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I Got It from My Mama

There are many memories of my mother that I have from the backseat of her mid-nineties Caprice Classic. The first that comes to mind is watching the mph rise on her digital speedometer: 74, 75, 86, 91…

Strapped in the middle backseat, I can still see my mom’s profile clearly. Blonde ponytail (always curled), blue Merle Norman eyeshadow, straight nose, high cheekbones, eyes on the road ahead. We’re singing the Judds, or Amy Grant, or Trisha Yearwood, or Fleetwood Mac — all of us, even Patrick. We’re probably on the way to Michelle’s softball practice or Grandma Pat and Jim and Joe’s house or to a summer dollar movie matinée. But we’re burning rubber, and she’s stunning. She has always been beautiful. And a fast driver. The best type of woman.

I have always been a Mama’s Girl. Most of my relatives remember the three-year old Heather as very cute (obviously true) and downright mean (true, but only if you weren’t my mother). But when you’ve got Lori Lange for a mom, what else do you need?

Growing up, my friends were always jealous of my mom. She was hipper, funnier, prettier, and more talented than all the other moms. Seriously. I won the mom lotto. She is loyal and fierce and true. She has always made the best snacks, told the best stories, and given the best advice. She was a second mom to many of my friends. Of her many talents (toll painting, sewing, baking, coaching, listening, choreographing, shopping, crocheting, story-telling, French braiding, and video gaming, to name a few), the best part of all that she was was that she was relevant. She remembered what it was like to be 7, to be 12, to be 15.

I’m not the speed racer that my mama is. I definitely can’t pull off blue eyeshadow. But my mother is magic, and she planted it in me. She sees the beauty and importance and symbolism in the smallest of things, and she helps others see those, too. This post won’t do her justice, but I wanted to portray, just a little bit, how lucky the world is to have my her.

I wish I hadn’t thought of this last, most important piece late on Friday night. Then more people would have had time to respond. But what lies beneath are what is most worth reading. Words from a few lives that my mother has touched.

Jim Frazier said…

Unlike most siblings that fight and never have a kind word to say about each other until they get old enough to realize how important they are in their lives, our lives were determined to be different from the start.

I never could imagine my life without her. From the day Joey and I were born, she was destined to be our protector. Most kids would say “if you mess with me, I’ll have my big brother kick your ass!” Not us. It was always, “If you mess with us, my sister will “f” you up!” To this day, anyone that knows her knows this still rings true.

Your mom always played many roles. She was mom (to me and Joey), taxi driver, protector, sister, and confidant. Never in my life have I doubted her ability to be there for ANYONE in need. Even if she was pissed off at you, she was the first one to push her way to the front of the line to say, “You have to get through me first!” To my knowledge, nobody has been dumb enough to call her bluff. Anyone reading this knows exactly what I’m saying.

For her children, she would give the world. For me, she is the world! When my world seemed uncertain 5 years ago, she didn’t let me sit and sob. She was at my door pulling me down the street on our “rounds” to the family saying this is the beginning of the best part of your life. After a few slaps later from her, I knew no matter what, I was going to be ok because she said so. God help anyone that said otherwise.

Thick or thin, good times or bad, she has been a rock. I love her smile because it is infectious. I love her steel nerve. But most of all, I love that she is my sister.

She is not only my sister, she is my best friend!

Jennifer Steele Rolland said…

I remember your mom always being soo responsible at such a young age. We would drive from high school over to the elementary school and sit and wait for your uncles to get out of school. She was so good to them.

Driving her teal mustang. I’m not sure, but I think I remember trying to teach her to drive stick.♥ Wearing navy blue underwear under her white pants and wanting to strangle her. ♥ Trying to teach her that a lady always wore a slip, and she never bought into it! ♥ I remember her going to homecoming (gosh, I think with your dad) and looking like the belle of the ball in a southern looking formal that I would have just died to have! ♥ I remember sneaking Boone’s Farm into football games ♥ Causing scenes in the parking lot with old boyfriends cuz of what she was wearing ♥ Dancing in the desert with your papa, each of us taking turns being his partner ♥ Man I could go on and on…

My first impression of her was that we would NEVER EVER NEVER EVER NEVER EVER be friends!

She doesnt have a BEST quality… SHE IS QUALITY.
She’s as loyal as they come.

Funny memory is of her climbing up on to a shelf in a hotel room and getting her foot caught and falling and breaking her hip…. but blamed it on me and jumping on the bed together. But true friends take the heat for whatever they have to…. and I HAD TO.

