21 July 2010

1 mère et fille et merde

in my family, my mother is known for many things.

eating the warm middles out of loaves of bread as a child and returning from the bakery bearing nothing but crust husks.

having the messiest closet of all our blood relatives.

herman.

losing irreplaceable family jewels in improbably inelegant places like the culman, alabama cracker barrel.

the christmas she forgot all my father's presents.

and that one time when upon getting in the car after playing in the park, she imperiously announced, "SOMEONE has stepped in poop," only to look down and realize there was dog shit all over her own shoe.

my father and i are the same. my mother and i are very different.

she hates this. she told me in paris last year. she sat on one twin bed and i sat on the other and, as wheel of fortune france (la roue à la fortune français!) played in the background, she told me she feels left out. and that it makes her sad. and that made me sad.

but i can't help it. my father and i are the same. my mother and i are very different.

i think.

that is the conventional wisdom, but i don't really know anymore because there are times when i open my mouth and my mother comes out and i don't know what that means. i've a sneaking suspicion it means i maybe don't really know my mother.

because sometimes, even after all these years, she blows me away. my father and i have discussed this. in one of the many discussions where we analyze our similarities and how she is so weird, we have discussed this very thing. the rare and yet oh so delightful times when she has gone out of character and it's like the world stops while you try to reconcile everything you know about her with what she just said.

these moments are delicious. we savor accordingly.

last saturday- as i was talking to her on the phone while walking a mile and a half in 90 degree heat and impractical footwear- my mother strongly encouraged me to move to france.

my mother, who thinks i live too close to The Edge. who shudders to think there's less than ten grand in my savings account. (oh, how she would tremor to know it presently stands at $142.) my mother, who did not want me to move so far as boston, that same woman told me to move to france.

like, she said, you should do it. NOW.

as she said this, a bead of sweat dripped down my cheek and i briefly mistook it for a tear.

in my family, my mother is known for many things. she is practical and logical and faithful and fiercely loyal but (and, yes, that is the but of a bad daughter) sometimes i can't help but feel her love holds me back. it's many cautions and concern for details being in direct conflict with the capricious fancy for adventure that is the genetic imprint of my dad.

and yet, there are times. when we're both wrist-deep in her jewelry boxes oooooooooohing and ahhhhhhing the same baubles we've ooooooooooohed and ahhhhhhhhed over a hundred thousand times before. there are small moments. atop tall buildings. before baked goods. when she slips her hand in mine. when she lets go and says do it. preciously tiny little moments where, in the presence of her love of small beauties, the whole world opens up. and i know and she knows that all that has come before has served only to bring us to where we are and we see everything that lies ahead glitter with possibility.