rosefox posted about her mother today and I thought that was a super sweet thing to do. So I thought, since I was at my grandmother’s for the weekend, I would get a current picture of the three of us together. I don’t remember the last time I got one, and I think it’s important.
I am so incredibly grateful for the women who shaped my life. I had amazing people to look up to, and I still do.
When I was a very little girl, my mother was the center of my universe, the perfect domestic goddess mother of legend. I used to brag to complete strangers about how beautiful my mother was. She sewed my clothes, she gardened in our backyard, she cooked and canned and pickled and brewed. We had homemade yogurt and homemade beer, homemade candy and homemade fruit roll-ups, and a thousand cookies in two dozen varieties every Christmas.
The year I turned nine, my mother told me she was going back to college. I freaked out– bawled and sobbed and begged her not to go, because, in my world, college meant going away from your family and living in a dorm. It took a lot of coaxing and cajoling and explaining for me to finally understand that college didn’t have to be like that, that she would be going to classes while I was at school and sometimes in the evening, and that she would still be there. And so, I entered into the world of part-time latchkey kid, with a key to the back door of our house on a white plastic heart keychain, and my mother entered into the world of elementary education.
It was a long time before I realized that she did it for me. Not just in the sense that she wanted me and my brother to have a better life. She saw what happened to me as a child, the difference it made when I had a teacher who understood me versus a teacher who didn’t, the difference between the years when I faked stomachaches and the years when I got up eagerly every morning, and she wanted to be that teacher who understood for other kids.
My mother has taught kids, she’s taught teachers, and now she’s a principal. I know she misses being in the classroom sometimes, but she is amazing at what she does and I admire her in ways I can’t even describe. I wish I could be like her, but her talents and my talents are extremely different.
And she is amazing at home, too. My mother is one of my closest friends, which isn’t something a lot of people can say, and I know that. My mother is the person who cultivated my love of food and my love of books, she’s the one who introduced me to old movies and the one who played Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan for me as a child (I still remember discovering what whores on 42nd street were, and when I realized that Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35 wasn’t about executing someone by throwing stones at them). She’s the one who let me drink beer well before I was of legal age; she’s the one who taught me how to bake. She’s the one who keeps me stocked in liquor that would be the envy of a lot of bars. I owe a lot of facets of my personality and talents and my sense of humor to my father, but I owe most of my tastes and loves to my mother.
My grandmother was born two years before the Great Depression, and I grew up hearing her stories about eating pasta and beans for every meal, every day. She grew up in a time and a place and a culture where she couldn’t follow her aspirations to be a professional artist, and instead was a mother to four children.
She has impeccable taste and an impeccable eye, and even now, at 84 years old, she is one of those people who never leaves the house without looking like a fashion plate. She spent years as the official chaperone to Miss New York, and then finally spent a number of years as an interior decorator. Her house is still like a little decorative fairyland inside. Now, she is the manager of a high-end consignment shop, and she brings me clothing home from the store a lot of the time. It’s a little odd, having a grandmother who knows more about fashion and is more trendily dressed than you are all the time. I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to put clothes on without my grandmother.
Every time we pile into the car to go home to New York from my grandparents’ house in Delaware, my grandmother starts to cry. I wish we didn’t live so far away; I wish I didn’t have to see her cry every time I leave. I wish she didn’t have to cry.
My mother moved out and away from her mother when she graduated from college; she has never seen her parents more than a few times a year. I see my parents a few times a month, and I am so incredibly grateful for that.
I forgot today was Mother’s Day. Not in the usual sense of “crap! I completely forgot about Mother’s Day, I need to buy flowers right away!” but in the sense of the fact that I wished them both a Happy Mother’s Day so many times yesterday that I forgot it was today and not yesterday. Silly, silly.
Mirrored from Antagonia.net.