When I write, I fall in love with my heroes, I admire my heroines, and I try to humanize my villains. But the characters I have the most fun creating are the moms.
I had a terrific relationship with my mom, lost her far too many years ago, and have often wished I could be more like her as a parent. My mama was southern born and bred although she lost most of her thick southern drawl after living in NYC all of her married life, when she was upset, the SOUTHERN really came out. Which was really funny because my dad was Puerto Rican and spoke English at home except when he got mad, then he reverted to Spanish. If my folks had a dispute, I felt like I was being raised by Ricky Ricardo and Scarlett O’Hara.
But I digress…
When I write a mom into my stories she can be overprotective and manipulative, comical, almost always loving, sometimes pushy, usually young at heart, often opinionated and almost always adored by her offspring. In my latest WIP, the mom isn’t all that flattering, although she adores her son she is kind of a be-yotch to her daughter-in-law. None of the top TV moms have anything on my character moms.
My favorite mom in my novels has always been Sylvia Hughes from “His Lucky Charm” and “Within the Law”. Cousins Caitlyn Smythe and Tom Hughes were raised by Sylvia who Caitlyn calls Aunt Syl. Sylvia is loving and sometimes a little too involved in her kids’ lives. (and yes, she often uses the colloquialism “kids”, she’s just very down to earth.)
In this brief excerpt from “His Lucky Charm” Sylvia expresses concern for her son, his lost love and his solitary lifestyle:
“Tommy, you are a young man.” Sylvia continued. “You should not live alone.”
“Ma... please.” Tom laid his fork down next to his plate.
“You’re a good looking man.” She turned to Caitlyn. “Isn’t he good looking?”
“Brandon, you’re getting married. Isn’t it a nice feeling to be settling down?”
“Ma! Stop it.” Tom stood up from the table. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He left in a hurry. The back door slammed shut behind him.
Sylvia looked at the rest of the family at the table. “What did I say?” She looked at each of their faces. Caitlyn was studying her plate. “What did I say?”
Walter shook his head and kept eating. “Sylvie, you never learn. Leave the boy alone.”
“What? I’m not allowed to care about my kids?”
Caitlyn put her fork down on the table and leaned over to hug Sylvia. “Aunt Syl, we love you. Tommy just needs to set his own pace. It will happen. Don’t worry.”
Sylvia took Caitlyn’s face in her hands and looked at her eyes. “I just want you two to be happy. That’s all I want.”
Caitlyn smiled. “I know.”
“You hear that Brandon?” Sylvia’s voice cracked. “You better keep my baby happy.”
“Yes ma’am.” Brandon looked at Caitlyn and saw her smile at him. “I plan to work at that for the rest of my life.”
“Good. Very good.” Sylvia nodded and went back to eating.
I think Sylvia is a little bit like Kitty Foreman from “That 70’s Show”.
Some years back I was told by my offspring that I am most like Rosanne Barr. I’m not entirely sure that’s very complimentary, but they said it was. I’ve never been very traditional, have never hesitated to embarrass my daughter and son, and have always loved them fiercely. I’ll never be June Cleaver, or Donna Reed, Marion Cunningham or Clair Huxtable. At least they never claimed I should star in “Mommy Dearest”.
How would you describe yourself or your parents? Do you have a TV mom-type you may have been "raised" by?