I am a happy anomaly; a quirky mother, book lover, gardener and now a new writer. I was born an old soul, according to my mother and spent most of my childhood buried in a book.If there is nothing to read. I have been known to desperately scan the backs of cereal boxes or phone books.
I once casually mentioned, to no one in particular, that I was simply an ordinary mum, when the diningroom fell silent. “No, I am sorry, Mum, but you are definitely not ordinary; you are the furthest thing from a normal mother”, remarked one quick-witted daughter. Everyone broke out laughing including that daughter but I am still not sure if I was insulted or praised that day.
However, there are benefits to having an English Major for a mother. When you are little, you always have lots of books in the house and someone willing to read them to you. And when you are older one of the best family chores is to relax and read to a little person. In addition, you cannot help but become remarkably articulate, with an extensive vocabulary.Words just soak into your brain like osmosis. My kids were often annoyed when they had to stop and explain words they used with their friends.”Oh”, I’d soothe, “extricate” is a very small, common word; I am sure it just slipped their minds.”
The formal language required to write essays came as second nature to my kids, while their peers struggled not to use slang or the new texting lingo.Although sometimes the boys did not share my enthusiasm when I helped edit their essays or became too excited over beautiful Shakespearian quotes that I had discovered for them , “DAD!”, bellowed my oldest one evening as he huddled miserably over the keyboard,”She’s really getting into this stuff again!”
Once as I described the exploits of our marauding, masked raccoons, my brother-in-law raised one eyebrow in my oldest daughter’s direction. She grinned and retorted, ” Yup, that’s par for the course. Now you know how we have been brought up!”
When I become upset, my vocabulary increases exponentially. At one meal, visibly distraught over a few comments, I actually stood up to respond. Once again the room fell silent. Another one daughter spoke up, “Wow, mum, that was really impressive!”.
My youngest is the most hilarious example of the perils facing a child whose mother is an English Major; everyone jokes that she was a min me from the time she was two-years old.
The school bus was not scheduled to pull up for another twenty minutes but six-year old Rebecca, my youngest child, was pulling the kitchen door open, hoping for some free time before school. As the door open, I looked up.
Before I could comment,Alison , one of her many older sisters, whipped around and remarked,
”Rebecca, did you try to do your hair again? The part’s crooked. Come over here and I will fix it for you.”
Claire entered the kitchen at the same time and looked her little sister up and down,
” Mum couldn’t have picked those clothes for you to wear. The top does not match your sweater. You’ll have to change or keep the sweater buttoned up all day.”
Hearing all the commotion, Mary yelled from the bathroom,“Rebecca, you forgot to brush your teeth again!”
Rebecca suddenly threw her arms up into the air and huffed out in exasperation,
“All right, all right everybody. Quit trying to dismember me.”