Last night I was asked by my 13 year-old daughter, Sophi, to edit a paper she had written for her 8th grade Integrated Studies Literacy class. Not only did I discover that she had written about me, but she had managed to capture her amazing ability to love me in spite of my quirkiness. Never before have I felt so honored at being called an embarrassing goofball. Copied and pasted in her own words, I am proud to share with you:
October 4, 2012
My Chupacabra-Loving, Catawampus Mother
You could say the Thurman’s aren’t the typical family. You could ask anyone who’s really spent time with us. Actually, there’ve been countless times the words “the Thurman’s need a TV show” have been uttered. Then Honey Boo Boo came and we’ve decided we can’t compare to that. The crazy pageant queen has even been honored a Honey Boo Boo night, where we all gather in the living room and watch the redneck adventures. I think the real reason of the Thurman’s Honey Boo Boo night, is to have one day a week when we can all sit down and feel better about our catawampus ways.
Catawampus is one my mother’s favorite words (she pronounces it CATTY-WOMPUS, and I find much more enjoyable to say it that way). It’s everything it sounds like and suits my mom perfectly. Not a day goes by that you won’t hear her say “catawampus this” or “catawampus that” or “that was all catawampus”! Maybe on the day she finds something on chupacabras, a mythical creature from Texas that she is a die-hard believer in. One time she even, “saw one in the road, I swear!” My mother is also terribly afraid of coyotes. We’ve recently moved to a farm and like to go visit, Festus, the donkey or take walks to Uncle Bob’s. Sometimes if we hear a coyote, I will run ahead of her just to hear her say, “Sophi, stop! Don’t leave me! Please wait! I’m going to die, oh my GOD!” But all these quirks and catawampus things about my mom are what I love most about her. She teaches me that being yourself, which might be a little weird, is OK. She reminds me that if you friends don’t like you the way you are, they’re not real friends.
When you think about Karri Thurman, the first things you would think of are all her embarrassing and funny (mostly embarrassing) moments. The way my mom tells stories will make you remember them forever. She is even better at writing them. Sometimes it can even be annoying at how much she gets into her stories. She still thinks of my dog as a retired FBI agent who is best friends with a pigeon that speaks Portuguese. One day I even found him with a toy spy kit from the Dollar Store. So, my mom decided to start a blog to share all these stories. She titled it, “Heavy Sighs and Smiles”, referring to the signature sigh she lets out when she is frustrated. The smiles are for the occasions when we all take joy in laughing at mom.
One of everyone’s favorite moments of Mom (which I am still waiting to read a blog about) is when she was hanging off the boat by her bikini bottoms. We were at the lake with friends and tied up to several boats that consisted of strangers or people barely known to us. My mother tried to get into the water without anyone noticing, but ended up slipping on the wet ladder. My mom was caught on the ladder by her bikini bottoms, face down in the water and her rear-end showing to some deeply disturbed people. Most of them laughed it off with giggles while my mom dangled there until a brave soul came and unhooked her. The bikini bottoms looked as if a wild animal had gotten ahold of them, and tying knots where they had torn didn’t help much. It was obvious to everyone that my red-faced, awkward laughing mom needed a new pair of pants.
Instead of acting like she wasn’t my mom, or never talking to her again out of sheer embarrassment, I decided to learn from her. Because even she laughed it off rather than never showing her face again. Strength is one of the most important lessons she has taught me. If you’re hurt, don’t baby it; If you don’t want to do it, do it anyway. My brother has terrible anxiety and she has been there every step of the way. My mom has stayed strong for him, for her and for the whole family. Even when she snaps and breaks, she is letting me know that letting someone else be strong for a change, is perfectly alright too.
To me, a mother full of love and care and guidance, maybe not so much grace, is what a girl needs most. Everyone needs someone to teach you right from wrong, even though she makes mistakes every day. A girl needs someone to be proud of them, but not super proud of them, because they are always pushing you and always wanting you to do your best. I also believe that everyone needs a crazy sports mom that gets a little catawampus on the sidelines. My mom happens to fit all of these roles and still has time to love me eight times around the world and back. Karri Thurman, who some call crazy, most call hilarious, and all call catawampus, only has a few lucky ones that get to call her Mom. She means so much to us, to me, and I wouldn’t trade anything for all those embarrassing moments, or breakdowns, or all her catawampus ways, because those make her who she is, and that’s exactly what I love.