Sunday, 8 May 2011


Happy Mother’s Day!

I am fortunate to have the most incredible mom ever.  She’s smart, pretty, kind hearted and funny. Sometimes she’s funny without necessarily meaning to be. When I started this blog, my mother had to realize that my complete lack of boundaries would drag her into the inappropriate personal disclosure party, too. Sorry mom, what’s yours, is also mine. And what’s mine, is now on the interweb. Everyone, meet my mother.

My mom, like a lot of moms in the 1970’s, wore those polyester slacks with the elastic waistbands. I have recently discovered for myself how awesome these pants are. They are comfortable and washable and show cat hair pretty easily. Oh well. Anyway, so I used to wait until my mom was at the kitchen sink, elbow deep in dishes and dish suds, and I would come up behind her and pull her pants down to her ankles, and run away giggling. She’d curse and laugh, telling me I was an evil child. Then one day, in retaliation, she chased me around inside our house with a dead bird.

I thought that was a bit of overkill.

I guess she’d bottled up a lot of anger over the pants-pull-down business.

This other time, when my mom came to visit me here in Toronto, we were outside my old condo building, which is right in the downtown core. We were passing by a couple of suspicious looking teens, obviously smoking pot, when my mom wrinkled her nose and said, quite clearly and loudly, “I smell skunk”. I responded, “Yes you do, mom. Yes, you do”.

 I encouraged her to walk a bit faster.

Then there was this time we were on our way home from a lovely mother-daughter trip to England. The plane had taken off and were settled in our seats when my mother, wrinkling her nose (it’s a coincidence, she doesn’t do that all the time), said, “Do you smell that?”  I sniffed and said “Smell what”. Mom looked disgusted and sniffed the air. “There’s an awful smell…. It smells… it smells like… like vomit”. I honestly couldn’t smell anything, and told her so. She looked at me, and her face relaxed a bit. “Oh, it’s your breath, dear”, she said and went back to her book.

More recently, we were all at my in-laws for a holiday get-together. My brother in law had received the DVDs of Animal Planet and was excited to watch it. We were sitting in the kitchen when he asked us all if we wanted to go and watch the Humpback Whale segment of Animal Planet. We politely declined, but my mother was quiet and looked troubled. After a minute or so, she asked, “Why would they call a humpbacked whale a sexual predator”. I made her a needlepoint pencil case as a memento.

My mom also paid for over a decade of piano lessons, drove me to Winnipeg for swimming lessons, bought me the Barbie Dream Cottage, typed my term papers, loaned me money so I could live on my own when I was in university, and taught me to never underestimate the value of plastic containers. She instilled in me a great love of reading, praised my successes and soothed my teenaged angst. 

She laid out treasure hunts on birthdays and Christmas. She told me to sit up straight, to enunciate when I sing and to complain less (maybe not the advice I wanted at the time, but exactly the truth!). She saw every performance of every school play I was in. She wouldn’t let me wear a t-shirt that said “Damn I’m Good” when I was 10, she didn’t pretend to like my “banana coloured” hair when I was 20, but did pretend to like my paintings when I was 4, which was much more important. 

She went back to school in her 40s and became head librarian for our town’s community library. She helped my dad struggle with years of cancer treatments and was by his side when he died.  She volunteers, is in at least 2 book clubs as well as a writing group. Her weaknesses are cats, bridge mixture and wool stores. She refuses to read books that are not set in English villages.

I love her like crazy!


  1. Your mother is kind and giving. She was a mother that you looked forward to being home when visiting from school, because it usually meant some treats waiting for us. She has made an impact on so many people in the community through her years at the library. - and yes, the first drawing is a little overkill, makes me think of "mommy dearest" instead of Dear Mother. - Happy Mother's Day Mickey!! :)

  2. I love Mother's Day. And I love being a mother. I'm very glad you came into this world, Ellen, especially for the dead bird part, but for all the rest. You may not realize it, but your story lists many, many of your own talents, and it makes me happy that you are such a marvellous daughter!

  3. What a lucky gal to have such a lovely mom. :)

  4. Roger Martini8 May 2011 at 16:03

    Geez, my mom was like being parented by a drunken hobo compared to yours. Just kidding mom; you were sober a lot of the time.

    The local butcher went after my kids with a severed goose head once. We all found it hilarious.

  5. My mom would have saved the severed goose heads for craft day at the library. Not one word a lie.

  6. Such lovely memories. Thank you for sharing. And all I gave my mom for Mother's Day was a Hallmark greeting card and advice on olive oil.

  7. An awesome ode ;-)
    Thanks for sharing

  8. Wonderful tribute.