An Ode to My Quirky Mom

Here's to you, Mom!
Here’s to you, Mom!

I don’t come from one of those Hallmark-y families. When Mother’s Day comes around each year, there are no sappy cards exchanged. In fact, when my brother’s kindergarten class made a “What Moms Do For Us” book, my brother’s page didn’t read “Moms bake us cookies” or “Moms take care of us when we’re sick” Β like all the other kids’ pages did. Oh no. His page read “Moms go on diets then eat chocolate and go off their diets.” Yep. Kids say the darndest things…right?!

Thinking back, nothing about my mom was typical. She was, and is, a free spirit who marches to her own drum. My childhood was quirky and fun and not like anyone else’s. She didn’t drive a minivan, she hated baking cupcakes, and we never once had matchy-matchy mother-daughter dresses. But here are some of the much cooler things I did have as childhood memories with my mom…

  • My mom took us all on an “Owl Prowl” in the dark once when I was in middle school where we all tip-toed through the woods calling screech owls and listening for responses. I’m still pretty convinced the “response calls” we got weren’t from owls…but other weirdos on an owl prowl on the other side of the woods.Β 
  • Speaking of owls, my mom once drove off the road and got her Volvo wagon stuck in a LOT of mud on the side of the road because she thought she saw an owl. My brother was with her (I think he was about seven at the time), and they flagged down a school bus for a ride home so he wouldn’t miss his piano lesson. My dad dug her car out later as if it was a totally normal thing to have happen.
  • My mom loved to can jams and jellies. It consumed a lot of hours in the summer and yielded some delicious results, including some wild grape jam that won best in show at the Durham Fair. However, she once picked some “mystery berries” and canned them immediately so they wouldn’t spoil. She wasn’t sure what they were, but was worried the fruit wouldn’t keep, so she left the jam on the counter with a note to warn our family NOT to eat the jam until she’d taken the berries to her naturalist friend to confirm that they weren’t poisonous.
  • In her never-ending quest for the next best wild berry for jam, my mom made my brother and I pick roadside berries with her more than a few times, including elderberries, autumn olives, wild grapes, and pin cherries.
  • When I was four, my mom taught me the planets in order. Why? I have no idea, but I still remember it to this day (and I still include Pluto in there, just because).
  • My mom made up elaborate stories about my teddy bears. These stories were really, really involved, and included the bears having huge wild parties in my room when I was at school and hitching rides on the back of a crow named Madeline who lived in our backyard.
  • When I was in upper elementary school, my mom went through a phase where she made us eat dinner by candlelight, in silence, while listening to chanting monks on the radio.
  • We often drove to Florida and stopped in North Carolina to see my dad’s parents on the way down. My mom, a night person through and through, always took the late shift of the drive. She’d fly down I-95 while listening to ABBA and singing along.
  • When I left for college as a naive 17-year-old, my mother gave me her best piece of advice as I headed into life on my own: “The world is full of a$sholes.” Mom…you were correct. πŸ™‚

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


23 thoughts on “An Ode to My Quirky Mom

  1. Having Susan as an older sister was very interesting too! I will never get over a her love for UFO’s witches and Misses Stinsky the ghost in the attic.


    1. I am with you!! I am seeing the logic of those monks now…it’s seeming less crazy than it did when I was 10!!


  2. Best daughter ever to write your childhood memories in such a wonderful perspective. I think any mother would love a gift of her daughters appreciative words! Happy mothers day to you too Sarah! I wish I could see the blog your boys will write about their adventurous Quirky mother Sarah! -Mel


    1. Thanks!! πŸ™‚ Hahahahaha- I can only HOPE my boys will have good things to say someday when they have kids…Happy Mother’s Day!!


  3. ha ha ha! Sarah! Now we know where you and the kiddos get their fun loving happy sense of humor!!! It’s in the genes!! Love all of your childhood stories- they had me laughing and smiling! Happy Happy Mother’s Day to you girls!!


    1. Haaaa!!! LOVE IT! Yes, now that you mention it, I remember my mom flipping out about how annoying those badges were. My dad, oddly enough, was a the sewer at our house- made all my halloween costumes!


    1. It is really good advice. I will probably tell my kids the same thing when they go off to college, but add “…and don’t you DARE be one of them!!” hahahah


    1. HAHA! I didn’t even think it was strange at the time, until one day as an adult I said “remember when you were worried you’d made deadly jam?!” hahahahah πŸ™‚


  4. Oh my gosh I am laughing so hard about the chanting monks right now! This was such a fun post. Your mom definitely sound quirky but she also gave you lots of unique childhood memories πŸ™‚


    1. I can see the logic in the “eat without talking and listen to the monks” now that I have two kids!!! hahahahaha. And yes…her advice was true.


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