Meet My Mom—Interview Series
Written on May 8, 2016
Today is Mother's Day, which means that any and all maternal figures in one's life should be recognized and honored. I've been wanting to conduct an interview with my mom for a while now, and what better day than today. Therefore: meet Janet — my wonderfully hard-working, eclectic, strong, brilliant, and selfless mother (I could continue stranding together relevant adjectives, but the list would be far too long)...
What's your name?
Janet: Funny (*giggles and glares*)...You know my name, Lib.
When's your birthday?
Janet: I'm a Libra.
What's a fun fact about you?
Janet: In high school, I was a synchronized swimmer. The team was called "Aquanotes." Ooh, here's a fun fact: I used to host cat shows and dog shows in my backyard. The neighborhood kids would bring their pets, and my mom and her friends would be the judges.
And you enjoyed synchronized swimming?
Anything else you'd like to add?
Janet: We have to work on this. Don't you put that in there. I'm not talking anymore — I'm done (*more giggling*).
Luckily, she wasn't done...
Are you a coffee or a tea drinker?
Janet: I prefer tea. I started getting into the routine of drinking tea when I started working. Every "adult" seemed to be drinking something, so I adopted the habit of drinking tea. I do like the smell of coffee, just not the taste so much...
What was your first concert?
Janet: I don't actually remember. It may have been Heart. The concert that stands out the most to me is Prince's "Purple Rain" tour in the 80's, but it wasn't my first concert — it was definitely one of the most memorable though.
Which Spice Girl was your favorite?
Janet: The Spice Girls were a little after my time...I didn't pay attention to the Spice Girls. When were they popular — the 90's? (*giggles again*) Really, when were they popular? Do you know? Ask me about Journey; REO Speedwagon; Foreigner...Those were my high school bands.
What was your first car?
Janet: It was a rusted-out, white Chevy Vega. I think it had more rust than white paint.
Do you like our dog, Luna?
Janet: (*After much contemplation*): Of course. She's probably one of the smartest and sweetest dogs we've ever owned. She's a handful though. I plan to give her to Grace (*referencing my sister*) once she graduates college so we can travel. Put that in there—see how Grace feels about that.
What do you think Luna dreams about?
Janet: Martha and Michele (*giggling, referencing two of her friends*). She's a pretty happy dog, so...I bet she dreams about running around in the backyard eating grass, eating poop, and watching the birds. I don't know—what do you think Luna dreams about, Andy?
Who's your celebrity crush?
Janet: Hm. Jennifer Garner is my girl crush. She was super cool in "Alias." I like the fact that she could basically take out a room of bad guys with one high kick while wearing heels. I'm having a hard time picking another one though...Ooh, I like Matt Damon. I think he's a really good actor. And I admire the fact that he's from Boston. Well, "admire" is the wrong word—I feel a connection to him given that he's from Boston. I think that's cool.
Speaking of "Alias," that used to be one of your favorite shows. What are some shows you like now?
Janet: Hmm, let's see. I like "The Americans," "Scandal," "Outlander," and...Did you want me to say something else? I tend to be drawn to shows that involve politics, and I'm also a big fan of historical fiction (which is why I like "Outlander"). I also like "Orange Is the New Black" and "Girls," but those aren't out right now. I'm waiting for the new seasons to start...God, I'm boring.
And what's your favorite electronic device?
Janet: My Kindle. If the battery dies or the screen goes black before bedtime, I go in a full-blown panic (without a book to read). In fact, I have to charge it right now...
But when you were growing up, you didn't have electronic books. Did you read a lot?
Janet: Yeah, I read all the time. I was a frequent flyer at the local library. My mother used to say that the house could burn down around me and I wouldn't even notice — I'd get so engrossed in my books.
What were some of your childhood/summer jobs?
Janet: I was a lifeguard for a number of summers. That was a great job. I got paid to be outside. One summer (during college), I did a night/dinner shift at Arby's. I got really good at asking people if they wanted fries with their order. To this day, I can't get myself to eat at Arby's. I've seen that roast beef on the slicer...it's not so good looking...
What was your favorite childhood food?
Janet: My brother, sister, and I had a breakfast specialty called "Banana Mush" made of bananas, Gram Crackers, and milk (*giggles*). Beyond that family favorite, I used to love spaghetti night. The cool thing about growing up in the 60's and 70's was that there were still lots of home delivery services. Beyond the milkman, there was the Charlie's Chip delivery guy. He used to deliver tins of potato chips directly to our house called. And it was great. Ooh, and if you were really lucky and the delivery guy was in a good mood, he would give you free pretzel rods! Ooh, and there used to be guy who rode around on his bike and sharpened knives. Andy, did you have that guy?
Andy: No, we didn't have that guy. Wow, you sound like you grew up in the 1940's...
Janet: I know, geesh. Be careful what you put in there (*looking at me sternly*)...
What's your favorite flavor cake?
(This question was requested):
Janet: Chocolate with chocolate frosting — every time. That's easy, I could answer that question all day long.
If you could invite five people to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would you invite?
Janet: First I'd invite my mother and my father-in-law, Ace; Robin Williams; and Barack and Michelle Obama. That would be a very interesting dinner table.
Andy: Can I come?
Growing up, who did you look to for advice?
Janet: My mother, my sister, and a close family friend named Renie. They were all very influential during my childhood years.
What makes you happy every day?
Janet: What makes me happy every day is knowing that my family is healthy and happy; being productive at work; finding time to take a nice long walk with the dog. You need more? Are you done, because we need to get to the movies...I love the movies. No one ever wants to go with me, but you've agreed to join me (*referencing me*) since it's Mother's Day.
Looking back, what would you tell your eighteen-year-old self?
Janet: Be kind to yourself and enjoy the moment. Be more fearless. And don't be so self-conscious.
Because it's Mother's Day, describe your mom in 5 words.
Janet: I would say that she was generous; loving; talented; devoted; and resilient.
Rest in peace, Nanny. We're thinking of you today and everyday.