because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

My Mother Was Hot Stuff

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pink&yellow
My mom & I circa 1970.

My mom was hot stuff when I was little.

She was pretty and had straight teeth.

She wore pink hoop earrings and wore floppy hats.

She did cartwheels with the girls who lived in the white house across the street.

My mother is in nearly all of my earliest childhood memories. She encouraged me to paint, explore calligraphy, and use pipe cleaners to make frogs and ladybugs. She loved when I sang and danced and rode horses and did backflips off the diving board. 

When I was sick, my mother brought the black-and-white television into my bedroom along with a little bell, which she told me to ring if I needed anything. On those miserable days, I watched My Three Sons and The Don Ho Show until my mother emerged with green medicine and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup served on a swirly green and blue plastic tray.

One day, I didn’t want to be my mother’s twin anymore.

Pink and yellow were not my colors.

I remember shouting and slamming doors: the tears.

I saw my mother throw her hands up, exhausted, not knowing what else to do.

I felt powerful then. Driving her to pain and chaos was fun.

Now that I have a teenager in the house, I want to tell my mother, I’m sorry. Because I see how precious it is, that time when our children are young. And what a gift it is, to let a mother hold on to the little things for another day, another year.

Because it hurts when our children reject our cuddles.

Because it was cruel to play with her heart.

Even when I didn’t give her any credit, my mother has remained steadfast, guiding me with an invisible hand.

She still is.

I suspect she always will be.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Hey mom, you have two good hands. And from the looks of this photo, you knew how to style your own hair. Do you think you could have done something with mine? Seriously. Also, if you still have that hat, can I have borrow it? xoxoRASJ

Tell me something you remember about your mother.

tweet me @rasjacobson

73 thoughts on “My Mother Was Hot Stuff

  1. No one who’s seen you in your Lilly Pulitzer dress is going to assume you came from ugly stock! Mom rocked that McMillan and Wife era – Susan Saint James look in that floppy hat.

    1. Is that what it is, 1point? I’m totally going to Google that right now!

      1. Susan Saint James was a sassy one. She was the brains behind McMillan.

  2. Such a beautiful tribute to your mom, renée. I enjoy you.

    1. Thank you, Sandra. I’m enjoying you, too. IYKWIM. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend.

  3. The things that have become most meaningful to me are not the things I remember about my mother (I think she hung the moon!), but the things others share with me about her. She has been gone for seven years now, and my heart leaps when friends and family share memories of her. When we were in Paris last fall my cousin told me I was just like her, which was the greatest compliment I’ve ever received. A friend recently posted something on Facebook about her gumbo, and it made my day.

    Wait, what was the question? Thanks for giving me pause to think about my mom. 🙂

    1. I love how much you admired your mother. (“She hung the moon!” Wow!) My mother and I have battled, no doubt. But I think (I hope) the war is over. I hope. I’m not surprised to learn your mother was so fabulous. Apples don’t fall from pear trees, you know.

  4. Superb.
    You are both Fabulous! :))) Xxxx

    1. Thank you. And coming over to see you now. I’ve been wondering how you have been faring over the last days.

  5. Awww, sweet. I apologized to my parents for the entire time period between when I was 19 and 24. Oh, the horror. The horror. I know someday my little boys won’t let me snuggle with them. 🙁 Thanks for reminding me to cherish the time (and also to wish my mother a happy mother’s day)!

    1. Hi Rivki! I think my apologies need to extend between age 8-44. Seriously. But it takes two, if you know what I mean. I think we’ve both figured out a bunch of things. May your boys give you snuggles for many years. Tech still gives me one when I least expect it. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. What a wonderful tribute to your mom. I love how perspective can go full circle with a little team assist from life.

    1. Yeah, TechSupport is my best teacher. Meanwhile, I think I just beat my mother down. Like plum wore her out. Not nice. I’m glad we don’t do that anymore. Or at least much less. Or at least not yet this year. 😉

      1. LMAO! I hear ya. Poor moms.

        1. I wasn’t the easiest kid. Seriously.

          1. Neither was I (at least not by mom’s standards once I hit the boy crazy years… Guys and me have always got along extremely well, much to my single mom’s paranoia & dismay.)

          2. Um, ditto. Even now. I’m still a little flirty. Hubby doesn’t seem to mind as long as I keep my groove thang on the dance floor. If you know what I mean.

