My mom is long dead now but whenever she would eat something tart or sour she would yell “never waste a pucker!” and grab one of us kids and give us a big smooch. Anyone else have memories like that about their moms they would like to share?

Growing up, there were countless moments with my mom that have become treasured memories, and her quirky habits always brought a smile to our faces. One of my fondest memories is of my mom, now long gone, exclaiming, “Never waste a pucker!” whenever she ate something tart or sour. She’d then grab one of us kids and plant a big smooch on our cheeks. This ritual was a delightful mix of surprise and affection, and it’s something I still remember vividly.

My mom had an extraordinary way of making the mundane magical. The first time I saw her do this, I was probably about five years old. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and she had just bitten into a slice of lemon. Her face puckered up, and I watched, half in awe, half in confusion. Then came the inevitable, “Never waste a pucker!” and before I knew it, she was leaning over to give me a big, smacking kiss. It turned what could have been an ordinary afternoon into a moment of pure joy.

These small, seemingly insignificant acts of love and playfulness have left a lasting impression on me. Now, at 60, I often find myself reflecting on those times, cherishing the warmth and spontaneity of my mom’s love. It’s these little quirks that made her so unique and special. I’ve shared this story with my own grandchildren, and though they never got to meet their great-grandmother, they feel like they know her through these tales.

Many of us have these kinds of memories about our moms—those little things they did that were uniquely them and left an indelible mark on our hearts. For some, it might be a particular saying or a favorite dish they cooked. For others, it might be a special way they comforted us when we were sad or the unique way they celebrated our successes.

One of my friends, Martha, recently shared a beautiful memory of her mother. Martha’s mom had a habit of singing while she cooked. It wasn’t just any singing; she would belt out old show tunes with the passion of a Broadway star. Martha remembers sitting at the kitchen table doing her homework, listening to her mom’s voice filling the room with warmth and vibrancy. Now, whenever she hears those old songs, she’s transported back to her childhood kitchen, surrounded by the comforting sounds and smells of her mother’s love.

Another dear friend, Bill, often reminisces about his mom’s storytelling. She had a knack for turning even the most mundane events into grand adventures. Bill’s favorite memory is of her recounting the tale of how she once lost her shoe in a mud puddle during a rainstorm and had to hop all the way home on one foot. The way she animatedly described her one-footed journey home, with exaggerated hops and dramatic gestures, always had him in stitches. It’s a story he’s now told his own children countless times, keeping his mother’s spirit and humor alive.

For many of us in our golden years, these memories are more than just nostalgia—they’re a connection to the people who shaped us, who loved us unconditionally, and who left their mark on our lives in the most beautiful ways. They remind us of a time when life was simpler and our moms were our biggest heroes.

As we gather with family and friends, sharing these stories not only keeps our mothers’ memories alive but also helps us pass on the essence of who they were to the next generation. Whether it’s through a favorite recipe, a quirky saying, or a beloved family tradition, these memories are precious threads in the tapestry of our lives.

So, to anyone out there with a quirky mom memory—embrace it, share it, and let it bring you joy. And remember, as my mom always said, “Never waste a pucker!” Those moments of spontaneous love and laughter are the ones that stay with us forever, warming our hearts even on the coldest days.