23 Great Memories With My Mom…
The LORD has blessed my Mom and I to develop a great friendship over the years, especially since I have become an adult and Christ-follower. Here’s looking back at some great memories with her:
1. My Mom and I often hung out in the Loop (downtown Chicago) when I was a kid, and so we usually walked to different places. I remember her reminding me to “keep up with her” as we walked, for she liked to go at a fast pace. So I always tried to keep pace with her, usually making a game out of it in my own mind. I was always so proud when she would comment, “Wow, M.J. You’re really moving fast today!”
2. Speaking of being in the city, I remember playfully hitting my Mom’s arm every time we passed by Wacker (whack-her) Drive. She was a good sport and laughed just as much the hundredth time I did it as she did the first time. I guess I was already starting to make puns twenty years ago! 🙂
3. My Mom also instilled in me a life-long love of the arts, esp. live classical music at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Ravinia. I really enjoyed “The Phantom of the Opera” with her in the early 90s (though I dozed off a bit!).
4. My Mom always made time to spend with me, and we often went to Starbucks together at Plaza Del Prado in Glenview during the summer, getting Frappuccino’s and these delicious little lemon loaf pastries. YUM!
5. I remember cruising around with my Mom in her cute little red Mazda Miata convertible in the early 90s and feeling especially proud when she let me open up the roof all by myself.
6. My Mom introduced me to the fantastic music of her childhood, golden oldies rock ‘n roll from the 50s & 60s. We would listen to Dick Biondi on “Oldies 104.3.” I still know the words to almost all the pop songs from that era.
7. My Mom was always thinking of ways to show me that she loved me, and I remember getting heartfelt cards and notes from her all the time in her distinctive half cursive/half print handwriting. She made sure that I knew how important I was (and still am) to her. Thanks Mom!
8. My Mom and I had so much fun together, often getting a burger & fries together at Johnny Rockets downtown in Chicago while listening to oldies music and sitting right up front at the counter. So GOOD!
9. It always filled me with encouragement and confidence when my Mom gushed over me as she introduced me to her friends. My Mom was proud to have me as her son, and she showed it constantly.
10. Both of my parents worked at our family trucking business, so I would often come down to “the office” during the summer. While I enjoyed watching t.v. reruns of classic shows like Adam West’s “Batman” (KA-POW!) in my Dad’s office, I loved having lunch and conversations with my Mom in her’s.
11. I will never forget getting caught in a tropical storm with my Mom in Florida. It came up suddenly and the wind was blowing so strong we could barely walk (I was about 12 and the wind actually picked me up a few times). I could sense that my Mom was scared, but she never panicked or became hysterical. We had to take shelter in a small garage, but we saw the storm getting worse and realized we couldn’t wait any longer or we would be sorry. So we walked back to the hotel, fighting the terrible wind and rain. It was terrifying, but we stuck together and God brought us through the storm.
12. My Mom was always at every one of my sporting events (so was my Dad), whether it was soccer, baseball, basketball, or cross-country. I remember always looking for her and my Dad whenever I played a game. It always pumped me up so much to see them in the stands.
13. My Mom taught me from the get-go that all people are equally important and valuable, regardless of how much money they have or what they look like on the outside. For example, she would often talk with homeless people in Chicago, treating them as human beings & setting a great example for me.
14. I have fond memories of a three week, 6,000 mile driving vacation during the summer of 1988 with my parents in our cherry red Dodge Caravan. We visited Mount Rushmore, “Custer’s Last Stand” in Montana, Yellowstone National Park, Lake Tahoe, & San Francisco. My Mom would always make sure I took my Dramamine when my stomach got “squirrely” from motion sickness, and we listened to Linda Rondstadt and Smokey Robinson tapes for hours (two of my Mom’s favorites); I still love that music to this day!
15. I went through a brief phase during my senior year in high school when I went to tanning salons twice a week. Though I looked nice and bronze, my Mom was VERY CONCERNED that I would eventually get skin cancer due to my fare complexion. She shared this with me numerous times in loving ways (as well as telling me when the 25 year old son of a friend of hers had recently died from skin cancer due to tanning salon use), and to this day I credit her with influencing me to stop tanning.
16. My Mom is the reason I write thank-you notes to those who bless me. She always stressed the importance of doing this as I was growing up, and though I often huffed and puffed while writing them as a kid, the practice has stuck with me into adulthood. Consider this a thank-you note to YOU, Mom! J
17. Though it aggravated me at the time, I fondly remember going shopping with my Mom at the “Dress Barn” in Niles and “Chernin’s Shoes” in Morton Grove. It felt like my Mom was in the dressing room for HOURS, and this was before IPods, cell phones, and portable video games! But I look back at these trips as good bonding times with my Mom, as well as when my sense of fashion and eye for color coordination were instilled (she would always ask my opinion of her outfit each time she came out of the dressing room).
18. My Mom’s favorite candy is “Good ‘N Plenty,” and I remember her teaching me the candy’s song that used to play in a t.v. commercial when she was a kid. “Charlie says, ‘Love my Good ‘N Plenty.’ Charlie says, when he rings the bell. Charlie says, ‘Love my Good ‘n Plenty, don’t know any other candy that I love so well!'” I haven’t found many other people who enjoy that candy, but my Mom and I definitely still do!
19. My Mom has always been an extremely thoughtful and generous gift-giver. I bet her love language is “gifts,” because she has taught me how much joy someone can get from sharing with others. One day when I was 8 years old, each student was supposed to bring a special treat for another student in class. Well, my assigned classmate forgot to bring me a dessert, so I was pleased to eat & enjoy the treat I had brought for him! Later my Mom asked me how it went, and after I told her she sat me down and explained the importance of sharing, even if the other person can’t reciprocate the kindness. I’ve never forgotten that lesson!
20. My first time rollerblading: My Mom got us some sweet gear and we began to skate through the Loop on a warm summer day. In Grant Park we came to a STEEP downhill section—Mom went first to show me how. After about two seconds I was going insanely fast and must have had a terrified look on my face because my Mom screamed, “Just jump in the grass–JUMP IN THE GRASS!” Well, I didn’t jump in the grass and I hit a cement wall full speed (like that dinky little glorified eraser they called a “heel brake” was going to do much good!). I was shaken up (but neither injured nor stirred), and my Mom comforted me as I cried. She let me walk the rest of the way, patiently skated next to me, and returned my gear to the store soon after!
21. My Mom constantly affirmed in me my God-given gifts, from intelligence & kindness to athletic ability & potential. She saw great things in me that I could have never seen in myself growing up, and her belief in me has given me hope and strength over the years to never give up and always keep trying in all areas of life.
22. I really don’t consider myself a funny person, but I could always make my Mom laugh (or maybe I should say, she always generously laughed at my attempts at humor!). We’ve had many gut-busting laughing fits over the years, and a person can’t help but feel good when my Mom laughs so hard she can’t breathe!
23. I am still amazed at the ways that my Mom has blessed my family and I since our children have been born: countless hours babysitting, generously purchasing a myriad of baby supplies, proudly displaying her grandchildren’s pictures at home and at work, and always welcoming the kids’ noise and “bounciness” into her home. She’s the best (and one of the youngest!) Grandmothers ever!
So, thanks for being my Mom! I wouldn’t trade you for anyone in the world. The LORD has blessed us with many
great memories together, and may He bless us with many more both on earth and in heaven forever…