          3. Once a flirt… LOL! I’m very glad my guy is not the jealous type. Then again, fortunately for him, neither am I. 😉 Without trust there’s not really much point in being together.

  7. Loving the hair (yours, of course:)). What a great tribute. And a rock star mom.

    1. Hi Kay! Thanks for your kind words. You know, about my mom. And my hair. 😉

  8. Loved your sweet tribute to your mom. And the photo is adorable. Your hair was cute! I suffered with a Dorothy Hamill haircut throughout most of my childhood.

    1. I cannot speak of the Dorothy Hamill haircut. Because I, too, suffered. But you should NEVER, ever allow a curly haired girl to have a Dorothy. Ever. Those people at Shear Ego should have said no. Because I had a freaking unintentional bob for years. I feel your pain. I really do. At least you still have your diaries. 😉

  9. Wrote a little blog about 4-weeks ago about Mom and my maternal ancestry. She and Dad spent some 15-20 years researching and compiling our family tree, going as far back as the early 1700’s on her side, from the Waldensians of Lyon, France…outside of Turin, Italy…then up to Charlottenburg, Germany (Prussia) before arriving in Texas. And with those many, many intriguing discussions coupled with a lifetime of warm, welcoming, mega-caring love….I learned where I am blessed and get my own gregarious, fun-loving, energetic social side.

    Great Mother’s Day tribute and post Renee! No surprise where you get your beauty!

    1. Hello Professor: So nice of you to show up this morning. And it is early for you. What in the heck are you doing up so early? We can trace our ancestry back pretty far as well. One of my cousins has this project going on ancestry.com and it’s ballooned into something rather incredible. Truly. I’ve been to Turin and Lyon. Both very beautiful parts of Europe. Very romantic. I guess you picked up your edge in Germany, eh? 😉 Enjoy your weekend with your family.

      1. Hah! Edge? Is that what they call it? But honestly, you’re spot-on! The passion/romance from French-blood, dominance (with ultra-respect of course!) from my Dad’s German side, yes. You’re so perceptive. 😉

        1. If by “perceptive” you mean, smart as well as hot, I will accept your compliment. 😉

          1. LOL! Compliment given and compliment well received and deserved!

          2. Meanwhile, I LOVED your latest post! I really was dancing around in the kitchen. 😉

          3. I love it! Don’t you just ‘lose it’ with that build-up from the 5:25 mark through the 6:40-50ish mark? I do! It makes everything on my body and IN my body move! LOL

  10. Her kindness. One day in church, a young girl (10 or 11) played a solo organ piece. The poor dear didn’t have the strength to press the keys down properly, so all we heard was a mumbled song. After the service, the girl stood at the front so people could talk to her. Way too many people walked right past her, and the girl’s eyes started to fill with tears. My mom stopped, bent down and told her what a wonderful job she did and she hoped we’d hear more of her songs very soon. That was over 35 years ago, but it’s stuck with me and helped me respond to people differently. Wow, thanks for letting me share – that one got me all misty-eyed again. Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Oh oh oh! That is a beautiful story, and if that epitomizes your mother, well… wow, you got a good one. I’ll bet you anything that girl remembers that moment. Those are the moments that stick with you. Thank you for sharing that moment. Have a wonderful weekend with the people you love.

  11. I knew your mother very well during those early years when you were little. She adored you and loved and celebrated your every success and quirk, and I am sure she still does. And, yes, for those years, I guess she would have been considered hot. I can also tell you she was very creative and a good cook. (She and I planned, cooked and served a luncheon for your Aunt Sondra when she got engaged. It went off beautifully.)) Never underestimate a mother.

    1. My mom is the most amazing cook. In writing this post, I had a loooooong part about my mother’s cooking prowess.That woman can pull something thing stiff out of the freezer and turn it into a masterpiece. And fast. I have learned a lot from her in the culinary department, but I still rely on her… and I really need to write some of this information down…because I still have to call her to remember the marinade she uses on her roast. And how long I’m supposed to keep it in the oven. She also knows how to present a beautiful table. I’ve no doubt that any event you two orchestrated together went off without a hitch.

  12. Your mom WAS hot stuff. And so is her daughter, IYKWIM. 😉

    Lovely tribute to your mom and here’s to getting perspective in your relationship. Thanks for sharing, and happy mother’s day to you!!

