This is a picture of my grandmother, my mother and I. My grandmother is 97 years-old and as you can tell from the spark in her eye, she is a firecracker. Lately, she is causing us some worry because she insists on living on her own. She is independent, stubborn, resourceful and very loving. She has created many happy memories for me and her other 9 grandchildren. I think a lot of what my mother learned about being a mother, she learned from my grandmother.
This is my mother before she married my dad. My mom is the one who looks like she is 12 years-old and too young to be in Vegas with her girlfriends. She has always looked younger than her years. When I was growing up I don’t think my mom ever weighed more than 110 pounds soaking wet.
In her late 20’s my mom met and married my dad. They started their family right away, with 3 kids born 17 months apart. I don’t know how she did it. She says there was a time when my older brother, my younger sister and I were in diapers at the same time! Eight years after my sister was born my dad said he wanted another boy. My mother agreed and 9 months later my younger brother was born. I don’t know how she did that! (Well, I do know how they did that, I just don’t like to think about it.)
When I was growing up my mother was in constant motion. Like many women of her day, she was a stay-at-home mom. She made it look effortless. On our birthdays she organized parties for us and would invite the entire neighborhood.
We didn’t have bounce houses, clowns or magicians. We had my mom who would organize the games.
She was a soccer mom before there were soccer moms.
My mother didn’t just support my brother’s in their sports, she also supported me and my acting ambitions. Here she is at one of my play productions, standing by while I sign autographs.
My mom wore many hats, including a barber hat.
Here she is in her laundress hat.
She rarely complained about her many household tasks, except when it came to do laundry. I didn’t understand why she disliked doing laundry for a family of 6. Now that I have my own family and my own endless pile of laundry, I understand. But, at least I have a clothes dryer. Our family didn’t buy a clothes dryer until I was almost 13 years-old!
Something else happened when I was around 13 years-old, I suddenly knew everything there was to know about life. Even though I still didn’t know how to do my own laundry, cook my own meals, or even pack my own school lunch, I knew more than anyone in my family, including my mother. Especially my mother. I would never stay home and raise children. I would work in show business, I would become a writer, or maybe even a lawyer. Thanks in part to my mom’s love and support, I have had a turn doing all those things. But wouldn’t you know it? I have also become a mom. Like my mom, I have two boys and two girls. Life has played a joke on me. But my mom isn’t laughing. She is still here, supporting me, loving me and taking care of our family. It’s something she learned from my grandmother, and something I hope I have learned from both of them. So, to my grandmother, and my mother…thank you and Happy Mother’s Day!