Monday 25 October 2004
Happiest of Birthdays to you, memom
Today is my mother's birthday. She is a Saturday's Child and true to the prediction, she has worked hard for her living. She raised up us kids right. Working long hard hours at the sewing factory, then bringing work home with her. I remember helping her finish the shirts, trimming loose threads, turning them, folding them or hanging them, and we would talk in between bursts of the loud machine's operations and the sharp clicking of her snippers.
I learned most of my knowledge of geography from our companionable sessions. There was a world map tacked on the wall, above her hemmer (or was it the single-needle, I know it wasn't the over-lock -- that was next to that but under a triangular cut-out between the kitchen and dining/sewing room). That map was color-coded and showed capitals and seas, oceans, continents, latitutes, longitudes, and sometimes in paratheses, the former name was noted. That's how I learned that Istanbul is the same as Constantanoble (ok, so that mightn't be the correct spelling...). Actually, I learned that tidbit, because my mom would sing the ditty.
Sometimes I think she despairs that I am not hearing her. I listened, thinking, tumbling the thought til its polish blinds me like some nugget of wisdom gleaned from a rough pile of similar jewels. In fact, mom's words came to mind today, when some friends and I were discussing individuation, defining yourself as a separate person, not soley a possession of someone else. I thought of how mom said that first she was her parent's daughter, then she was her husband's wife, and became known as her children's mother...not existing as a separate woman in her own right, until she joined the work force again in her 30's.
I thought about mom suggesting that the cliffnotes are indeed lighter than tombs of encyclopedias if I feel I absolutely must carry about my baggage of the past. I thought of mom telling me that you just can't please some people all the time, or even all people some of the time, let alone all people all the time...and some folks you just can't please ever, so why knock yourself out? I remember mom telling me that beauty was only skin deep, but ugly was to the bone.
Mom would listen to my endless ramblings, marveling at my ability to pick a conversation up in mid-sentence after a half-hour interruption. She could tell what kind of day I had, by my footfall on the front porch. She would urge me to write and write, because she felt I had a talent for that. She was proud of my grades but never berated me for not doing so well in certain subjects.
She told me that I could do what ever I set my mind to. Except stay away from candles, matches, flames, knives, saws, drills, and other things that might ignite my hair or cut me. She wanted to buy a tank for me to drive, not because of my slow reflexes, but because of the other idiots out there. She wished me well when I moved upteen times, setting off yet another new adventure. She supported me emotionally while I adjusted to those newnesses. She never despaired of my chosen company (well, unless she had very good reason to do so). She never said, "I told you so" when I finally would realize what a loser I had been involved with for so long.
Mom was a blonde child, pale skinned, white hair, beautiful smile. She was quite the looker in highschool, wearing miniskirts well. She wore "hosey-pants" when I was small. I would lean against her thigh and rub her nylon covered knee gently, intoning in awe...hosey pants.
She soothed my tears as I wept over the hardest crush I ever had. Telling me that some day, he would want me just as badly (if not moreso) and I might not be available. She was right, she usually is.
Mom is my model in many ways. She is an incredible woman. She is a learned lady. She is my mom.