    1. Misty! Thanks for bopping by! And a happy weekend to you, too. I suppose that husband of yours will be showering you with all kinds of attention and gifts — again. Sheesh. Some girls have all the luck. 😉

  13. Dear Daughter Renee (Renz),

    I am overwhelmed about your latest post. I must have read it at least six times so far. Wow! I shed tears of appreciation while reading such a lovely blog. I think I always wanted something from you in writing.

    Yes, I am so proud of your accomplishments. Thanks for giving me a little credit. It feels so GOOD.

    Mothers and daughters have a special bond. We grow up and realize how lucky we are to have had a good upbringing. As we mature we love our children more and more. I was blessed to have a wonderful daughter and wonderful son. I have watched you both grow to becomes wonderful parents. That is the best gift a mom could want in her lifetime.

    I aways loved this photo of us. It’s neat what you recall. I have dozens of visions too! I will always be there for you and so will Dad. Life is full of happenings. Some really good and some not so good. But in the grand scheme of things it’s all worth it.

    Thank you for this beautiful piece for Mother’s Day.

    Love Mom

    1. Dear Moo: I am well aware that I’ve never written about you. We have a complicated relationship, and it hasn’t always been easy for us, the way it is between some mothers and daughters. I’m glad we are talking and laughing and enjoying each other now. I’ll talk to you on Sunday! (I can’t believe you are teaching today! Whaaaaaaaat?!) xoRASJ

  14. I remember my mother canning fruits and vegetables from our garden in the summer and fall for the winter months. She also made dill pickles, which were my favorites. She spend hours with the pressure-cooker, making tomato sauce for spaghetti, canning green beans, making jams and jellies, canning peaches and pears. I can see her sitting on the stool in the kitchen tending to her duties, wearing her apron, peeling tomatoes that she’d blanched on boiling water. It’s something I’ll always remember, even if my other memories of her are not so good.

    1. Maire: Your memories remind me of Peg’s post this morning. If you haven’t sen it, you must read it. http://pegoleg.com/2013/05/09/i-have-my-mothers-hands/ If you don’t know Ms. Peggy, you should. She wrote here about her shoplifting memory for her #SoWrong moment. She’s brilliant. Kind of like you. I’m glad you have some good memories of your mother. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve been able to find some beautiful ones, too.

      1. Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

  15. Not to sound elitist, but I don’t think anyone can ever, truly appreciate their mothers until they walk a couple of weary miles in their mommy shoes.

    Your mom was hot – love the matching outfits! Happy Mother’s Day, Renee.

    1. I don’t think that sounds elitist. Was that the word you mean to use? I think it’s just truth. I don’t think any of us can really understand another person’s experience until we are in it. You know I LOVED your piece about your mother yesterday! I started to writte about my mother’s hands — our hands are exactly the same size. Not pretty. Utilitarian hands. But I found the photo and I ended up going somewhere else with it. Meanwhile, I also forgot (until JUST NOW!) that I have a little something from you for my mother. Crap! I already sent her mother’s day present. I could have totally stuck it inside. Maybe I’ll hold onto it for winter. It is kind of holiday-ish. WIll you remind me. You know, it’s not like you have much going on. LOL. 😉 Happy Mother’s Day, Peggy!

      1. Elitist in the sense of being smugly exclusionary of those who are NOT mothers. I’m trying to be sensitive to the fact that being childless, while a choice for many, is a source of great pain for others.

        I forgot about your pin! Just give it to your mom for no reason – wouldn’t that be a nice surprise to get in the mail? Happy belated day to you!

        1. Obviously I did too! I suck so hard! D’oh! Maybe I will do a just because thing. Why not?

  16. you were adorable, now quit giving your mother trouble– I realized after my kids starting growing up what a beast of a kid I was sometimes

    1. Right? They are truly the best teachers. Happy Morher’s Day!

  17. What a wonderful picture and post. It’s clear to see the resemblance between you and your Mom. She passed the beauty down. You enjoy Mother’s Day as well and tell TS that he HAS TO give you a big hug. 🙂

    1. Tech already shared his doughnut with me and gave me a few smooches. He also ditched me in the Thruway rest-stop, but he gave me a tulip, so… I’m good. As always, you’re filled with kind words. I hope you and your wife have a lovely day.

  18. Renee, so glad I took the time to read your touching tribute to your Mom and all the thoughtful comments–it feels like a little gift I gave myself.
    I got a little teary reading what your Mom wrote.
    My mother is still force-feeding me (Italian) at age almost-ninety-seven!
    Lots of fond memories and lucky to still have her.
    Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who nurture and love you, even when you’re a handful. Almost forgot–my Mom fixed my hair into a “Little Lulu” style she called hot dog curls, topped off with short, uneven bangs. Lovely.

