“My mom is a miracle to me.”


Designer of children’s clothing, in her mid-30s; as a child, lived in an eastern town with her mother and 1 older sister; single, no children.                              

© By Niki Glanz, Posted 3/23/18

I think of myself as being exactly like my mom, but she’s a little reserved, and I’m not at all. She says, “You’re like your father that way.” She’s always taking things in, calmly evaluating them. I admire that evenness. Every day, whether I have an employee or a customer, I’m always thinking, “How can I balance my own needs and desires and those of others?”

My employees can tell you that I have platitudes that they call “Pegisms” from my mother. One is: [stated rapidly] “You know what thought did, don’cha?” Like you’d say, “I thought you said I could have another cupcake.” I was eighteen and I was like, “Mom, I know what you mean, but what is the other half?”

She was like, [stated rapidly] “He thought he’d fart, but he shit.” It means you might want to think that through; clearly you thought you were doing one thing, but you were doing something else. Also, my mom used to say to me, “Close enough for government work”– like you did something half-assed.

If my sister and myself had an issue, my mother would say, “Well, what are you thinking, and what are you thinking? She’s clearly saying this, and you’re clearly saying that. So, why don’t you guys get together?” Or if my mom and I were having a fight, she would say, “If you can talk to me, fine, but if you can’t be rational, then go to your room. Scream in your pillow, or jump up and down but take time to think. Come back when you can talk to me like a person.” I never felt isolated or shamed. And we didn’t have a lot of punishments.

When we were in school my mom would say, “Is that grade the best you can do? Are you happy with that? Then, OK.” I was a reader all through life, so school was important to me. If I got a “B” and wanted help, she hired tutors, and if I was good at something, she was encouraging. It’s a mystery to me how she did it.

If my sister and I needed discipline to do things, my mother made little games. One example: we had a toy room we had to clean. She would give us a number. She’d say, “OK, eight.” You’d go pick up eight things. Then she’d say, “Twenty-one,” and you’d go pick up twenty-one things. That’s also educational: clearly, I’m five and I’m counting to twenty-one. The woman’s a genius! I still use this in life to do the thing you need to do: “OK, I’m going to do this for twenty minutes, then I’m going to take a break.”

There’s one memory that stands out for me. One day I was taking care of my cousin’s kids; they must have been two and three. We were walking to the video store, down the street from my mom’s house, and my mom decided to walk with us. I was in a hurry. I was like, “Come on, girls! Let’s get our movie, get home, and watch our movie.” They stopped and walked up these little, brick stairs. I was like, “No, no. We’ve got to get to the video store!”

My mom was like, “Why are you in a rush? They’re not going to find walking up and down the stairs fascinating for that much longer. Why not let them do it?”

I was like, “Oh my God, you’re right.” It was their day: “Why do I need to control it? If they don’t care, why do I care?”

That’s the thing that I’ve learned from my mother about childhood: you’re the caretaker of the childhood, not necessarily the orchestrator. Their little whims are not unimportant. She taught me there is an organic selfness that children come with, and your job is to let that unfold. Let them be happy, and let them be sad, if they’re sad.

I do think my mother’s relationship with men could have been better. My parents were divorced, and my mother’s parents were divorced; my mother’s still not married, and my grandmother is not married. My sister is actually about to get married, but she’s thirty-eight, and I’m still single. I wish my relationship with men was better, but I wouldn’t blame my mother.

In the future, I hope I can be as good a parent as my mother was. The life she gave me – not just life, but the way that she’s present in my life – is a constant gift. I just saw her on Mother’s Day and blubbered, “You do know you’re my favorite person in the whole world!”



Memories Matter. We often find the way forward by looking back. Thanks for reading!

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Mom, mother, aphorism, leadership, siblings, discipline, punishment, shame, tutor, grades, room clean-up, raising children, patience, parenting, mother’sday