Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.

A happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Yesterday Ellis and I spent three hours in Oak Park celebrating Ho-Ho in all of her mothering glory. It was probably the best lunch session we have had since she moved here two years ago as she avoided my buttons and I didn’t nag her. It’s afternoons like yesterday that make this all worthwhile. Granted, I did take a communication break for three days because she decided to go off of her Copaxone without consulting her neurologist or family…but that was Monday and today is Saturday.

Ho-Ho and me circa 1981 in Chicago
Ho-Ho and EK in Oak Park  – May 2011

In the spirit of nostalgia (and possibly because I am a bit of a sadist) I decided to take a little trip down memory lane. Join me, won’t you? (via blackberry photos)

Ho-Ho’s senior photo – Carl Sandburg HS

T-bone and Ho-Ho in their hippie glory. Peace,perms and whirlwind romances. (c. 1978)
September 1979. A little accident for the newly married, nearly 21 year old Ho-Ho.
Orland Park , IL c. 1985 – I am wearing an amazing dress, I know. What you don’t know is that I continued to wear this dress co after the wedding even with my red socks and alternating casts. What you also don’t know is that Ho-Ho experienced her first real exacerbation during my Aunt Tory’s wedding and we didn’t know what was going on. She was lovely, no? Mullet, yes. But you can’t even tell she is sick. I don’t know how she did it.
Hands-Across-America – May 1986. I saw an ad for HAA and told Ho-Ho and Tommy D we should do it. Fast forward a few months and my bleeding-heart parents are organizers for the Orland Park, IL link in the human chain. 
Chicago 1986 – This creepy photo was taken by Tommy D by spreading Vaseline all over his fancy Canon lens (before the days of Photoshop). We submitted it to a mother’s day photo/essay contest and won! Ho-Ho got a pearl necklace out of the deal and I got her “short-long” and bigger than life sized flesh-colored glasses documented in the Chicago Tribune.
In 1987, Ho-Ho made me the most gorgeous  She-Ra Princess of Power costume you could imagine. I remember she did most of the sewing from bed as she was getting sicker and sicker from MS…though I don’t know if she had yet to be diagnosed. Her condition clearly didn’t put a damper on her flair for accessories and gooooold.
I am not sure when this photo was taken. It was definitely at a street fair in Chicago and she was definitely wearing a tube top (her signature frock). Ho-Ho got  pretty sick in fourth grade and was in and out of the hospital until eighth grade. This photo stayed stuck to my mirror while she was back and forth from Chicago and pretty much epitomizes her spirit and passion for over sized necklaces.
1997 – High school graduation party. Madison, WI. Ho-Ho and Tommy-D met up to celebrate me finishing high school. Or me moving away (probably the latter). She was teaching high school and preparing to move to NM to enjoy better weather and less pain. And a life without an angsty teenager racking up her credit card bill.

Since 1997, Ho-Ho has dealt with a number of challenges posed by MS and a pain-in-the-ass daughter. After over a decade of flying solo in the Southwest, she moved back to IL because like me, she is a sadist (I think it is genetic) and wanted to be closer to family and cold weather. I deal with her double belts and crazy questions and she tolerates my incessant nagging and moodiness. Sometimes I forget about all of the times before the MS began to dominate our lives; I occasionally need to remind myself of the She-Ra costumes and flouncy dresses.Yesterday I talked to her old neurologist (from when she was first diagnosed with MS) and he told me, “your mother is a good woman. Appreciate her. ” And I do. Even if she looks like a pirate.

6 thoughts on “Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.

  1. Beautiful tribute. Made me miss her, too.
    I was, however, disappointed that there are no photos in tube tops. And I thought you won pearl earrings… I remember that essay.

    Happy first Mother’s Day to you, too.
    Love you.

  2. Annie dear,
    My memories of first coming into the Earley clan have so many drenched with your mom. I remember her like the first photos you posted, during the early to mid 80’s. She was the model mother & woman I wanted to emulate. She was educated, passionate, and worldly. Involved in the current causes of the day, she was ahead of her time, living green and making strides in home-school care. She was COOL! She lived on the NORTHSIDE! Our birthdays were close, so I kind of felt like I was somewhat like her, but she was golden and I was clay. She was a goddess to me. I will always see her that way. I see a lot of her independent, strong personality and comfortableness with in you.
    May God watch over you as you settle into the role of mother, and grace for the years ahead of you. Much love on your first Mother’s Day!! Hope to see you and the family in June/July.
    Love, Aunt Jeanie

  3. Katie – they were earrings! For some reason I thought it was a necklace but that is actually from my grandma.

    Aunt Jeanie – thank you for such a kind note. I love to hear stores about my mom…especially her mischievous moments. Maybe you can give me the goods when you are in Chicago! xoxoxo

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  5. Annie I never saw this til now. Beautiful tribute. That neurologist is right, your mom is a beautiful person and it pains me so much that this has happened to her. The good part for her and bad for you is that she doesn’t realize it happened. (My mom tells me all the time she doesn’t have a memory problem because she doesn’t remember she has one) The worst part for everyone is that this ‘bad’ person is so very, very real to her. So sad for you all.

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