Lessons From My “Ima”

Its been a while since I wrote about my mother. But let’s get one thing straight, I only called her “Ima” (which is what us hebrews and she-brews do) and I sometimes called her “mummy” when we went to Australia to visit family. Simply because we wanted to blend in with the Dingos and Koalas.

Since its mother’s day soon, I find it fitting to write breifly about her.

As some of you may not know, my mother passed away when I was thirteen after battling breast cancer for 13 years. Don’t grab you tissue box just yet. I know people say that “I have the best mom in the world” just like parents think they have the best children in the world.

Mom: See that dork over there with the velcro sneakers? SOMEBODY'S mom didn't teach them how to tie their shoes properly!

But I really did. I kind of pity those that didn’t have the pleasure to be my mom’s daughter.

So here are some lessons I learned:

How to Blow My Nose

Awesome lesson. My life is difficult, but could you imagine how difficult my life would be if I walked around with boogers falling out of my nose? I know, I cant imagine that either.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I know what your thinking….

what kind of noble lesson is that?! We should all be putting pennies on the cups of homeless people and adopting children from Malawi.

My mom’s point was not to be a flat out ass hole to everyone. But helping too much can burn you out. We often find put ourselves out there with karmic optimism and our good intentions turn to grief. Take care of yourself first before you dispense your good deeds attempting to be a saint. Believe me, good things happen to those that stay put sometimes too.

Education is Important, But Not Really

My mom almost got a PhD. Which means she could have been called “Doctor”. This tends to translate in this day and age  to: “I’m-very-smart-and-scholarly-and-I-charge-300bucks-an-hour-and-look-at-my-Porsche!”.

But guess what?

My mom got knocked up with yours truly. And she never turned in her thesis and she never got to be called Doc. And you know what? I think she wanted it that way. She wanted to just kind of wing it as far as a career. She never pressured me to get “A’s” or be on the honor roll. She just wanted me to be “street smart”. She wanted me to be confident in who I was and not take anyone’s bullshit. You don’t get that by going to Yale (and no offense if you went to Yale. I’m sure you could out-debate me about politics or something smart sounding like that).

How to Tie My Shoe

We practiced with ribbons. Best lesson if you ask me. Could you imagine if I had to walk around the gym with those velcro LA gears like someone stuck in 1988? She saved me a lot of punching from fashionistas.

How to Deal With Bullies

Act like you don’t give a fuck. Simple. Bullies want your fear and attention, so don’t give them what they want. This applies to cyber bullies too which I’m slowly learning to deal with.

Dont Be Afraid To Be Silly

My mom was a downright silly lady. And totally not  afraid of her silliness. There are so many aspects of life that require the utmost seriousness, so why not take some time to be silly every now and then? 

Don’t Become Your Problems

My mom had cancer for a very long time. But she not once let people see that. Sure, she lost he hair and had to go to the hospital often, but she never let herself be the disease. She never complained or talked about (even though she had every right to do so). We all have problems. But we can’t let them become us. I’m not a walking eating disorder and you shouldn’t be a walking sexoholic or whatever your vices are/were. Be yourself. 

Was she not gorgeous? (if you say "no" you will be punched). But who is that ugly alien next to her????

What has your “Ima” taught you?


26 thoughts on “Lessons From My “Ima”

  1. Oh wow, she was gorgeous – and so are you! Alien? Look at those big beautiful eyes! Looks like you are wearing mascara!!
    I hate this time of year because I miss my Mom so much. She taught me to not be so selfish, how to make cornbread, and tomato gravy (yes, all the good southern stuff). There is so much I learned from her that it’s hard to remember it all. But one thing that is so funny is what she said she taught “her girls” (there are 5 of us). In 1992 my Mom won the Oil of Olay looking young for your age contest. She got flown to New York and all this jazzy stuff and she was in Ladies Home Journal with 4 other winners. When they asked her what beauty secrets she gave to her daughters, she said, ” I told them to never go to the store with rollers in their hair” Bwah ha ha ha!! Like she had to tell us not to do that! It was so funny to read. My Mom was the epitome of Southern grace and charm. She reminded me so much of the character Dixie Carter on Designing Women (I still love that show!).
    But I do miss her terribly but am thankful that I had her for a Mother because she was the best Mom (for me 😉 )
    Thanks for the great post about your Mom.