Old ladies holding hands ♥ Purple ♥ Tinkerbell ♥ Pointer Sisters WE ARE FAMILY ♥ Saguaro Elementary School ♥ Everytime I go to Baskin Robbins because I remember sitting out on the steps with her eating ice cream with our babies ♥

Every mom can learn from yours that you should buy Tylenol liquid in the biggest bottle that you can find, cuz Tylenol fixes everything. She’s the go to mom for hairbows if your team needs matching bows, decorations when you are running for student council, andadvice on anything and everything. If she doesnt have an answer, you can bet she will find it faster than you can spit.

I’ve learned from Lori that it’s ok to do whatever it takes, by any means possible, to make your kids successful. Cuz no one, and I mean no one, messes with Mama Lange’s babies!

I love your mom.
She is my kindred spirit.
Sister from another mother.
Soul sister.
Best friend.
Confidant.
Guru.
and Soul Mate.

Chris Hunter said…

I remember your mom being this young girl who was so beautiful and had a heart of gold. She was such a great listener to all her friends. And she had a ton of them, and I think the most of them were boys… I remember how she always took care of her brothers and was there for them no matter what. You messed with them, and you had to answer to her. She had to grow up so fast sometimes that I think she missed part of her childhood, but never complained.

My best memory of her I would say would have to be the day I got to see her lovely face again after 20 something years apart. Her face lit up so bright she could have lit up a dark room. The love I saw in her eyes that I thought I had lost forever was there. My best friend was standing in front of me again, and I so missed that beautiful smile. It is a memory that will be engraved in my heart, and I will never forget it.

She was always the center of attention and had such a great sense of humor. She always found a way to make you laugh when you were down. Of course she is a great wine drinking buddy…

Her best qualities I would have to say are her hands. I have always admired them as they are so strong looking, and she definately lives up to them. She is a great mother and grandmother. You do not mess with her babies, or you will have Guedo at your door and he will bury your butt… She is such a patient person and can take on so much and keep on going. Her family is so lucky to have such a wonderful person to call their mom. Lori is a very passionate person and loves a good chick flick.

The place I remember her the most would have to be horse backriding in Colorado on our summer vacation with her dad and brothers. It was the best summer I ever had. The picture of us standing at four corners is such a great memory as well. My favorite memory of her would be the times we would lay out by her pool and just talk. We would sit there and plan out our lives when we got married. What we would do and not do, how we would live. My only regret was not knowing how to find her to have her at my wedding.

When I hear Stevie Knicks sing, I think of her as we used to sing her songs together on this little tape recorder. Jimmy and Joey used to love hearing us.

Every mom could learn how to love unconditionally like she does. She is such an inspiration to her children and family. She will never let anyone down and will pick you right back up if you fall.

Lori is such an amazing person. She is the sweetest, kindest person you could ever meet. I am so grateful to have her back in my life again. I missed so many years with her that my story here is short, but the love will live on forever. She is the best mom any child could have.

Sherri Kline Hottman said…

I liked your mother from the minute I met her. We worked together at Garcia’s. Your mother was and is beautiful, strong, loving, confident, welcoming, friendly and a host of other wonderful qualities. Your mom has a way of instilling or transferring pieces of these wonderful qualities to whoever she is with. It is wonderful to be on the receiving end of her love.

Being new to the school in my junior year of high school is a little scary for a 16-year old, but when I became friends with your mother, she was very welcoming and took me right under her wing and into her circle, like so many others. She would pick me up for school in the teal mustang. She must have had to leave an hour early for school to drive around to pick us all up.

Since I haven’t known her as long or as well as some of the other’s who have posted, I may not have as many memories. But the ones I have are all beautiful. You have an amazing mother and everything I remember about her from our past and everything I have had the honor or experiencing in our present has been a blessing!

We are all so blessed to have her in our life’s as a wife, mother and grandmother, daughter, sister and friend.

Katie Rodgerson Workman said…

I would try and fake sick just so I could spend the day with your mom. It meant cable t.v. shows, a possible lunch out, and lots of nurturing. I remember being so frustrated that you would finish your homework faster than me, and your mom would bend over my homework and help me with the problems and even do some of them (which prompted a scolding and a lecture on honesty from you–you cute girl), and I was always grateful for that.

As I got older, she was the only adult I knew who was really honest with me. She answered my questions, offered her opinion, and always had lot of the best preteen advice. She instilled a lot of confidence in me at a particularly shaky age. She told me I was beautiful when I felt small, told me I was full of talents when I felt like I had none, and when you made fun of me for being too scared to shave the back of my knee, she some how made it sound like I’d made the most sensible and wise choice in the world.

I owe your mom a lot, but of all the things I’m grateful for, I’m grateful for this one moment most:

You and I had had a sleepover somewhere near the end of our junior high days. We had had a very serious talk about how it was time to put our Barbies away. We were sure we’d been playing with them much longer than a girl should, and after one last “Barbie Game”, we said goodbye to our favorite outfits and favorite dolls and boxed them up. I remember waking up early in the morning to the sound of your mom’s voice whispering in our ears, saying that we should keep the Barbies out. She told us she’d watched us dance with fairies, escape from ill-fated orphanages, trounce down to dinner in full costume and character, create whole worlds and much much more for years. She explained that we were destined for greatness, that we were among the dreamers and the lovers of the world.

