Mom’s loving word: No

Mother’s Day is Sunday and all week I’ve been thinking about the best way to spoil and honor my mom. After all, she is the most fabulous woman I know! All week, I’ve been remembering stories of my childhood and all the ways she showed love. But the memories that have made a lasting impression are the memories when my mom said “no.”

No, is not a word we like to hear. As a child we really hate that word. But as I sit here and think, I am determined that I am the individual that I am today because my mom was not afraid to tell me “No.”

Ice cream: I remember hearing the melodic sound of the ice cream truck driving through the neighborhood. Oh how I wanted to purchase a sweet treat from the ice cream truck, but mom said, ‘No!’ But then she opened the freezer and offered a plethora of ice cream and popsicles for me and all my friends.

The first summer my husband and I were married, I remember sitting on our front stoop of our townhouse. We heard the familiar harmonious sound of an ice cream truck in the distance. I told my husband the story of never purchasing ice cream from the ice cream truck. My beloved, reached into his pocket and handed my a dollar bill. A slow smile stretched across my face as I grasped the money and ran down the street with all the other kids. At the age of 22, I fully appreciated the Mickey mouse shaped ice cream treat.

New Dress: When I was 16, I worked at a small woman’s clothing store. I had my eye on a beautiful white dress with a flowered scarf attached. With my employee discount, the cost of that dress would be $50. I begged my mom to let me buy it. She said, “no”. My mom went on to tell me that no 16-year-old girl needs a dress that is not only that expensive, but also dry-clean-only. I was heart sick. I had a job, earned my own money and yet still could not purchase that dress. Even my dear neighbor, Pinky, tried to help in my cause. She paid me $50 to dog sit. My mom still said, “no” to that dress.

Twenty plus years later, as I look through my closet, I chuckle to myself. My mom was right. In my closet there is only one article of clothing over $50, a white dress that is dry-clean-only…my wedding gown.

Art School: Growing up I wanted to be an artist. In high school, all my electives were art classes. Classes such as Anatomy and Physiology and Biology came easy to me. But I wanted to be an artist. My mom said “no”.

I was the first person on either side of the family to have the opportunity to attend college. Growing up my mom would say, “I want you to go to college, get a good paying job, so you don’t have to rely on any man. You need a career where you are always needed. Maybe you should be a nurse or physical therapist.” My mom isn’t a liberal, but a realist. During the recession in the ’80’s my dad was laid off from work and money was tight. My dad took on several other jobs in the interim and eventually was brought back on at work. My mother continued to work in her hair salon and as a crossing guard. Almost daily she would tell me “You never know what is going to happen, you might be the one called to support your family.”

It was my mother who recommended James Madison University. I graduated from JMU with a degree in Biology. Four years later, I graduated from Shenandoah University with a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. The summer after I graduated from Shenandoah, I signed up for more classes. I enrolled in piano lessons, quilting classes, and classes in stained glass. Thanks to mom, I have the best of both worlds. My career as a pharmacist allows me to only work 2 or 3 days a week. And when I’m not at soccer or T-ball games, you will find me quilting, scrap booking, or designing stained glass pieces.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and my parents are coming over for dinner. If the weather is nice, we will take the boat out for a sunset cruise. Perhaps we will hear the melodic sounds of the ice cream boat trolling down the lake. If so, then I will buy my mom an ice cream from the ice cream boat.

I love you mom!

~April

Epilogue: It was too cold and overcast to take Mom on a sunset cruise. We ate cake, cobbler, and ice cream as I read this story to mom. Surrounding her was my husband, my dad, my sister and all 5 grandchildren. Each time I said the words….and mom said….All the grandkids yelled “NO!” It was funny. As I looked up she wiped tears from her eyes.

After reading this post my friend, who I call my “soul sista” sent me a message from Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present time, while we wait for the blessed hope of our great God.”

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