She was unlike anyone else. A goddess among women to me. Shining blue eyes and bright blond hair with the biggest smile you’d ever see. She was my mom.
Mothers, in general, are sacred to me. A blend of mythical goddess and salt-of-the-earth goodness. My own mother was like this, but it’s a concept she taught me – to honor thy mother above all else, and respect others’ mothers equally.
This week’s quote on the homepage comes from my mom, my Joy. She always had good advice, and loved sayings. She had them posted on her cubicle wall at work, and gravitated toward them throughout her life. The tidbit from the homepage I’ve really taken to heart. Relationships are hard. Give your man some slack and some credit. This quote actually changed my perspective on romantic relationships, and I really attribute much of my current marital bliss to that change. So thanks, Mom, you’re STILL helping me with my life.
When I was a kid, I used to watch her play our family piano. Her fingers, soaring across the keys, played with ease. Her nails were painted with the same dusted rose color she preferred throughout her lifetime, the same she painted her toes with too. Every Sunday night without fail she gave herself a mani-pedi before work began again on Monday.
She preferred gold-dipped rose for her lipstick, too, although in later years branched out to variations on the shade. She loved makeup and beauty products, often indulging in self-care rituals such as face masks, paraffin hand wraps and other home luxuries, although she hated to get professional services. She also disliked tea immensely and didn’t drink coffee, although she loved the smell. She didn’t allow my sister and I to use the word “hate,” instead teaching us to say “dislike immensely” when we were kids.
I can remember her making pasta sauce, letting it simmer for hours on the stove while I cruised by every so often, stealing a spoonful of the magical concoction while it cooked. She was a good cook, making mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak or chicken enchiladas, among other Joy Carroll specialties. Her pumpkin swirl bread is the stuff of legend, only perhaps outweighed by the spinach dip she adapted as her own.
I’m thankful I have so many memories of my life with her, from childhood until I was 25. She was my hero, caring for me and protecting me, while dealing with an abusive marriage and her own demons. I looked up to her and how she dealt with life’s blows, always keeping a positive outlook even when the going got rough. My memories of my mom are plentiful and range from her taking time to play catch with me to us driving to Utah and exploring the polygamous settlements there because I was curious after reading about them. I’m thankful I have such a wide range to choose from.
She loved adventure, and was a good, kind woman. That’s what I keep remembering this week – she was good. Not goody two-shoes good, but a good person to her core. She just thought of others constantly. In the “Be Like Joy” story this week I share one simple story of that kindness, but I can think of many others. She had this smile and way about her that was special. Her name was Joy, and she truly embodied that word.
I often have this thought about how much she would adore my husband. They never met, but I can picture her thinking he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. (He is) I know they’d be thick as thieves, and that thought that their relationship never materialized saddens me. On some level, I believe she arranged my meeting with Chris, which seems very written in the stars. Her love of laughter, music and fun seems like a perfect fit with my husband’s, and it’s a thought that pervades when I think of how close they would have been.
She was a hard worker, holding down multiple jobs since I was about 10 years old. She loved the spiritual side of things, and enjoyed a Diet Dr. Pepper at times. I can go on and on, but if you knew her, you know. And if you didn’t get to meet her, I love talking about her, so please just ask. This week and this weekend are hard, but talking about her keeps her memory alive and sustains her goodness in the world. Because really, at her core, the best way I can describe her is that she was just damn good. A Joy.