Friday, April 1, 2016

'A' is for Mom. No, really

Once upon a time, I blogged regularly. Then I got bored with it (like I do pretty much everything else in my life) and blogging became a hit-and-miss thing for me.

I'm participating in the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge to help me once again find my groove.

April 1 is the letter "A," and I can't think of a better way to kick of the blog challenge month than talking about Anita, my mom. 

Anita is a-maz-ing. (That's worth two points, right?)
Anita & her baby
sister, Angeline

She grew up in rural Nebraska, a middle child of farming parents, and her siblings names are Arlan, Arlis, Allard, Arvid, Angeline and Alan. (That's six more points, right?) 

She and my dad, whose name does NOT start with "A," celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary in January. Together they have four daughters. Our names all start with "K," and I'm the youngest (because when you finally reach perfection there's no sense pushing your luck. Am I right?) :D 

Anyway, throughout most of my childhood, Anita (Mom) worked for an ophthalmologist (an eye specialist). You know those cliches about moms warning their children not to run with sharp objects because they'll put their eye out? 

My sisters and I lived the dream, man. 

Don't run with a pencil. You'll put your eye out.

Stay away from bottle rockets. You'll put your eye out.

Don't get your face too close to that dog. He'll bite you and put your eye out.

If we could carry it, pet it, walk on it, drive it, eat it, dance with it, play with it or sleep with it, she could find a way to worry about how it would put our eyes out. (Okay, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but I do remember getting an extraordinarily large number of warnings about potential vision-loss scenarios.)
Mom & Dad share a moment in the tiny
trailer in which they started their
married life.

Anita (Mom) is a now retired nurse. She waited until my sisters and I were older to go back to school to get her nursing degree.

One of my favorite memories of growing up happened as she was attending college. I was a sophomore in high school, the only child still living full time at home, and very preoccupied with making sure the clothes I wore met the latest fashion standards. 

There was this one button-up oversized shirt (because that was all the rage in 19whenever) that I found at the mall and immediately fell in love with. It was white with black cartoon patches with the words "Kool Kat" stamped on the breast and a mini-checkerboard collar. 
Anita, the nurse

Describing it now makes me cringe a little. It made my mom cringe, too, the day we found it while back-to-school shopping. 

"That's definitely not something I would wear," she told me at the J.C. Penney's checkout. 

I didn't expect she would. After all, she generally opts for fabric with color. 

So imagine my surprise when I caught her wearing it to class a few months later.

"What are you wearing? I thought you didn't like that shirt?" I asked her.

"I changed my mind. It's kind of cute," she said. 

I knew she'd come around, but I remember wondering if I'd have to spring for some new clothes for myself. I mean, I couldn't let it get out that my mom and I were sharing shirts. That's just not cool for a teenager.

Mom & Dad
After earning her degree, Anita worked as a pediatric nurse for about two decades before she and my dad decided to kick back at home in the summer and spend their winters in Arizona. (Another A, another point.)

Anita is an ANGEL (Another A. Oops. Now I've lost track of points. Wait. Do we even keep score?)

She has spent the past several months caring for my dad while he's struggled with a few health issues, including a brush with cancer.

She is patient (for the most part) and kind. She loves a good laugh and can kick just about anyone's butt in a game of Canasta. 

That's Anita, my mom. And she gets an A in my book. 

* * *

Kathryn Harris is an award-winning journalist and author of the contemporary novel "The Long Road to Heaven." 


Alex Daw said...

I like anyone who like canasta. Go Anita! Enjoy your A to Z challenge and getting your blogging groove back Alex from
Family Tree Frog

Lissa Johnston said...

Wow your mom (and your post) definitely earned an A+ today. I missed the memo on how points are allotted, so I'll just concede this one and wait for my chance - maybe on S or L day. Consider yourself warned LOL.