Mother’s Day 2021

This is my mom and I, sometime in 1976. My resting face has not changed all these years.

I love my mom. I love being a mom. Every Mother’s Day I think about people who didn’t have wonderful mothers or had a particularly difficult childhood, or struggle with becoming a mom or are striving to be a good mom. Or mourn or grieve in any way because of Mother’s Day. And it’s weird because I don’t know how to think of these people without them thinking that I think I’m superior to them. Or that they want pity. Or that I’m gloating. I don’t want to be condescending. I hate comparing, and I hate being compared to.

But I do think it’s important to acknowledge people’s individual weariness. Because I want them to know they’re not alone. Maybe that’s also being condescending. I hope to get this right someday. I’ve found value in listening. That’s probably the best I can do.

I am grateful, though. And I want to acknowledge the amazing women in my life and how they’ve empowered me. My mom is wonderful. Generous, kind. Good teacher. I’m grateful to have known and grown to love my mother-in-law. She showed gentleness, strength, and grace through her last moments on this earth.

I’m grateful for friends who’ve shared wisdom and courage in and beyond their own circumstances.

I’m grateful for my daughter’s continuous patience and endless forgiveness.

I don’t ever want to take any of you for granted.

Little Thought

Today I was thinking what else to pack for my trip to Australia. I then remembered that I should call Becky’s mom to ask what she needs me to bring along to give to Becky. I was imagining myself on the phone, then I envisioned Ms. Bonnie in my apartment, giving me whatever she needed to give me. Then when I visualized giving her a great big hug, I started to cry. I can’t quite grasp how hard it must be to have a child across the world. Thank goodness for Skype. But still, my heart broke a little. There’s no doubt I miss Becky, but I don’t think I can miss Becky the way Becky’s mom misses Becky.

I’m grateful for the perspective.

Happy Mother’s Day

Give me my pain, my blood-curdling scream, and give me a tight grip of my hand and some assuring words, and give me my excruciating pain, rending from the core of my being. Give me my purging, my crowning, the seemingly impossible; give me forced breathing, seething through my teeth, grunts and snorts and spasms; seizing my body, sweating cold, feverishly.

I want what happened to you, what keeps happening to you. Us. Our relationship will go on. I want that needing from need; hope from helplessness and utter dependence. I want to look into new and innocent eyes, listen to new life sleeping and crying and laughing; tend to every need. I want to feed, comfort, cheer. I want to extend the bond and strengthen it and tell stories just like you did. I want to love. Just like you do.

Give me no other mother but you, with your resilient spirit and quiet resolve and beautiful soul. You love, and I love you. I’d like to take back the pain I’ve caused you, but you’ve already used it to turn me into the person I am today. Unique, dorky. You’ve given me life, you heighten the humanity within me. Give me no other mother. Give me only your hugs, your smiles, our memories. One day I will give, too. Just like you do.

Weekend for My Mom

Tori Amos, “Ribbons Undone.” This song is absolutely beautiful. It may seem to focus on the little girl, carefree, playing, picking flowers. But the point of view is the mother’s. She’s watching her daughter, loving her as much as anyone could love. Seeing such potential, realizing her daughter starting to understand what growing up is like. This song is about a mother’s love. That stands on its own, speaks for itself.

Vodpod videos no longer available. She’s a girl
Rising from a shell
Running to spring
It is her time it is her time
Watch her run with ribbons undone

She’s a rose in a lily’s cloak
She can hide her charms
It is her right there will be time
To chase the sun with ribbons undone

She runs like a fire does
Just picking up daises
Comes in for a landing
A pure flash of lightning
Past alice blue blossoms
You follow her laughter
And then she’ll surprise you
Arms filled with lavender

Yes my little pony is growing up fast
She corrects me and says
“You mean a thoroughbred”
A look in her eyes says the battle’s beginning
From school she comes home and cries
I don’t want to grow up Mom, at least not tonight

You’re a girl
Rising from a shell
Running through spring
With summer’s hand in reach now
It is your time
It is your time
So just run with ribbons undone
It is your time yes my angel
It is your time
So just run with ribbons undone

Run run darlin’
Ribbons undone

Excuse Me

Right now I’m not at a computer where I can upload media. So the song list of songs I can’t live without will continue tomorrow. I’ll share a pretty fun story that happened this evening:

I went to Banjo Jim’s on 9th Street and Avenue C to check out Alex Brumel and Janel Elizabeth, the same duo I wrote about on Monday. I arrived about 10 minutes early and I sat by myself waiting for Becky.

A woman sitting at a table not too far away made eye contact with me. We smiled at each other. I then looked away and continued bobbing my head to the background music.

Becky and I were texting each other while she was on the M14 making her way across town. 

May: This place is NOT classy inside, fyi.
Becky: Want to stay or go somewhere else?
May: It’s fine, I’m excited about the band.
You are a really fast walker.
Becky: I’m on the bus. Sorry.
May: Awesome. Anyone cute?
Becky: 7th is pretty far from C. No, no one.
May: 10 Avenues. Like a mile and a half? Elders stopped me tonight. Trying to get me to look at the mysterious exhibit.
Becky: I guess I should have taken the L.

At this point, the woman who smiled at me before approached me and asked, “Excuse me, do you have a blog?”

And I said, “Yes, I do.”

“Did you write something about Alex and Janel?”

“Um, yes?”

“I read what you wrote about them. I’m Alex’s mom. It’s my job to see what kind of exposure my son is getting.” 

[I’m paraphrasing, by the way.]

“Yes, I really like them.”

“Well, you’re a very good writer. Are you a professional?”

(Blushing) “No, it’s just a hobby.”

“I remember reading something about being Filipino and four-ten? When I saw you, I figured it was you.”

We laughed.

I told her she made my day. She thanked me for writing nice things about her son.

She went back to her seat.

Then, I continued texting Becky.

May: I have a story for you. It’s pretty awesome.
So. The guy of the duet. His mom. Just came up to me. Asked me. Do you have a blog?
She said she read the blurb I wrote about them. Asked if I was a professional. I blushed.
Becky: Nice! When was that? Who is this band? I will never get there.
May: Just now. They’re sound checking.

Some people moved from one of the front tables and I grabbed the seats. Alex’s mom called out to me and asked if I wanted to sit by her and her sister, and I told her I was waiting for a friend. A few minutes later Becky walked in.

Then the show began.

They didn’t disappoint. I can’t get enough of their harmonies. And I like the quality of their voices. And their writing is pure and honest. And their songs are appealing and catchy and rich and complex and all it takes is one or two guitars and two voices that blend phenomenally. And, you can now download their songs from iTunes. So you should check them out.

I’m officially a fan. Mostly of Sue.

Just kidding.

Kind of.