When I forced my mom to sign up for Facebook last summer, I asked her all the standard "profile information" questions. "Are you interested in men or women?" I asked as my mom got dinner ready for my father nearby.
"Women," she said solemnly. "It'll be a whole new life."
My mom never fails to leave me in hysterics. She is the master of deadpan and DGAF.
During our Mom Gets on Facebook Adventure, it was a struggle but I eventually convinced her to use a picture I took of her when she visited me in New York. During this trip, my mom and I went to the Letterman show, and I held her hand as George Clooney dazzled the audience. Then we walked around the streets of New York with giddy excitement after, my arm looped through hers.
Every step was an adventure. We stumbled upon a man who held a kitten wearing an outfit sitting near some tie-dye purses, and my mom stopped to talk to him.
"I just love your cat," she said, then turned to me and said, "That's my favorite thing I've seen in New York so far." Clooney on Letterman had nothing on that cat in the T-shirt.
She stills talks about it.
My mom often calls me at night, and within minutes of talking, she says like clockwork, "Well. I don't have any news."
She often does have her own brand of interpreting the news, though, most of which comes from her watching TV on mute and reading the ticker, as she finds it more pleasant that way. "What do you think of Kim Kardashian?" she'll ask me. "I think I want to be more like her."
My mom is 71.
Another time she was watching a VH1 special on Tupac and Biggie. "What'd you make of it?" I asked, curious to hear her take on the murderous feud.
"Oh, well, as far as I could tell, it was a rap misunderstanding," she said.
And then there was the time when she made Joy Behar laugh from thousands of miles away. After I did the prostidude story for The Post, I made an appearance on Joy's CNN show. When the appearance was over, Joy turned to me and said: "So what did your mom think of the article?"
"I'm not sure," I said. "But my mom did say she was glad that at least my tongue wasn't hanging out on the cover." Joy laughed way harder at that than anything I said during my actual interview.
When the dot-com boom happened in the early 2000s, my mom would always add ".com" randomly to conversations: "How are you doing dot com?" she would ask. At another point, she also had big plans to name her cat "dot com," but sadly, that never happened.
My mom never fails to crack me up and delight. When she visited me at The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in 1995, she signed in on the official visitor sign-in sheet next to the corporate executives. I looked down to see what she had written. Under name, she wrote "Mom." And under company affiliation, she wrote: "Ha ha!"
She also got online for the first time with me during that visit, on Prodigy, and she watched amazed as I chatted with a man who called himself Mr. Basketball. When Mr. Basketball began asking what I was wearing, my mom's opinion of the Internet dropped dramatically. Of course, that didn't stop her from years later continually asking me if I had "kept in touch with Mr. Basketball."
When I started working for xoJane, every once in a while she would get on and comment on my stories, but I think my favorite email I got from her was this one after she tried to "star" a story:
"Mandy, I could NOT get rid of the minus stars on your nice story-----it's up to -17------PLEASE FIX THE STARS I FUCKED UP------I originally gave your story a "like"--------then I was trying to give it +stars--------I AM SO SORRY--------PLEASE FIX IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!! LOVE, Mama."
Emails from my mom are one of my favorite things in the world. Her first email password? "Ilovekids."
Two years ago on my birthday she wrote me: "Dear Mandy, I loved it when you were born -- you were so big and healthy and loving (you talked to me when they brought you to me. You said 'uhh. uhh.') And I talked to you. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!"
That one brings tears to my eyes, actually. And for the record: I was a 10-pound baby.
Another email a few years ago, when I started talking to her about childhood issues I was dealing with in therapy growing up with my wounded combat marine dad: "Good morning, Viet Mandy! (i don't know why this came into my head). Had a flashback re: Daddy's anger towards me, and am feeling how MUCH you were affected by his anger. Have a good weekend............."
My mom, a retired teacher and librarian, kills it with the punctuation.
She's also a kick-ass card-maker. She's made custom cards for two comedian friends when they went overseas. One for Benari Poulten when he was serving in Afghanistan and another for my friend Wayne Federman when he went over to entertain the troops.
The Wayne one she got kind of nervous about, though, and wrote me this (she calls herself Mama Courageous and me Mandy Courageous): "Dear Mandy, Mama Courageous is kinda nervous about sending this guy a card.................I'll work on it tomorrow pm (have some free time). Will let you know what I've got tomorrow...................I've got one that I stamped a branch on and could say 'make like the trees and leave' but I don't think that's the direction you're going.....................anyway; tomorrow! Love, Mama."
And then the awesome follow-up: "Good morning, AMANDA COURAGEOUS! I got the greatest thank-you email from Wayne, My Man..........Have a WONDERFUL, MIDDLE-OF-THE-WEEK, BIKE-SAFE, EXCITING DAY!!!!!!!!! LOVE, Mama."
I love my mom so much it makes me laugh and cry and feel alive all at the same time.
What do you love most about your mom? Does she send you the world's best emails too? Are you doing anything special for Mother's Day? What's your favorite mom story?
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.