So my mom just flew into town. On her broom. Just kidding. I love my mama. She’s beautiful and smart and off-the-charts creative. She’s also someone who has fought for me and who has thrown me under the bus. In others words, it’s a complicated relationship – like most mothers and daughters, I suppose.
She’s in town visiting in honor of Sweet Pea’s 10th birthday. I love how she has formed such a bond with each of my daughters, and I see in their eyes the pure, unadulterated awe they have for her. I suppose I have some of that as well on some level. Being raised by such a strong personality – and who often viewed my accomplishments in terms of how they related to her own strengths, or in easier phrasing ‘like mother, like daughter’ – was a heady challenge for me. Plus, she was psychic – really, I’m not kidding – and not only knew a lot of what was going to happened before it did, but always knew when I was trying to get away with something (which was often).
I see Caren trapped in a car, with a boy on top of her. Again!
As I grew and became my own force of nature, I needed to learn to make my own choices – and mistakes. And I sure did the latter. Weak-minded boy toys, flunking out of college, my own bout with bulimia…it’s amazing to me that any of us survive our teens and twenties. Through it all my mom has been my friend, counselor, judge and jury. On a lighter note, we have a very similar aesthetic, we always end up ordering the same thing at restaurants, and cry and laugh at the same points in a movie. She’s an introvert who really doesn’t like people as much as they like her, but we can sit and talk for hours without ever getting bored of one another. I know that I’m one of the few people who really get her, to the point where I can walk into the room, take one look at her face and know if something’s wrong. That has been a tremendous comfort and annoyance for her through the years. You can flip that same sentence around because the same is true for me.
My mom’s an accomplished artist and gourmet chef (she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris), but does little of the former and hardly any of the latter as she gets older. As much as I know she’s proud of the person I am, I get the feeling she’s still waiting to see what “great” thing I’m going to do with my life. Her latest line is, “You’ll be forty before you know it. The forties are your time to really make something of your life.” Yeah, no pressure, moms. I know she means well, but what she doesn’t realize is that I’ve internalized it all and already hear that same voice inside my head, yapping at a fairly continuous rate. All daughters – no matter what their relationship is with their mothers – will ALWAYS hear that voice in their head. I do my best to temper that double-sworded demon by reminding myself that a person’s value is not in a resúme, but in the relationships formed and fostered throughout a life. That said, I still want to offer her a book deal or a shiny new job title as an offering on the family altar. I can’t help it. I’m a girl, which means I’m still cursed with the desire to please.
Anyway, she’s here and will be gone again before I know it. And I’m learning to appreciate it all, because I’m old enough now to know that someday, she’ll be gone for good. And I already know, I will grieve for her the hardest.
* Referencing the song from which Broadway smash? If you guessed “Spring Awakening,” you know your showtune stuff.