The way to achieve our dreams (a famous Broadway actress, a Pulitzer prize winning writer) was to encourage and nurture our creative side — not to suppress it. She told us she was proud of us, and that we were special. Even as a little girl, I knew what an extraordinary thing that was. She allowed us to stay young, she encouraged us to be silly, and she gave me permission to take even my most far fetched dreams with me into adulthood. I am a believer in magic, and that is due in part to your sweet mother who had a hand in mothering me as well.

Jessica Farkash said…

Your mom has always been the “cool mom”. The one that always made sure all the kids were taken care of. Always were fed, hydrated and always having a good time.

I remember her to have always prepared the best parties! One of my fondest memories was our freshman year in college and we went to your house for Super Bowl.  I remember her during the Diner days.  She has always just been a very “cool mom”. :)

What’s made her a cool mom?? Because as active as she is in all her kids lives, she lets them live and learn from all their experiences. Let’s them live their life and challenges them to be the best they can be.

Every mom could learn from Lori Lange: Be a part of your child’s life day in and day out, because they are your life.

If you’d like to post a favorite memory or thought about Lori Frazier Lange my mom, or if you have a wish for your own magical mama, feel free to post it in the comments.

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8 thoughts on “I Got It from My Mama”

  1. You couldn’t have said it more perfectly. She is blessed to have such a wonderful kids. Nobody could ask for a better daughter, niece, aunt, friend, sister, wife, mother or grandmother.(hope I got them all) Anyone, who has been lucky enough to have had Lori in their lives have been given a gift that most people do not experience in a life time.
    My life is full of so many happy memories thanks to LORI being in it. From the time the Nun held her upside down when she was born and started scrubbing her head I knew she was going to be special (after almost passing out, I must admit I had horrible feelings everytime I passed a nun after that) Grandma Mo and I were bessed to have Lori in our lives 24/7 until our hearts were broken when she moved to Florida for several years.
    She made me so proud when at 18 months old and I took her to my college child development class,in her little pleated scotch plaid skirt and white blouse, laced with colored flowers and piggy tails in her baby fine hair. The Teacher brought her son Sam, who was 4 , and she claimed was advanced for his age. Sam was a bit spoiled and even though he was suppose to spell his name he wasn’t about to perform. Lori on the other hand, marched up to the board picked up the chalk and wrote L-o-r-i- and turned to the class and said ,”don’t forget to dot the i. I was sure after that I would fail the class, but was so proud of her. She loved driving fast in my Corvair and many times would beg me to take her on Roller Coaster road, even before she was two. I still can picture her sitting in the front seat, even then I insisted she be belted in, though we didn’t have any real laws about children not being in the front seat or being in car seats. I think it was just becoming into play. Anyway, now I’d die before letting my Grand Children or any child sit in the front or in a car without the proper seat (sorry Lori) I’m just glad we both lived because Lori would always say “close your eyes, Aunt Paul”, when we were on the highest peak. I always pretended to close my eyes (but I wasn’t always that wreckless to want to kill ourselves or put her in any real danger because I knew her Mother Pat would kill me if anything ever happened to her) Although ,she spent a few times in emergency due to her fearless ways. I seem to remember taking her to University Hospital for a broken arm and I wasn’t on duty for that one. That was a romp on the bed.
    I came very close to being killed when she was three because although she had beautiful blonde hair her bangs always looked as if they were cut with a dull pair of scissors. I talked Pat into letting me take her to Grandma Mo’s hair man Jonnie (first mistake) for a professional do. Now keep in mind, I was only 19 and very impressionable. Mia Farrow was a big name(mostly for marrying Frank Sinarta)but her hair style was in. Jonnie convinced me that her hair needed to start over to get thicker and even, so I asked Lori what she thought and she said, “cut it”, so we went for it. I started feeling pain when half of those long blonde curls came off but to turn back would have meant half her head long and the other almost shaved so I just prayed it would end up like Jonnie promised. Well, I never agreed to the end results although she looked just like a Pixie ,she was scalped. I considered running away from home because I knew I’d never get to take her out alone, again no less getting within two feet of her. That day, we lived it up before I took her home, just in case it would be our last time. I went by and pick up Grandma Mo because I knew they wouldn’t hit me if she was there. Although, she was schocked when she saw her. I didn’t lose my privilidges but was in the dog house for several months, and never left the house without being told she better have the same hair she left with. Luckily her hair grows fast. To my defense, she got lots of compliments and a lot of friend’s little girls seemed to get short do’s. Not quite as short as Lori’s but short. By the way, it did work, her fine hair came in thick and from then on when her bangs were cut even so I can take credit for her beautiful hair. I could go on forever but I just had to say,” Thanks You”, to my bestest pal in the world for bringing so much joy into so many lives. Diamonds are forever and Lori is my Diamond. Love you forever, best friend, Happy Mother’s Day , Aunt Paul

