05/12/2013 08:26 am ET Updated Jul 12, 2013


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Such a short, common word. A word you've said, heard or both countless times.

Yet the images and emotions it conjures are quite powerful.

This might sound awful, although it is not intended to: it's rare that I think of my mother. I just finished reading something (thanks, Amy) that not only reminded me of my mother, it made me think of the word Mom.

The images and emotions were of comfort, security and love.

I remember being sick as a child, with one of those big ones like mumps, measles or chicken pox. My mom and dad were having people over on a Saturday night, but it was an all adults and no kids occasion so there was no reason to cancel it. I was nearing the end of whatever it was, but still not fit for company. Mom set me up with blankets and pillows on the couch downstairs, where I could just watch TV.

My mom was a great cook and loved to entertain. On this particular night she was making pepper steak with rice, a hot recipe in suburbia at the time. Basically I think it was a flank steak cut into strips and cooked slowly in a sauce made of tomato, onion and green pepper. It's not that I didn't like those things, but Mom knew it wasn't my favorite. So besides making all that food for a house full of people, she made meatballs, mashed potatoes and a gravy from the sauce just for me.

When I fell off my bike and scraped my hands and knees, she would make a big deal out of cleaning the wounds, putting on band aids and giving me a kiss and hug to make me feel better.

If I was upset about something that happened at school or on the block, she would ask me what was wrong first, listen to me and calm me down before ever so gently asking me what I may have done wrong.

When I was being a brat and I was sent to my room without dinner, she would always cave and give me a bowl of soup before bedtime.

If I had a spelling test she would give me time to study, then make a game out of quizzing me. The only way to end the game was to spell all of the words correctly and consecutively; if I missed even one we would start all over.

When I had nightmares she would hear my cries and be by my side to comfort me when I awoke.

She made the best lunches you could fit into my Evel Knievel lunchbox. I was the envy of my peers and was constantly asked if I wanted to trade.

If it was raining and I couldn't go outside to play, she would let me take whatever I wanted from the pantry. Not to eat, but to make realistic looking fake blood so playing with my G.I. Joe, Johnny West or army men was extra fun.

It's rare that I think of my mother; I'm always happy when I do.

I miss you, Mom.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Best Lessons From Mom