Before Mom passed away but after she began fading out the way most people with a terminal disease do (more about that some other time perhaps), I started a list of things she liked and loved that characterized who she was and what I wanted to remember about her. These are some of the items on that list.
Mom liked making lists.
I think she liked that I inherited that from her.
She liked cutting coupons
She liked saving receipts.
She liked to write on the back of every picture in our photo albums: the names of the people in it, the date it was taken, and where we were at the time, so that we'd always know when we wouldn't have her there to ask.
She liked hiding Kleenex in her purse and her pockets and in every nook and cranny of the car.
When I was a kid, she liked to tell me to "clean up that mess." And when I was a mess, she'd find some of that Kleenex and use it to clean me up.
She liked my dad's cooking.
And, oddly enough, she liked soft tacos and cinnamon crisps from Taco Bell.
She also liked to tell me I'd "dry up and blow away" if I didn't eat what she had set out.
After she saw The Thorn Birds, she always liked Richard Chamberlain... even though she knew he was gay.
She liked Liberace... but probably because he was gay.
She liked the house to be clean and organized and dust-free.
She also liked reminding me how when I was a kid she would go through the vacuum cleaner bag and pick out all my Star Wars figures' little guns that it had sucked up.
She liked to roll her eyes every year when I told her what Dani and I were dressing up as for Halloween.
And she liked writing all her friends she kept in touch with over the years and telling them what Dani and I did for Halloween.
She liked chocolate, but then she gave it up.
Dad and I used to like getting her chocolate for Christmas. She liked to make things complicated for us when it came to buying her presents.
She loved her siblings Mildred, Gerald, and Lillian, and she liked to say she was the one in the family who didn't get any talent.
She liked decorating her house(s), and it was abundantly evident to everyone who visited that this was where her talents were.
Of course, she loved my dad.
She liked also telling him to "knock that off" when he told dirty jokes.
But she liked a particular sketch she saw on the Paul Hogan show so much she literally peed her pants laughing while trying to tell Dad about it after the fact.
She loved her daughter-in-law, the one who sat in the living room content to do nothing more than knit with her. Or needle point. Or whatever it was they did together.
She liked to tell me, "You better be nice to that girl or she's going to leave you." I listened.
And she loved her grandson even though all she knew of him was the grainy ultrasound image of a little peanut.
She loved me.
But she liked to frown when I tried to take a picture of her.
I married a woman just like my mom... and in more ways than that one. And I'm glad I did. I guess that says enough.
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