Some people have normal mothers | December 29, 2021

Kyle and I are those kind of people who take a funny (“funny”) Christmas/Hanukkah card photo every year.  This year, our ten-year-old took one look at the final result and said with a level of exasperation expected from a child forced to dress up in a suit and sit in a Jacuzzi tub full of bubbles holding a lacrosse stick (“funny,” as you may recall), “Can’t we just do a normal picture at a farm or whatever?”

Obviously, I said yes.  I said yes because I, too, know the plight of having a not-normal mother.  I said yes because, despite all of my teenage proclamations that I would be “totally normal when I grew up,” have become even more not-normal than the woman whose favorite catch phrase is, “Some people have normal mothers; you don’t.”  And, with my mom’s blessing, I am going to tell you about her today.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), my mom had a pretty typical Jewish Princess-type upbringing in central New Jersey.  She worked for my grandfather’s dental office.  She went on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  She told her boss – not my grandfather, different job – that “he needed to make up his f*cking mind about anything” and then quit.  She hung out with the King of Sweden.  She married my father, a nice Jewish boy from North Dakota, and moved to Grand Forks – where she went from being “Robin Silverman” to “That New Yorker (New York and New Jersey are basically interchangeable to Midwesterners, ammiright?) who goes to Whitey’s, asks if the salmon is farmed or fresh, and then orders the steak no matter what the answer.”

Being from New York/Jersey may have made her stand out from the crowd for a little while, but my mom is, and was, nothing but adaptable.  By the time my little sister rolled around Mom had stopped locking her car doors, developed a taste for fried walleye, and was able to call soda “pop” without flinching.

Then, one day, my mother awoke after a vivid dream about a rose garden in North Carolina, booked a plane ticket, and then traveled to North Carolina and actually found that rose garden.  You know, the ol’ PTA-mom-who-goes-on-a-vision-quest story.

In finding that rose garden, my mother was convinced that something bigger was going on in the universe and she needed to learn more.

With that, Mom shrugged off this plane of existence and leaned hard into the New Age movement.  HARD.  Like “mystical crystals charged in the full moon” hard.  My mom became trained in transcendental meditation, went on spiritual adventures, had her aura cleansed.  She read books and attended retreats; she wrote books and hosted retreats.  She even convinced Hale Dwoskin, the author of The Sedona Method, to host a free three-day retreat in Casselton with the goal of making the entire town free of stress.  (The foundation of The Sedona Method is that you release the emotions around whatever is bothering you; and if I ever get too worked up about something Kyle will shout “RELEASE!” at me, which isn’t at all how it works but it’s certainly distracting enough.)

Today, thanks to Oprah and The Secret, New Age is more like “Age” because a lot of people are doing it; but back then, it was pretty frickin’ embarrassing to have a mother who detoxed her energy with mustard baths and made us store our electronics on bags of dirt “to keep them grounded.”  If I had a stomach ache, my mother’s first step would be to get me to release whatever negativity I was holding in my gut (her second step was Pepto Bismol; she wasn’t that far out there), which is exactly what a teenage girl wants to hear from her mother, especially around her friends.  I walked around with a permanent eye roll for two decades.

Then, one day, I woke up after an unremarkable dream and realized having an unusual mom was pretty nifty for three reasons:

One, she is living her authentic self.  I can assure you my mom has the same level of “I must be normal and fit in” anxiety as all the rest of us; however, she has figured out a way to push past that in order to do the things that make her happy.

Two, she wants everyone around her to be their own authentic selves.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone more committed to helping people live their best lives than my mother.  She is one of the least-judgmental people I know (unless you are actively trying to be a jerk to someone else, then the Jersey in her comes out), and doesn’t allow anyone to carry a burden that doesn’t do them any good.  It’s very freeing to have a conversation with her because she doesn’t think in a linear fashion.

Three, she is my mom. 🙂

Here’s wishing you an unusual or normal, but definitely very happy, new year!

The photo above is one of our past ChristmaHanukkah cards.

This week’s news has curling, a hand lended, and Plowasaurus Rex.  Read on.


Thank you to everyone who bought 40 North Dakota Nice stickers from Dorshie Designs!  Kenzie and I both matched the donations, and are so happy to have been able to support St. Joe’s Food Bank!

Edmore’s Ethan Sampson is headed to the 2022 World Juniors Curling Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden. (Devils Lake Journal)

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the DOT has announced the names of eight snowplows.  My personal favorite is Plowasaurus Rex. (Bismarck Tribune)

An organization called “Lend A Hand Up” – supported by FM Raise Your Spirits and Gateway Chevrolet, as well as private donations – has gifted $2,500 to each of 17 families to help them with their non-medical medical expenses. (KVRR)

Minot’s Meals on Wheels delivered 200 Christmas gifts, via an Angel Tree, in order to spread holiday cheer to their participants. (KFYR TV)

The Dickinson Bad Pennies handed out food and presents to 22 families just in time for Christmas. (Dickinson Press)

Minot’s Lorraine McLeod and Lorine Tallerino, twin sisters, spend six weeks setting up their Christmas decorations for all to enjoy. (WANE)

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