No, this isn't my Mom. But my most vivid memory of her is that when she went out, mostly to church or grocery store, once in a great while with my Dad - she always wore bright red lipstick and fingernail polish. She had (she passed a couple decades ago) jet black hair, olive skin, big brown eyes and that red was striking on her. I always remember thinking that she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen when she was dressed up.
I thought of her a lot during the height of the pandemic when we couldn't go to restaurants. I realized she cooked for a family of 7 every meal and every day. I gotta tell ya cooking is not only one of my least favorite things and having to do it every day without ordering a pizza once a week or hitting McDonald's wore on my last nerve.
My Mom and I had a strained relationship. We never had a conversation, she either was screaming, hitting or completely ignoring me. I know that she was deeply sad and very angry all of her life. The most honest thing she ever said to me was that she never understood me.
Still, she taught me to sew, taught my sister and I phonics before kindergarten (we were to only kids who could read when we went to school). She always made sure we had nutritious food and was adamant that we had to wear good shoes that fit us.
She taught me so much about the mechanics of living and I find I love her more every day because of it.