Photo: Lindsey Turner
A normal Mom won’t make you wear a jacket if you tell her you’re too hot with it on.
A Greek Mom will make you wear a jacket, even if you’re sweating in it, because she tells you that she is getting cold just by looking at you, so you need to wear it so she won’t be cold.
A normal Mom will advise you on how to make good choices when planning for your future.
A Greek Mom will have your entire future planned for you by the time you’ve graduated high school. From what college you will attend, to what job you will have, to where you will live, to who you will marry and how many children you will have. All of which, you will have done before you become an old lady and turn 30.
A normal Mom will prepare a turkey with gravy and stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and greens, followed by pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner.
A Greek Mom will prepare a roasted leg of lamb, spanakopita, pastitsio, dolmades, fasoulada, salada with plenty of kalamata olives and feta chese on the table, followed by baklava, galaktoboureko, koulourakia and kourabiethes for Thanksgiving dinner.
A normal Mom will tell you to get home safe after visiting her.
A Greek Mom will lecture you for ten minutes on how to be safe while getting home, and to make sure you call her the second you get home, so she knows you got home safe. She will then call you multiple times on your way home to ask if you have already gotten home safe.
A normal Mom will allow you to sleep over at your friends’ houses on the weekends when growing up.
A Greek Mom would never allow you to spend the night away from your home at a stranger’s house especially because she doesn’t know the parents and what kind of home they keep. Unless, of course, it is at another Greek family’s house, because they know what kind of home you will be staying at, and that you will be provided with the proper amount of food and care.
A normal Mom will give you a reasonable curfew to be home by when you’re in high school.
A Greek Mom won’t give you a curfew, she will just say, “don’t be home too late.” But it’s not even 9:00 and she is calling your cell phone every ten minutes telling you it’s getting late and when are you coming home?
When a normal Mom takes your family to Church, she doesn’t expect your family to be out of the house for more than a couple of hours, tops.
When a Greek Mom that takes your family to Church, she gets everyone ready for an all day affair, because you will most likely end up going to someone’s house afterwards and staying for dinner.
A normal Mom will tell you to finish the food on the plate because there are starving children around the world.
A Greek Mom will tell you to finish your food on the plate, and then recite a Greek tragedy of a monologue on how she was a starving child growing up in the village during the war years. And that she came here to this country so you wouldn’t have to starve as well.
A normal Mom will allow both her sons and daughters to choose where they want to attend college.
A Greek Mom will allow her son to go to college on the other side of the country and even spend a year studying abroad in a country of his choice. But a Greek Mother will only allow her daughter to go to a college that she can commute to from home. If she wants to study abroad, she can, so long as it is in Greece, close by to family that can record her every move, report back and set her up with her future husband.
A normal Mom doesn’t even bother planning a family vacation once you have hit your early twenties.
A Greek Mom will expect you to join the family vacation she plans every summer, even when you are thirty. Which, by the way, will be to Greece to visit relatives where you will have to sit at someone’s kitchen table, drinking coffee for hours on end every day, instead of going to the beach, seeing the sights, or going to the parties.
A normal Mom will allow you to choose what after-school activity you want to join (e.g., soccer, basketball, music, dance lessons).
A Greek Mom will drag you kicking and screaming to Greek School two to three times a week, while the rest of your friends are dancing or playing soccer.
When the food is served on a special occasion at a normal Mom’s house, she usually tells everyone to enjoy their meal, leave it at that and let people start eating.
When the food is served on a special occasion with a Greek Mom, she tells you not to start eating until she takes her camera out and photographs everyone around the table because she has to “make sure to get the food in the picture!”
A normal Mom will say, “Say cheese!” before she takes a picture of you and your friends.
A Greek Mom will say, “Say feta cheese!” before she takes a picture of you and your friends.
A normal Mom will have a picture of you with Mickey Mouse at Disney World on your refrigerator from your last family vacation as a kid.
A Greek Mom will have a picture of you on a donkey in the middle of the xorio on the refrigerator from your last family vacation there as a kid.
When a normal Mom meets your new friends and their parents, she might share a story revealing your proudest moments or greatest accomplishments.
When a Greek Mom meets your new friends and their parents, she will definitely tell stories of your most embarrassing and mortifying moments, because she thinks that it’s the greatest way to show her love for you.
A normal Mom will walk guests to the door, say goodbye, open the door, walk the guests out, give a wave and another goodbye, then go back inside and close the door.
A Greek Mom will walk guests to their cars, kiss them on both cheeks at least three times each in between hugs, then stand at the foot of the driveway, see them off, and wait until she can’t see the car anymore before she goes back inside the house.
A normal Mom will send you home with a thoughtful yet modest care package and maybe some freshly baked cookies after visiting her for the weekend.
A Greek Mom will stuff the entire back seat of your car and trunk with boxes and bags full of groceries, cleaning products, toiletries, bed sheets, bath towels, an assortment of her freshly baked Greek pastries, gallons of olive oil, one cooler full of fresh meats and seafood, and another cooler full of cheeses, yogurt and other dairy products, after visiting her for the weekend. She would even give you some of the old furniture from the attic or basement if that fit in your car as well.