Archived: Scooch Over Bacon by Nathan Peterson

I’d like to write an essay about my mom, but I wouldn’t know where to start. Should it be a letter, like “Dear Mom,” or a biography, like “Her name was Mom, and this is her story…?” I could make a simple list of attributes, like 1, 2, 3, on to infinity, maybe a little less. I wouldn’t know if I should begin with us splashing in puddles near our run-down apartment complex somewhere in the trashy side of Denver. We would jump in them together on rainy days. We would find the biggest, bestest puddles in the whole world, right there in Denver! She instilled the importance of life in me as we saved the worms. We picked them off the asphalt and threw ‘em in some dirt. I was too little to remember, but my mom loves those memories. She remembers when she picked up my pants to wash them. They were heavier than they should have been. She checked my little pockets and pulled out a handful of worms. Clearly her lessons had already begun to remain with me.

Should I start with things I actually remember? Like when I decided I didn’t like the name she gave me and asked her if I could change it? From then on, I was Nathan. She never argued. I remember the time in preschool when I smashed my eyebrow falling off a tricycle. She got there pretty dang quick. She wiped blood from my eye as we waited in the emergency room. I learned that day that if I really needed her, she would be there. I remember she took me to a strange school where they had a box of scrap paper anyone could take, for free! My mom was ecstatic, this was not regular paper. This was nice paper, art paper. I must have noticed how much she liked it, cuz I grabbed a bunch. It was with that paper I got my first paper cut. From then on, art ran in my blood, thanks to my mom.

Maybe I should jump straight to my pinewood derby, my very first. She made my car. She started on it perhaps an hour before I had to be there. We had forgotten all about it, but she wanted me to have a chance. So she took that block of wood and a bow saw and sawed that sucker in half, right in front of me, in like 45 seconds! Then she took that choppy wedge outback and spray-painted it green, my favorite color. Once it dried, I watched her nail the little wheels on. Boom, I had a car. I think I even got a couple wins with it! They called it “The Mean Green Machine.” Man, I wish I still had it. It was truly a work of art, at least to me. It was a work of my mom.

I remember her cooking all the time. She made amazing food! I would be on the couch playing with my sisters and brothers, smelling the amazing lunch mom had sizzlin’ in the kitchen. She would walk in for a moment and practically sit right on top of me!

“Scooch over, Bacon” she would say. It was a funny little thing she said to only me. It meant “move.” Actually, it meant “I’m just as much a goof as you, and I wanna sit where you’re sitting, so scoot it!” I always felt special when she said that to me.

I might talk about her voice on the phone. After I moved out, she was my one dependable “go to.” I called her frequently, almost daily at first. For hours she listened and gave advice. She would update me on the family and things they did that made her laugh. I’m not sure how much those lengthy phone calls helped me. I still wonder what I learned from her patience and devotion. She might have taught me that it’s ok to be apart from her, or that I can make it on my own. Whatever the case, I’m just glad I can still call her.

So yeah, I would write about my mom, I probably even should. I just don’t really know what to say because there’s too much to say. She spent her youth raising me. We practically grew up together. She’s an art enthusiast, she’s made some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. She’s a hidden treasure. I’m rich, because I have her for a mom. She’s one of the best writers I know. She’s inspired me to be a writer. She’s my hero. She’s my mom.