    • Oh wow, you did have a cool mom! How fun that she won that contest! And who knows, my mom let me highlight my hair when I was ten so I probably was wearing mascara!

  2. You and your mom have the same eyes! (Gorgeous dark brown see into the depths of your soul eyes to be precise.)

    Your mom definitely taught you some seriously important lessons. Shoe tying especially. I’m still a little defunct in that area.

    • Actually, the low quality photo grade from the 80’s hides it, but my mom had green eyes. I need to dig up a better photo that shows it. And Ill teach you how to properly shoe tie, it can be dangerous, wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself in the process.

  3. i love seeing pictures of your mom. You are such a mini her! BEAUTIFUL! My mom taught be how to be thrifty. Now I am pretty sure my husband married me because in the end, I will save us money. haha.

  4. The best thing my mom taught me was how to be independent and to realize that there is untapped strength within me. We come from a long line of strong pioneering women, and if I ever have a daughter, I’ll pass that on to her.

    Alien? Really? Dude, even as a baby you’re gorgeous! I’d kill for your eyelashes.

  5. Your mother sounds awesome!

    “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” — so true. I wish my mom believed that herself.

    Some of the best things my mom taught me to do were what not to do. Don’t let other people sap all of your time and energy. Don’t put yourself last. Don’t blame everything on not having money. But my mom taught me a lot of good things too, like how to be a phone charmer, how to brave social situations, and how to make some fucking awesome potato salad. Love for moms!

  6. I hope to teach these same lessons to Summer. I dread the thought of her coming home with hours and hours of homework. Kids don’t get to play much these days. Makes me sad. I want her to be a kid. Thanks for this post Eden. It’s now bookmarked. 🙂

  7. You look so much like her Eden!

    I think my mom has taught me how to be a good mom. I’m not a mom yet, obviously, but I see in her the sacrifices she makes just to make my brother and I happy. That’s true love for sure

  8. Those are great lessons! She sounds like such an amazing person… and yes, she is beautiful! Thank you for sharing these stories and memories. 🙂

    My mom taught me to be more loving. She is the most positive, compassionate person I’ve ever known, and it helps me want to be a better person to others.

  9. Your mom was one smart lady. I only learned to tie my shoes properly when I was in my 40s- not a joke.

    I think that I learned that if you are strong, and smart, you can get through a lot of adversity. This was true through her divorce where she went back to school and then worked full-time. And also through her debilitating disease that slowly took over her life. The fact that she lived to the end without full-time help (when she probably SHOULD have had it) was a testament to her fortitude.

    Thanks for the journey with your mom. I never heard the word “Ima” I thought you were gonna start singing a Black Eyed Peas song!

  10. First of all, you are NOT an ugly alien!!!! NOT at all!!!

    You and your mom are both gorgeous. I love the lessons she taught you. Working with students has shown me that a lot of kids can’t blow their nose or tie their shoes. A little scary.

  11. What a fantastic tribute to your ima!! I like that term. It sounds like she taught you how to be your snarky little self 🙂 I think you know how I feel about my own mom. We would love to adopt you, if Deb hasn’t already 😉

  12. did you get a new cameraaaaa…

    anyways i digress. your mom sounds like such a smart lady. she also makes me think twice about finishing my thesis and just getting myself preggers. being pregnant is probably less painful then writing these last pages.

    your mom is beautiful just like you girl ❤

  13. Blowing your nose is one of life’s MOST important lessons. People who sit there and sniff and dribble are UNACCEPTABLE.

    Your mum just taught me a lesson about my PhD. The world doesn’t go on turning because I’m writing my thesis. I am so freaked out by this writing up phase, and it’s really easy to get self-absorbed and melodramatic about it (becoming your problems, anyone?). Reading about people like your mum, who didn’t have this kind of fearful reverence for the doctorate reminds me to get over myself.

    Ok that was a little serious, but really, it helped. Thanks Eden.

  14. sorry, this is a sad day for you. thanks for the beautiful pictures i’ve never seen them before, they made me cry. your mother was brave and beautiful inside and out. don’t worry, you’ll find a another cooking job soon. anyone would be lucky to have you as their chef.

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