(Since she’s traveling tomorrow, I’m putting this out a day early. I wouldn’t want my mom to wreck while reading a blog, especially on Mother’s Day!)
Over the years I’ve written about my mom, Crispi, quite a bit. Usually this has been in context to her service as a grandmother – coming to stay after both kids were delivered, Xmases, beach trips. But prior to that, she was my mother.
Crispi wasn’t a June Cleaver cookies-after-school mom. I remember once when she was working as a presenter going into public schools giving talks on sex ed. She would put condoms on bananas to demonstrate proper usage. She left one on the kitchen counter one night when I was having a sleepover. My best friend and I were totally scandalized. We were probably in 4th
Apart from rubberized bananas, she did try to do the meal thing. Only now –as I sometimes struggle to feed my own children – do I understand having to do that when every fiber of your being is screaming that you just want to take a bath and go to bed rather than try to invent some nutritious toddler cuisine that your children will eat only to have it land in the trash. When I went vegetarian for years, she really tried. She bought cookbooks and tofu. What she failed to realize was that I was doing teenage vegetarianism – a meal plan in which Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was not only the keystone, but the major staple. Tofu was for chumps.
Once when I was going through some serious tween angst, she and my stepdad at the time “ran away from home.” I remember vividly the note she left: “We’re running away from home so you don’t have to.” I wish I still had that note. And that’s the kind of move I plan on borrowing when Stella and Felix need it.
There wasn’t loads of money, especially early. I learned to make that mac and cheese mentioned above from her. We never took big fancy vacations. We would travel down to Meridian Mississippi to see her parents – my grandparents – and all the other family in that area. It was a long haul from Pennsylvania. We made the trip almost every year, I think. Shit. I’m afraid to take my kids more than 4 hours away from home. There was a trip to Niagara once, and my graduation trip to NYC where we saw Les Mis on Broadway. Later on we had a blast in New Mexico (when I stopped pining for my boyfriend) and San Antonio.
We were proud. We were tacky. Yes, we went out in public that way.
When I got divorced and was just sort of broken, my mom was my knight. She rode in, helped me clean up my house and life. She bought lamps and aromatherapy spray. Anything that could make things feel better and happier. She then took me to Hot Springs Arkansas for a hot bath and massage. Sure, I felt violated, but it was a good thing (see https://larva225.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-bum-will-come-out-tomorrow/
for full details).
In the past several years, she’s occasionally breezed into my kitchen to make “meatloaf eggballs,” basically generic Scotch-eggs, which was one meal I adored as a kid. Now it’s a big of a gut-bomb, but that’s ok.
Way back when, I used to buy my mom a plant or two to put in the yard for Mother’s Day. We both are fairly practical types that understand that a living plant or flower is better than some ephemeral (and overpriced) bunch of roses or carnations. Now she has no yard. Furthermore, being a full-time RV’er, she has no space for tchotchkes or knick-knacks or plaster casts of kids’ handprints painted in garish colors. Also being an RV’er, she’s now several states away on this day. There really isn’t much – anything – I can do with her or buy for her.
So mom, this blog’s for you. Happy Mother’s Day! I love you.
Last month in NOLA. I guess I did technically buy her some Cafe du Monde….