Mom's Unconventional Healing Methods

Over the years I’ve written about my parents, mostly about my dad and his botched up Brooklynite accent and slang, but mom is a whole different can-o-beans. And despite her claims of being honest and how she never lies, I’d like to take this time out to dedicate this lovely post to my dear, sweet mama. Her mission: to take care of everyone she loves, even if it may be an unconventional route. She means well. She lies for the ‘good’ and never intentionally tries to deceive anyone. She’ll even convince you that all the “bad things” in life are supposed to be good for you. And sadly, she wins out and you just have to go by her set of rules of what’s best for you. So here’s a little post about my mom...

It’s a cold winter day and my sister and I rush over to our parents’ house to warm up by the fire and have some of her famous pasta fagioli soup. I notice that the soup is thicker than normal, but still delicious. Normally, whenever I see mom make the soup, she gives me the first cup, usually very ‘soupy’ because it hasn’t absorbed into the beans and pasta as of yet. That was a clue that the soup that we were eating might have been cooked a day before or so, perhaps two days, ...hmm, maybe three? “I just made it this morning and let it sit”, she says, darting her eyes back and forth at my sister and I, hoping the truth wouldn’t be revealed while we’re still enjoying our soup. She refuses to tell anyone 'when' she made anything. You just have to trust that it's all good and that she's been doing this for years. Her ammo for me: "You've been eating this for years and nothing happened to you!"

It was a Wednesday morning. I pulled up right when she came back from Shoprite to do her groceries. We hung out for a bit and then later on I left. The following Sunday, I returned to have dinner with them. She said, “Oh, we’re making burgers on the grill.” I immediately asked, “Oh you went shopping again?” She said, “No, I went the other day.” (5 days ago is “the other day”). “Did you freeze the meat or something?” She looks at me and now insists that the chopped meat she got “the other day” was in fact purchased yesterday. I challenge her on this. She lost. I felt bad so I made a trip out to Shoprite and bought chopped meat as well as filet mignons so she wouldn’t feel bad about being ‘outed’ so to speak. The evening went well.

All throughout my life I’ve battled with my weight. I was constantly in and out of Weight Watcher’s, going to the gym, trying all these new fad diets and it worked some of the time (the times I stuck to it) and of course, I went back to my old ways. My mom would always put something entirely filled with fat, like bacon or meatballs in front of me and I would graciously turn it down and let her know I was trying to lose my stalker, aka: my ass. She says, “Oh c’mon! Our family has eaten this all our lives and we’re all still alive.” This is her pitch. When her pitch didn't work, she got out the big guns and would tell me about Uncle Patti. Remember Uncle Patti? He jogged every single day of his life, he never ate meat, only fish, fruits and vegetables. Then, at the age of 32 - BAM - he had a heart attack! Do you want some gravy on your meatballs?” God forbid I should come home with pain from working out - a sore muscle or just something minor: “See? All that working out isn’t healthy for you. Look! You can’t even move!” Just recently, she called me up to ask why I wasn’t around and I said I had pain in my shoulder from sleeping the wrong way. She said, “No, that’s from all the cycling you do.” I just shook my head and said, “Mom? I cycle with my legs.”

Ever since I can remember, I suffered greatly with menstrual cramps. I was a rambunctious new teen who had a newfound love for beer. My mom never let me drink until later in life, at the age of sixteen. It had to be in the house though. That never held up so well, but it was a good reminder that I had somewhat of an “ok” with sipping my favorite brew. My pain increased a lot as I got older, so I would pop 800 mg of Motrin all the time. Sometimes, that wouldn’t even help. So she sat me down to tell me the old Italian remedy to get rid of cramps: blackberry brandy. And let me tell you, it worked like a charm. I used to bring a little container of brandy with me while I was menstruating to work (just a shot), but I could have been fired for it. If I had a toothache, a shot of scotch was suggested. “Oh we’ve been doing this for years.” she says as she joins me in having a nip or two. I remember one night I came flying downstairs because I had chest pains. She goes straight for the fridge and tells me to drink this really fast. She hands me a Sam Adams. “Ma! I might be having a heart attack! How about an aspirin?” She turns to me and says, “That’s impossible, you’re only 20 years old. Drink the beer. Mark my word, it’s gas.” And wouldn’t you know it, I belched like a backwoods bean-eating hillbilly. Another time, I remember I was getting ready for a date. The girl I was about to meet was a former alcoholic and currently in AA. When I told my mother she was in AA while waiting for my date to arrive, she looks at me and says, “How can she be part of our family? She doesn’t drink? Are you kidding?” She pours me a glass of Carlo Rossi from a huge jug, told me to relax and then suggested, “You better drink now before she gets here.”

And now, I am off to have a midday martini with mom. I wouldn't trade her in for anything. Love you, Mom!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: