You don’t need us to tell you what a beautiful woman our Mom-Mom was. As children, we found her beauty to be unfathomable. It was beyond what we later grew to recognize was her honest, true physical beauty- to us, Mom-Mom was dazzling, spectacular. One night, Mom-Mom was dressed for a night on the town, and gazing at her in rapture, my sister Marla said “Oh, Mom-Mom, you look beautiful. You are even prettier then Miss Piggy!”
We also knew how hard she worked for her beauty, although anyone with eyes could see she didn’t need to. She kept her nails beautifully polished, choosing her color carefully from the large selection she kept in her fridge. Her accessories were gorgeous. She moisturized her skin without fail every night. She had her carefully coiffed hair styled once a week, and ensured it’s upkeep with many, many, many millions of sprays of Aqua Net. Our childhood goal was to be taller then Mom-Mom- first passing the top of her head, then needing to grow a few more inches to clear the top of her hair! Mom-Mom may not have been overly concerned with her carbon footprint, but the woman was hot!
Of course, it’s a good thing she did take such care with her appearance, because Mom-Mom was not the type that could just dash to the store in some shmatta and get back home unseen. Mom-Mom could not get five feet from her door without running into a regular customer from Rite Aid, a friend of down the street, someone from the salon. And after they greeted her with enthusiasm, they would turn to us and say “Your grandmom is a wonderful lady. And isn’t her skin amazing? Not one wrinkle!”
Saturday nights meant sleepovers at Mom-Moms. Our parents would drop us off, and after we would harangue Mom-Mom for this, that, and the other things, it would be time for bed. We would all sleep in her gigantic bed- Mom-Mom all the way to the right, Marla in the middle, and me banished to the farthest end of the bed possible because I kicked in my sleep. Our cousin Laurie joined us so many of those nights, and the four of us girls would fit nicely in the bed. We would watch all of the NBC Saturday night line up, but Golden Girls was our favorite! Marla and I didn’t always get the jokes, but Mom-Mom would crack up at every rude thing Sophia said!
The next morning, Mom-Mom would want to make us breakfast, but we could usually talk her into giving us money so we could get breakfast from Burger King. In fact, and we are almost ashamed to admit it now, we could talk Mom-Mom into pretty much anything. She spoiled us ROTTEN! All Marla had to say was “Mom-Mom, I have to have this dress. I’ll look DAZZLING in it!” Five minutes later, she was the proud owner of a heinous dress. There were some ways that she bathed us in practicality, but more often, she was about indulgence. And it wasn’t just us- there were very few people Mom-Mom would say no to. She used to leave out peanut butter apples for the squirrels! There were very few living creatures that missed being spoiled by Mom-Mom.
And even though she spoiled us rotten, Mom-Mom somehow managed to also remind us that not everything comes easy in this world. She was an example for hardworking people everywhere- she worked a full-time job until she was 82 years old and even then she wasn’t thrilled at the idea of retirement! She would give you the shirt off her back, or the dazzling dress you demanded from the store, but she also taught us that money is something you treat with care. She used to tell us to save $5 from every paycheck, and would openly cringe when we told her how much we spent on our Coach bags!
Forget the idea of “Everything I Need To Know, I Learned In Kindergarten”- everything WE needed to know, we learned from Mom-Mom. The importance of family, hard work, generosity, self-control, and love. Without our Mom-Mom, we’re back in kindergarten, but without the benefit of our favorite teacher.