adore my mother, but my favorite compliments I?ve ever received are the ones that associate me with my mom, whether in looks, action or speech.
I mean it when I say that even if she weren?t my mom, I would still go out of my way to be friends with her.
I love you, Mommy.