Sunday, May 11, 2014

I remember Mama. Never called her that. We called her mom.

She called her mother Mama in a way none of us ever called her Mom. Grandma was old when I met her (go figure). Probably the age I am now, so not that old. My guess is that she was a charming and dynamic leader of her crew. Quite the prankster as I recall. But not to be questioned. 7 girls. Mom was 2 of 7. 1 of 7 was assigned the household tasks; cooking, cleaning etc. Mom was assigned to herding the rest of the . . . well the herd.
Once her sister was big
enough to lead her that is.

Since Mom was all but blind, till she was seven years old when they could afford glasses, 3 of 7 was her guide. By the time my sisters and me came along she had had enough of child care. She knew the process and her duty.

Mom was a person with a lot of presence. Charming as could be in social situations. She doted on us in her own way. No charm in the way she ruled the roost at home. A very judgmental person. Sharp and concise. Not in the passive aggressive conditional love kind of way either. Just straight up judgmental. Barked orders calmly or like a drill Sergeant. Orders that were to be obeyed. She never did that with Dad but he loved her unreservedly and did whatever she wanted anyway. Mostly. I was her favorite so I could leverage her with wheedling. Older (10 yrs older) sister feared and respected her. Before Dad was in the picture Mom and sis were pioneers of single parenthood together. It just wasn't done in 1950. Younger sister (6 yrs younger), by the time she was ten and onward got the worst of it. Alcoholism. Mom was a mean drunk. Never used profanity or violence. Still her resonant voice and acid tongue could cut through steel. Younger sis will not be forgiving her anytime soon.

Mom died in February of 96 a day or two before her 67th birthday.

Mother’s day (today) is much like Valentines Day. It has a different origin but for the most part has been co opted by commercialism. It is a sweet sentiment that I share freely with all the mothers out there.

As for myself it makes me wonder why I never think of dear old Mom. No sweet emotional remembrances. No remembrances of specific bad events either. Nothing really except the wondering. Despite her authoritarian persona when doling out instructions she was never a cold person. The whole judgmental thing was kinda cold. Free with hugs and kisses in short bursts. Never intentionally cruel except when drunk. Kind and generous to me. Like I said I was the favorite. I know somehow in this mix of things she is responsible for my awkwardness in getting close to people. I tend to think that has more to do with AD/HD*. Probably a combination. I’m old enough to have grown out of whatever happened as a kid. It’s on me to have solved any problems in my upbringing by this time. I’m 3 times 18+.

I’ll have to settle for a static list in my mind of many lists of what I have to thank you for Mom. Just nothing that sweet or sentimental. I take that back. I still have a couple of the clothes you made for me with your sewing machine. Very dear to me until the day they wear out and I throw them away. Who am I kidding? The worn out ones are still in the closet. Tangible, artifacts of your love generosity and affection.

Happy mother’s day Mom.

*or whatever clinical name there is for my cognitive uniqueness.

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