About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
by Lynn Ruth Miller
Many women have children but only a few are mothers. You can tell a true mother by the penetrating look in her eye. A mother always knows everything about you. Absolutely everything.
I had such a mother. I could hide nothing from her. When I walked into the house, my face smeared with chocolate, she would glance at me and say, "How many times do I have to tell you not to eat between meals? No dessert for you, tonight, young lady."
I was shocked. She had been cleaning the bathroom floor while I was at the neighbors pigging out on chocolate cake. How could she see across the street? "How did you know that?" I asked and wiped the crumbs from my chin.
"A mother always knows," she said. "I can read your forehead. Hand me the Bon Ami. I see a finger print on the doorknob."
When I came home from school, my legs twisted into pretzel position and my eyes popping like a choked fish, my mother would point to the bathroom door. "How did you know I had to go?" I asked as I galloped to the toilet.
My mother shrugged. "I read it on your forehead," she explained.
When I got a bit older, her forehead reading became truly remarkable. I could hide absolutely nothing from that womans penetrating eye. I would come home from a date, my face raw with affectionate endeavors and my mother would scowl ominously. "Men dont marry fast girls," she announced. "Do you know what time it is?"
"We were only holding hands for Gods sake," I lied.
"You cant fool me, Lynn Ruth," said my mother. "I can read the whole vulgar story on your forehead. Put some Jergens on your face or youll look like a raw tomato tomorrow."
Her amazing knowledge of things she could not see sharpened the farther I was from home. I arrived at college my freshman year, disoriented and lonesome for the very place I had denounced as a suffocating prison hours before. I settled down on the dormitory bed for a good cry when my mother walked in the door. "You forgot your pillow," she said and handed me the very one I had used the night before.
I had done my own packing and shut the door to my room when we left the house to drive to Ann Arbor. My mother was so nearsighted she couldnt see products on the supermarket shelf without her glasses. How could she possibly make out the print on a forehead sixty miles away? My mother answered my unspoken question because she could hear it rattling around in my brain. "A mother always knows," she said. "I also brought you some brownies and Rosemary Clooneys latest record release."
I was in a terrible automobile accident in my late twenties. By that time I had moved out of my mothers house to get a little privacy. My mother who always retired promptly at ten with her pot boiler novel and a glass of warm milk, decided to watch the eleven oclock news. She saw a stretcher move across the screen. The body on it was flat as a pile of magazines except for two tremendous feet protruding through the sheet. My mother sat up and shook my father awake. "Get dressed," she said. "We need to get to the hospital. Thats Lynn Ruth."
Time did not diminish my mothers amazing intuition. In fact, it became sharper as I grew older. When I married, she read my impending divorce right through my bridal veil and when I began my job search, she knew the results of my interviews before I received the letters of rejection. When I moved to California in 1980, I was once again victim of a violent tragedy. I returned from the hospital with stitches in my forehead and legs, two black eyes and bruises all over my body. I staggered into my bedroom and the telephone rang. It was my mother. "Lynn Ruth," she said. "Tell me what happened."
Five years later my mother succumbed to cancer. Although I called her every night I did not go to her until one day, my urge to see her overwhelmed me. I called the airlines and returned home the next day. My mother was on her death bed. She was so small I could barely locate her among the pillows, sheets and instruments that were keeping her alive. She recognized me at once and held out her wasted arms to embrace me. "Oh, Lynnie," she whispered. "How did you guess how much I wanted you here?"
"I read it on your forehead," I said through my tears.
"In California?" asked my mother.
I realized then that all women have mothers but only a few of them are lucky enough to become daughters in time. I hugged my mother and I nodded. "A daughter always knows," I said.