The Bestest Mommy


If the photo below looks familiar – bed, curtain, vase, mug – there’s a reason for it. That brass-framed queen size bed was the setting for many a breakfast-in-bed growing up in the small town of Northfield, Minnesota.

It was only while at my parents this weekend, flipping through photo albums looking for appropriate Mother’s Day photos, that I noticed the bed as a familiar constant throughout my formative years.

My sister always managed to wedge herself between me and Mom – too cute. Well, not back then it wasn’t!

What would begin under the guise of breakfast for a special occasion would quickly end-up with our nuclear family of four on, or in the bed.

As an added bonus, the brass bed frame doubled as an impromptu jungle gym for my sister, and the hollow tubes a secret safety deposit for cash and jewelry. My sister describes the bed as “possessing some sort of magical powers.” I don’t think she was that far off.

But I digress. This post is supposed to be a (belated) Mother’s Day post for my Mom. “Mom,” “Mommy,” “Maaaaahhhhhh (teenage years!) ,”and rarely, for effect (or affect), “Mo-ther.”

Me and Mom in California pe-baby sister and pre-brass bed

Growing up my sister and I told our Mom she was the Bestest Mommy in the whole wide world. Not sure how it began, though I suspect my sister used it thinking it was a real word and it stuck.

I also believed – and still do – I had the prettiest, most glamorous Mom around. Very Sophia Loren don’t you think (of course she doesn’t think so!)? I loved watching her get ready to go out with my Dad on the rare occasions they left us at home with a sitter.

Other Moms work comfortable shoes and khaki’s but I don’t have a single memory of my Mom wearing anything other than a skirt or dress with heels. Her friends joked that she must wear heels to bed! And I’m dead serious when I tell you she didn’t wear her first pair of jeans until the mid 1990s.

In this photo she was younger than I am now. The original M.I.L.F.

She came to this country in her late twenties from the Middle East, with English as her third (fourth?) language. Not knowing the customs she raised a family first in the Mid-West and then the South. No easy task.

I was born when my parents lived in student housing while my dad worked on his PhD. Being the first-born I had the distinct pleasure of making her a Mom. Even now, when it’s my Birthday she’ll call me with “real-time” updates:

“Right now, X years ago, your Daddy and I were driving to UCLA hospital….”

“Right now, X years ago I was in my 10th hour of labor (yikes!)…”

When I was born she thought I was mad at her. Apparently my journey had been an arduous one and left me rather battle worn. She claims I gave her a dirty look indicating I was not pleased (or as she was convinced, that I didn’t love her!).

My sister was so cute. A teddy bear. She definitely wins the prize for biggest transformation!

I was an active child. One might even say i was overactive, or hyper. According to my Mom, it began in eutero with incessant late night performances of River Dance with her rib cage as the dance floor.

We moved to Minnesota when I was four or five years of age. That’s where my sister was born (I requested her, but that’s another story) and where I spent my formative years.  It was a town with a welcome sign that actually read “cows, colleges and contentment.

Unlike most GenXers my sister and I were not latchkey kids (though it turns out my sister had a secret hankering to be!).  In retrospect we were surprisingly “Leave it to Beaver.”

Dad brought home the “bacon” and Mom”fried it up” (aka managed the money!).  I feel fortunate to have had my Mom at home growing up. It’s a luxury most in my generation cannot afford if they wanted it.

Looking at those photos of breakfasts in the brass bed, I wonder what we were thinking. If I were to take a guess I’d say I was most likely focused on getting the prime spot in the bed and/or eating some of my Mom’s celebratory croissant (I distinctly recall when she went on her cottage cheese and cantaloupe phase – blech, no fun!).

Thanks to my Mom, my sister and I experienced a childhood blissfully unaware of the heartbreak and suffering that awaited us in the real world.  We lived in a safe and warm cocoon where nothing bad could possible happen. A very, very large brass bed. One might even describe it as…magical?

Have always wished I looked more like my Mom! As you can see, the wine habit started young!

Sometimes when I’m at home with my parents and we’re hanging out in the living room (preferably in front of a roaring fire with an open bottle of wine – thanks Dad!), I put my head on my Mom’s tummy. And I not-so-jokingly ask if I can go back in please.

Sadly it’s not to be. But I can climb the stairs to the guest room (“my” room) and crawl into that queen size brass bed, now slightly dented and scratched. And as I drift off to sleep I tell myself I won’t forget to check the frame for forgotten jewels in the morning…

Love you Mommy, you are still the BESTEST

xoxo, Your Girls 

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  • Rebecca

    The bestest post! I LOVED this!!!! The photos are priceless. Your mom is a stunner, but so are you! I’d love to see photo of you and your mom more recently.

    Thank you for transporting me through precious moments of your childhood. xo

    • rebecca, i will work on your request!

  • The Grinning Cat

    What a transformation from that snaggle toothed little kid!  You look so much like your beautiful mother.  Thank you for sharing!  Made me smile big and happy!!!

  • Mar Arslanian

    Yay!!! You took me through a time machine!!!! xoxo M

  • Great post!! love the photos. thanks for the glimpse into your history.

    •  Thanks for taking the time to comment!  Glad you enjoyed!

  • Mslizp

    You could not possibly look more like your mom! Uncanny. Lovely post – thank you

    •  best compliment EVER! thanks so much for reading and posting!

  • Tamar, you look almost exactly like your mom! I swear in the first photo, if I hadn’t known it was vintage, I would have thought she was you! It really cracks me up that you can’t see it!

  • Kathy

    What a beautiful post! LOVE the pictures…XX

  • Ingrid King

    Your mom is beautiful, and you two look so much alike! Wonderful post!

    • awww thanks Ingrid! i think my sister got most of those Mom-genes but good to hear i got some! 🙂

  • Poohny7

    Aw.  Beautiful tribute.  My mom calls me at the time I was born, 9:47am, on my birthday every year.  

    • That’s so sweet don’t ya think? 🙂

  • Marilia Bavaresco

    OMG! Sweet words, great tribute!

  • Such a beautiful post….and a Mothers Day gift that surely necessitated the kleenex box.  ; )  You AND your mom are gorgeous.  …I had totally forgotten you lived in MN.  Such a small blogosphere.
    xo Glogirly

    • Thanks 🙂 I didn’t realize it would be so emotional when i started it! 

  • Keith Phillips

    That’s a beautiful post!  Your wishes must have come true, because I see your Mom in you very clearly.

    • awwwwww thanks Keith! that’s the best compliment ever!

  • Tamar, this is so sweet! And you do look very much like your mom and I think you have that same glamour about you too!

    • awwwww if i have a fraction of it i’m happy 🙂

  • This is a beautiful post! and you look exactly like your mother! both beautiful women! (really, the resemblance is amazing!)

  • Amelia Maijala

    I went to Greenvale Elementary in Northfield and I recall that your mom made fantastic sandwiches. You may not remember, but you shared them with me from time to time.

    What a wonderful tribute to your mother.

    Amy (Swisher) Maijala

    • AMY! That’s crazy town that you found this post! So funny you say that about her sandwiches as I was convinced they traumatized me – I only wanted bologna on white bread with the crust cut off. I had no desire to be different! Thanks for taking the time to comment. How did you find my blog? And where are you these days?

  • Laurence

    Best article, you made me cry. And yes you have the best mommy !!