    1. Hi Erm! Sheesh, I haven’t been over to visit in a while! Methinks it’s time to fix that. I’m glad my wee post made you think of your mother. I can imagine you with you Little Lulu curls! So sweet! Happy Morher’s Day!

  19. You’re both gorgeous. My mom did that stuff when I was sick too. I love the 70s.

    1. The 70s were the best, no doubt. No fear. Our parents were clueless and we were fearless. 😉

  20. It definitely took becoming an adult before I could appreciate all my mother did for me. What a lovely post!

    1. That’s it exactly. My appreciation has grown over the last few years, as I finally kind of maybe understand where my mother was coming from. A little. Which is much better than I ever did before. Happy Mother’s Day!

  21. You look just like your mama. So I think that also makes *you* hot.

    My mom always made our birthdays special. Like, it felt like a holiday. Sweet notes. Breakfasts with pancakes in the shapes of our favorite things (dinosaurs for me!) Even today, she’ll call at 7:35, the time I was born, on my birthday and tell me about the day I was born.

    What an awesome tribute to your mom.

    1. I love that your mother still calls you on your birthday — at the time of your birth. Good thing you weren’t born at 4 AM. 😉

  22. Your mother rocked the 70’s look! Your matching outfits said it all and she did style your hair, it is awesome (even if you question the style).

    This was a lovely piece, your memory of your mother and your relationship precious. It was nice to come in and read your tribute and then also see the exchange between you.

    1. Hi Val! My relationship with my mother is a growing thing. It’s gotten much better over the last few years. Which is a good thing. I’d say better late than never, right? Happy Mother’s Day from one mother to another mother! If you know what I mean. 😉

  23. Such a sweet post. I love the thought of your momma cartwheeling down the street. 🙂 My mom is spunky, stubborn and loving, and makes the world’s best Indian food.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I loved your interview with your mother and shared it on Facebook. She must be so proud of all of you! Enjoy your day, ladybug!

  24. My mom is also HOT! At 75, she still is. 🙂

    1. That’s awesome. So I assume you got those genes, yes?

  25. As my 13 year old daughter casts her disapproving glance at me daily, I keep pleading with my mother to tell me I was not as bad.

    1. I know I was tough. Stay the course, momma. Hopefully, eventually, she’ll come around and realize you are really cool. Or at least understand what you were trying to do.

  26. A classmate of mine died when we were 16. A few weeks later, my mother was driving by their house and she stopped, rang the bell and introduced herself to the girl’s mother. She ended up sitting with her for a long time, listening and looking at years and years worth of photos. Momma told me about this much later, and said she was compelled to stop because she felt so bad, so much compassion for the woman. I still think it’s the bravest thing ever, to have gone to a grieving stranger to offer support, not knowing how that will be received.

    But more, I feel a warmth and deep personal gratitude for the gesture. Because I understand that the reason Momma grieved so for that other mother is because of how much she loved me.

    1. Your mother sounds like the epitome of my idea of a mother — which isn’t always good because, wow, those are big shoes to fill and super high expectations. But kindness obviously came as second nature to your mom. And apples don’t fall from pear trees, ya know? Happy Morher’s Day.

  27. I was dressed like my sister for years. When we lived together after college, we would accidentally wear the same outfits! So embarrassing….
    I think rebellion is a normal part of growing up as long as it stays within respectful boundaries. I had it pretty easy with my two. If I had a third, he/she probably would have been Hell On Wheels!
    Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Rebellion. Um, yes. We should have that conversation sometime. Seriously, now that I have your phone number it’ll be amazing if you can ever manage to get any writing done at all! 😉 Happy Mother’s Day, Soooooz. To you and your whole clan.

      1. Thanks Renee! Call me anytime!
        Kinda behind on this end. Wait. That doesn’t sound right. 🙂

        1. I love your end. And all your parts. And I just sent you and email. Look for it because sometimes it goes into SPAM because of my links.

          1. Thanks Renee! Got it…
            My end is hanging in there…. wait.

  28. So she was – hot stuff – your Mum (aka Mom) that is.
    As are you.
    That’s (not just) according to a UK mate from whom you may may hear in the near future in your capacity as education expert.
    Him: “Gosh, she’s hot! Is everyone you know online as hot as that?”
    Naturally I replied in the affirmative.

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