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Monday, December 27, 2010

Manicures with Nancy

I like to think my title is a lot like Tuesdays with Maurie, but with a different spin. Now, I haven't read that book in years, and if the old man dies at the end, than disregard the association. I just like the title. Nancy is my mother.  She has been getting manicures since I can remember.  In fact, her manicurist was a guest at my wedding, so you get the idea.  It was something that my mom did to be sure she always looked polished (no pun intended). When her regular manicurist started getting too busy, even for my mom, and got involved in nail art ( insert questionable expression here),  my mom started going to another manicurist... well ok several.  She asked me to join her today for a mani/pedi ( she is hip with the lingo). So I left the house, which is quiet since Santa has already arrived and I have eaten  most of the chocolate, and met my mom at Meijer. Yes, the 24 hour super store that also houses her nail place. I arrived first and walked in.  They asked in broken English what I needed, and I said I was waiting for my mom. It was then that he saw her coming up from around the self check out lanes. You would have thought it was Oprah. "Oh...Nancy, you her daughter, ok, ok, we set you up. Wheres Walt?" Ok, already this guy has dropped her name and now my Dad's too? There was no language barrier between this man and my mom..and what does this guy already know about me?
As we sat down in our chairs, they picked up like they were old classmates..Which I'm pretty sure is impossible. 
My mom had just been to lunch with a friend and was filling me in on the latest news, I should know who she is talking about, but I have forgotten the names of the neighbors that lived on Chestnut St. Mainly because I didn't live on Chestnut, because I wasn't BORN yet... but those details are inconsequential really.  As another man filled my pedi chair with water, I couldn't help but think of the sharp contrast, from being in Australia, and now in Indiana. The scenery just isn't the same. I sat watching old men sit on a bench, waiting for their wives to finish shopping all while they were falling asleep, and thinking of how I was on the beach on a remote island. No judgment, how can I when that experience was a given to me, not something I'm even going to pretend I could afford to do, both with time, or money.  But I sat and listened to my mom for awhile.
A little history on Nancy.  She has a million friends.  As a child, she seemed to be on the phone forever, and it always seemed like she was talking about me or my siblings... She also always took time for herself but never but herself first, at least it appeared that way to me, but I am the youngest of my siblings by 7 years. She adored her parents. She took aerobics class, she got her hair done, and she took time to care for her friendships. She was a high school cheerleader, and the class secretary. She graduated in 1959, how do I know this? She is the President and (CEO, if they had one), of the 59'ers... the classmates still get together once a month and my mom arranges. She studied dance at Butler University.  My mom makes friends with just about everyone, she has a smile that can light up a salon:)  In fact, I specifically remember her being close with the manager at Taco Bell, my favorite "restaurant" as a kid.. She has sung in the church choir forever.. and she met my dad while modeling in Chicago. They have been married for 43 years. She doesn't drink, although I heard she used to like apricot brandy, she never swears, and she creates words and uses them like Webster had printed them years ago.   I was brought out of my own head when I heard my mom giggling, she is ticklish, although, she was finished with that portion of her pedi, I was in the midst of the scrubbing and she was experiencing sympathetic tickling.. She then told the pedicurist that I had just been with Oprah on a trip, he asked me where she gets her toes done. Seriously?  Then she proceeds to tell him about me and my achievements, "You know, she hit a bit of rebellious stage in high school, but graduated from college with honors, now she has 4 beautiful boys ( who can do no wrong)  and such a nice husband ( who if he crosses my daughter, could do wrong, but for right now he is A ok) . I felt like I was 5...but this shouldn't surprise me, she had told the guy at Verizon the same exact thing yesterday when she came with me to get my phone upgraded.
I just nodded.  Off she went to the manicure station and while over there, she had already told the man (who is expecting twins) that she will be dropping off the carseat we don't need anymore and other baby items he may need.  My mom exudes love and people can feel it.  By the time I arrived to the manicure side, she was telling him that I had been a "surprise", albeit a wonderful one, and when she first found out she cried, not because she was happy, ( which she apologized to me  for) but because she was 36 and back then that was really really old to have a baby.
After a few moments, she looked at me and said, are you tired? Something she always asks, then tells the man that I have a baby with an ear infection... the truth is though, this guy loves it.  He is enjoying every second of this conversation as she is and then she asks about his boys. She knows his life story too?
Before I had kids, I took for granted just how much my mom loved and trusted me.  Not that I questioned her love, but she would drop anything and has continued to drop everything for me.  She is selfless, and if she wasn't so pretty, with kids and a husband, I'm sure she would be mistaken for a nun..When my second son was hospitalized for RSV when he was 4 months, she flew home, instantly ( eriously, I called her from the doctor and by the time we were admitted to the hospital she had flown from AZ to IN) . For my son, but mostly for me.  Her love encompasses every cell in your body and gives every single one a little hug.
After she paid for both our services, she sat down under the dryer next to me. A part of me thought..how did I get so lucky?  I decided that I had been gone for 2 hours and it was time to go. I gave her a kiss and left. But its these little moments that mean the most. Sitting in a 24 hour super store getting our nails done...maybe that is what makes the store even more "super " :)


  1. Love love love this! Much better than Tuesdays with Morrie! This really captures your mom's wonderful friendly nature, selflessness and interest in other's lives. I have long admired how Nancy's nails were ALWAYS done but never thought about the relationships she was building along the way! Great story.

  2. I'm crying. What a wonderful blog.

  3. Noelle what a wonderful thing to write about your Mom!

  4. I met your parents in Seattle when Nathan was performing in Florencia in the Amazons. Everything you say about her is true! She is a beautiful, wonderful lady. I have exchanged Christmas cards with your parents every year since then. Their card is always the first to arrive and it's the one I look forward to receiving most! :) Please tell them I said hello!

    Elizabeth Flagg