Today is my mother’s birthday! In honor of the old bird, I want to share a few Elaine-isms that may explain why I am the way I am…
“Well… Cami…” – these words were said with one eye brow cocked clear up to her hairline and to this day can send chills up my spine. I didn’t hear it often, but when I really messed up, she would say “Well… Cami…” in her best deep, Barry White voice and I knew I was busted. It would, and still does, stop me in my tracks.
“Ashley Camille Harwood!” – For most children, hearing your whole name is bad news. For my mom, it means I’ve said something outrageous that she thinks is funny but knows, as a parent, she should scold me for it. This happens a lot.
“Let’s plan a trip to…” – We have lived and traveled all over the world, but it’s never enough for this woman. She is constantly calling me with a new adventure, a weekend plan, and bucket list additions. Next up, Colorado! After that, there is no telling.
“Let me tell you one more thing…” – It never fails. We can talk on the phone for an hour, but the second I try to hang up she has one more thing to tell me. This, of course, turns into a 15 minute conversation and sparks 1,000 other topics that we can laugh about. So a five minute check-in call, turns into a two hour conversation. In all fairness, it takes a while to solve the world’s problems.
Diet Mt. Dew – I’m not saying she is addicted, I’m just saying she would tap it in her veins if she could and may not make it to tomorrow without a cold one.
“Well, you know…” – This phrase can take you anywhere. It’s Elaine’s way of throwing a little grapevine into the convo. Whenever she says it I get a picture of her in 20 years sitting under the dryer at the beauty parlor and gossiping with the little old biddies from church.
“I just met the nicest man…” – Good glory! This woman can talk to a brick wall, and I swear to you, she could get information from it. Every gas station attendant, grocery store cashier, patients in the waiting room, passengers on a plane – by the end of the conversation she knows where they grew up, what their goals in life are, how long they’ve been married, why they are divorced, when their children’s birthdays are… She works faster than the FBI.
“You don’t know what ___ means? Ugh, I have failed you as a mom.” – My mother is extremely accomplished. She earned her Masters in Nursing from Carolina with a 4.0 the same year I graduated with my bachelors (not with a 4.0). Then she graduated from Vanderbilt with the same gpa, becoming one of the first Doctors of Nursing Practice in the world. She is a sponge, she soaks up facts and figures with ease… unlike her daughter. She is also a wordsmith. In a normal conversation she will throw out a $10 word that I have never heard before. I’ve told her for years that she just makes words up, but the truth is, I think she relaxes at night by reading the dictionary while sipping on her cold Diet Mt Dew.
Swearing – my entire childhood, I can’t remember my mother saying a harsh word. She’s sarcastic and would lovingly pick on friends and family, but never in malice. But the older she gets, the more she sounds like a sailor on leave. It still catches me off guard, and makes me giggle like a school girl. It’s just so funny to hear her use the “naughty words”. She won’t like this one, but she can’t argue it either. I see a “Well… Cami…” coming.
For all of these reasons, and so many more, I love you Mom. I hope you have a very Merry Birthday and feel the love and gratitude of a daughter who adores you and all your Elaine-ism’s!