There are good things about my mother. She is a good woman. I believe that most people really are good at heart. If I could peel away the layers, goodness would be underneath.
Upon thinking all week about this, I realize that I really am a lot like my mother. She’s a hippie. Creative, open, a liberal and a lover. A breaker of rules, a nurturer. She is wack sometimes reactive and selfish in her choices. She’s a shopper, a spender, a binge dieter. Spontaneous. A listener. And I know she loves me.
I have fond memories of her when I was a child. Memories of washing dishes together and me talking to her about the things I learned that day. We used to write in our journals together. That’s one thing that I am grateful that she instilled in her children – to be writers. Recently, she let me read her account of my birth in her journal. She went right to it. October, 1981. How special that those memories and events were preserved. I have memories of music. There was always music in our home. She taught me the violin starting at a very young age. She had a huge following of students actually, while we were living overseas in Riyadh. She plays many instruments. The violin (fiddle), piano, guitar, accordion and others that I don’t even know the name of. She valued music enough to pass her skills on to her children. And while I don’t play any instrument anymore (I cannot believe she let me quit!) I do enjoy singing and listening/appreciating all genre’s of music. My favorite while a youngster: Abba, Marty Robins, Madonna, Blondie, Johnny Cash, and others always were streaming throughout our home.
I have memories of swimming with her. Well, actually- she would walk the perimeter of the pool doing her aerobics to “Deep Breakfast” while we kids splashed all around. She even made my sister and I mermaid tail swim suits one summer. I’m not sure how we didn’t drown wearing those things! My tail was pink, sister’s tail was blue. It was always sad when we had to take them off at the end of the day. My mother let us go night swimming a few times. We may or may not have been naked.
She sewed. Living outside of this grand old U S of A forced her into creating knock off of the real deal. She made Barbie houses, Christmas stockings, most of our clothes, toys and whatever else she could concoct. Brilliant. Who needs a pattern? She made play dough, bread, “apple box” horses and other things out of cardboard boxes. She even made Cabbage Patch Kids. I still have little Black Stevie.
We had animals. Oh did we have animals. Our compound in Saudi…oh man. The cats. No wonder my dad hates them! And to think that Mama Bushy Tail (yes, that was her name) had her kittens right under dads desk! We had box turtles, gerbils, parakeets, a cockatoo, even a DUCK. (Oh, Wilber…who one day laid an egg and then became Wilberina!) Our parakeets flew free in an all tile bathroom, and to clean it, we would just strap sponges to our feet, hook up the hose and have a soap fest.
The things she let us do created my childhood. It really was amazing. She was there in the beginning, when it counted. Not that her presence ever stopped counting but the foundation was there. And perhaps that was why her leaving was so difficult. She had always been there. And then she was not. My mother did a 180, and it hurt. I’ll cherish my memory of her when she was around. For she taught me how to be a child. She taught me how to help my own children be children. She loved us all, and still does I have no doubt.
I’ll hang on to that.