by Mary Helen Darah

Where are my good scissors?!” made it official: I have turned into my mother. There was a time when I was clueless as to why my perfectly sane, maternal figure would be interrogating everyone in the house with that question. In my mom’s eyes, her special shears—which we used for all kinds of unmentionables—were meant strictly for sewing. Now, decades later, I am searching for my herb cutters that I soon discovered were used to cut a “sticky gunky thingy” out of Corgi fur.
Still, I have not completely morphed into my mom … yet. Although I am hanging on by a thread in the technology department. At least I can use my laptop for more than just playing Spider Solitaire and following people I cherish on Facebook. However, my trickle down DNA comes from a woman whose cell phone voice message begins with the prerecorded message, “You have reached the voice mailbox of Sue,” followed by my mom’s voice saying, “OK, Mary Helen, now what do I push?”
My mother was one of the first to purchase a rectangular disposable Kodak camera back in the day, eager to capture our family’s important events. When she picked up the developed film, she quickly realized that she had been holding the camera the wrong way. Needless to say, we could not use one of the 36 “eyeball” shots as one of our Christmas cards, but it explained her concern about her vision when seeing “really, really bright lights” while taking photos.
Another sign that the “momisms” are sinking in: I found myself counting the mile markers and reading every billboard (yes, out loud) on the way home from a recent trip. Even worse, I had already incorporated the standard, “Well that’s not good,” after anything my children would throw at me over the years. From the “I have a zit on prom night!” to “the guinea pig is stuck in the Barbie car,” received the same “Well that’s not good,” just like good old mom used to say to me. I also have followed her lack of having no idea of how to wrap up a threat—“If you don’t get your act together … I’ll do something. I have no clue what but something … and I mean it!”
My mom and I have had our differences, especially in the kitchen. I would be whipping up a lemon, caper, white wine chicken piccata and my mother would come along with an, “I think that could use a little BBQ sauce.” I do, however, cherish the similarities that prove I am her daughter. “Turning into my mother” will mean that I will be the “fun” grandmother that lets kids find worms in muddy gardens, practice loon bird calls and, like my mom, lose their bra skinny dipping and go “fishing” for it SUCCESSFULLY with a fishing pole and my lucky gold hook. I will share books, a love of nature, my Tarzan yell before jumping into a frigid lake, and share a good joke around a table of loved ones. I will tell the people in my life, “If it weren’t OK to make mistakes they wouldn’t have erasers on pencils,” and that the “five second rule” can be extended to 10 if anything homemade or containing chocolate hits the floor.
I will cheer for sports that I don’t understand, get lines on my behind from sitting on aluminum bleachers during sport season yelling “PULL! PULL! PULL!” at competitive swim meets with full knowledge that the competitive swimmer in the water won’t hear me, and scream “Good eye!” at a granddaughter way out in left field. I will stress the importance of watching a good sunset, being a non-smoker, wearing sunscreen, never losing your sense of humor, forgiving and always being of service to others. Most importantly, after I belt out a song that I THINK I know the words to, I will look at my friends and family and know with every ounce of my being that I have given them the feeling of being loved beyond measure.
Sunny Side Up is in honor and memory of Sue Scheib, a joyous woman who lived life to the fullest until she was unexpectedly called home on Nov. 28, 2019.