Friday, April 17, 2020
It's not mother's day
Someone on Facebook started it. She posted a photo of her mom with something sentimental - which is fine, don't get me wrong, sentimental is good - but it's not something I've ever applied to thoughts of my mom.
As you can tell from this photo, she was...interesting. This was at age 17-18, only a year or two out of her ugly duckling phase (really, she did have one!) and a few months before her first marriage. Which she did because she was bored.
I've been dining out on Mom stories forever, and people always ask when I'm going to write about her. Memoir? Fiction? She's always been stranger than fiction, the kind of character that, if you create, people would say was impossible.
She was impossible. She also raised me, loved me to distraction - partly, I think, because she never wanted kids and if she was going to have one, she would love that child so hard she wouldn't remember what she'd given up for it - and embarrassed me for several decades running.
All that said, she was an original, and I wouldn't be the person I am today (or the storyteller, for that matter), without having had her in my life as inspiration, mortification, and she-who-I-would-not-become.
Honestly, is there anything more judgmental than a teenage girl? Especially if there's something legitimate to be judged? I don't think so. Somehow we got through it, and her phase of "I'm not your mom, I'm your best friend," and by the time she died in 2006, we were mostly friends, and only irritated the crap out of each other on a regular basis.
But look at that picture. Look closely. And then imagine yourself as a teenager, with a mom who, at 40, still pretty much resembled that photo (but blonde!) and dressed like that photo. Thus, my mortification. When your pre-adolescent crushes give you Valentines to give to your mom, she's doing something wrong. Or in her eyes, something right. Male attention, even of the 12-year-old variety, was a good thing.
I can't write about her yet. I can't be totally objective, and honestly, I don't know if I'm a good enough writer yet to do her justice.