  2. Its so hard to share stunned silence. So hard to swallow, or breathe or even see thru the sheets of water.

    My Baby Girl, what have you done? What could I have possible done so right to deserve you? You are the eyes of my heart, the wonder in my soul, and the mirror of my faith that Gods hand brought you to me.

    These are the A*N*G*E*L*S in my life. The part of my soul the Lord blessed my way with. I believe we are part of one whole. I need you all. I love you beyond measure.

    Jim, Jen, I protect you fiercely because I need you to survive. Each of you and others have taught me strength, responsibility, compassion, forgiveness, patience. Admittedly, I am a slow learner. Therefore I plan to keep you FOREVER.

    Chris, you are my forever friend. You are my example of pure love, and loyalty.

    Miss Kate & Jessica, 30 more years will go so fast and you are the A*N*G*E*L*S in Heathers life. Hold fast and strong to the bond that holds you together. Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust ;)) I am blessed to have been part of your lights.

    Aunt Paula…I Love You

    “There must have been a moment of truth

    For here you are, standing there, loving me
    Whether or not you should
    So somewhere in my youth or childhood
    I must have done something good

    Nothing comes from nothing
    Nothing ever could
    So somewhere in my youth or childhood
    I must have done something good “

  3. From “The Papa”:

    Well this is the third time I have tried to add to this. And I am not to happy with all of you accomplished pc nuts. Just jealous I am. God, I am dumb. Been working at this for the last four hours. Maybe I should put it in segments. We will call this the early years of my angel.
    Lets see…1968 on a beautiful Oct day her mother woke me to tell me her water had broke. I flew out the door and remembered I had left her standing their. Went back and got her agan heading to the hospital. A few hours later with the help of her sister Paula we were looking at two beautuful girls…Pat and Lori. (MORE TO COME)

  4. PAPA’S HELPER: Part Two of “Lori”

    It was a nice warm day and I was busy with the garden. Had a helper that was rigtht into it all up to her elbows. After putting the finishing touch to a plant I looked up to see a bouncing flash of diaper running toward the pool. Lord, she was fast. I dropped all and ran as fast as I could to no avail. She jumped at I reached for her so we both went in. Me with all my clothes, I.D’s and money. Decide then that she would learn to swim and swim she did. Like a fish both under and on top of the water.
    Later after eating lunch with “Ester” that Pat, had fixed us I needed a little sleep had finished a grave yard shift with the police dept. I awoke with blonde curls over my face and a precious angel asleep on my chest.

  5. PART Three of “Lori”

    There are so many memories….this is one that sticks out in my mind. “The Teacher”
    I went to check on her and found her on the back porch standing in front of her full size blackboard with a yard stick in her hand and her lil brother John sitting at a class room desk. Lori, would ask him a question and if he did not answer quick enough smack him on the head. Poor kid. By the time he started school he had already been taught it all and had no patience to go thru it all again.
    Lori, was my hunting and fishing buddy. Because there were always guns at our house they were taught to know and respect them. She was a very good shot and could take down a whitewing in full flight or a rabbit on full run. A covey of quail did not stand a chanch with her until that horrible day (smile) she decided that ladies did not do those sort of things and turned her attention to other things like fishing and hiking.

  6. PART Four of “Lori”

    We were fishing on pier in Florida, when I looked around to see a large crowd had circled my eight yea old. Here she was cleaning scalling the fish at the sink provided for the pier. She looked up and smiled at me as if to say no big deal.
    Camping she could figure out how to put a tent up as fast as I if not faster.
    Now you might think I had made her into a “tomboy” no way she always has been a sweet, beautiful, and caring girl.
    We were camping on a river up in the mountains. She and her girl friend decided to explore. They did not come back so her mother and I started search. We went up the river I had hoped she would rember to find one and follow it. She did. Scared us to death. After going around a bend we could see the two of them coming back.

  7. PART Five “lori”

    Friends of Lori’s, they were all so special. Each one with a talent and personality so rare in young girls. We loved them all as part of our family. Boy’s were different! Was so happy when she picked our favorite….Mike, was the most patient and sweetest one of them.
    Thanks to the two of them “this old man” has a bunch of Grandchildren, to aways be proud of and can brag about.
    There are so many moments to share….but I will end here a and thank all that helped in the bringing up of “SUPER GIRL” Love Ju Papa

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