I want to be the type of mother that my mom is. I used to think that she wasn't as tender as all the other moms, that maybe she wasn't as "hands-on" in the TLC department. This is untrue. When I think back to how she helped me realize my little tomboy dreams without batting an eye, it makes me smile.
In sixth grade, she helped me build a water-wheel out of styrofoam cups (don't ask) that took first place in the science fair. In seventh grade, she helped me properly (ok, maybe a wee recklessly) handle epoxy to construct a plexiglass habitat for my egg-laying box turtle (Ms. Esiotrot) that ended up being 3/4 the size of my room. Without her, I would never have known the joys of epoxy (hell, most adults don't even know what it is). She sat by in the kitchen as I knelt by the open door and mixed the two toxic compounds together on a piece of cardboard. She even advised me on what bedding would be best for my tortoise shelter. We decided on red wood chips mixed with mulch. She was the one who made the phone call letting me know that Ms. Esiotrot's egg had been eaten by the stately matron herself or her new tank denizen (yes, she allowed me to have a second tortoise). My dad was even apart of the scheme, driving me to a far-sitting McDonald's parking lot to meet a shady man on a shady but humid summer day to make the furtive reptilian exchange. It may have been a bit more stealth than it needed to be. Sure, it was illegal to sell turtles in the state, but were we really afraid that Fish and Game officials would plan a sting and swoop down on us at any minute?
When I was 21, she went to Railroad Salvage and bought AND installed blue indoor/outdoor carpet in my basement lair. We had her best friend's husband anchor in a sturdy, lockable gunmetal gray basement door to replace the weatherbeaten wooden one. She even played along when I installed an intercom system to keep out adults and communicate with her in the kitchen from my mildew-infested domain...knowing I'd be back upstairs as soon as it got too damp (despite the dehumidifier she provided) and quiet down there.
Of course, these are just some of the projects that my mother has taken on over the years, without complaint. She has more recently proven (with her weeks-long visits and enthusiastic weekend trips to our NYC apartment) that she continues to be the right hand to my left by helping me grow into the type of mother to my son that she was to me.