Tuesday, February 15, 2005


It wasn’t my intention to get too serious, much less personal, here, but I’m currently admiring some of my other friends (yo what up Anne & Jackie) for their blogging candor, so perhaps on occasion, like today, I will make exceptions.

I read an article last night by a woman whose mother had died. The focus was on the mother’s clothes, how fashion was sort of the only connection they’d had in their troubled relationship. There were bits of it I related to, if I am to tell the whole truth, but the writer said some really unkind things about her dead mother, in my opinion, and I was inclined to write another of my famous unimportant letters to the editor until that thing came into my head about if you’re pointing the finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you. I’ve written extensively about my (now dead) mother, in fiction. She was an amazing character, and I feel slightly off the hook because she had read some of the stuff I’d written about her when she was still alive, and my recollection is that she was amused. When she asked if she was always going to turn up in my stories, I said, “If you keep giving me material!” which cracked her up. Anyway, the point is, I guess I just hope that I’ve portrayed my mother in all her wonderful complexity, and that it comes across, above anything, as intended with the deep affection and loss that I still feel, six years later. The thing that you get after they’re gone, or I did, anyway, is that if she were still here, or rather if she were to come back, I’d do my best to be a better daughter. (Versus, you know, continuing to blame her for my problems when she’s not even here to defend herself.) I was fortunate enough that through the terrible circumstance of her illness I was able to (work toward) putting my expectations of her aside and just loving her while she was still here, and it is unfortunate that it took this illness for me to do so. I suspect my relationship was not so much “troubled” as this other woman’s was, as it was just another complicated mother-daughter relationship. We had our moments, but never, from childhood to adulthood, did I want another mom. She was glamorous, talented, funny and loving, and she may have had her personal demons, but what-ever to myself. Who doesn’t. My mom and I had an amazing time, traveling the world and taking in culture, and in the small things at home, teaching me old-school stuff like sewing and knitting (not cooking so much, sorry Ben) and for every fight we had there were fifty other times when we got the giggles so hard my mom would have to cross her legs so she wouldn’t pee her pants. All this to say that it got me to thinking that my mom, whatever I might have thought when I was, you know, twenty-four, did a fairly spectacular job with me. If I do say so myself. And guess what, I am so much like her it’s not even funny. Or maybe it is. Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a shout-out to my dad.


hutchie said...

"alls" i know is that after i read year-at-a-glance i called my mom. immediately. that oughta do her proud.

Erika said...

This is a dilema. I've published something that was not flattering re: my relationship with my mother, and someone quoted it on their website, and she googled me and found it. We have never had an honest conversation about this, and I would prefer to avoid doing so. Apparently Anais Nin's perspective (passed on to me by Brigid Murphy)is that you wait for people to die to write about them. Or there's the "Veil of Fiction." My Mom is, of course, a very wise and acerbic lady. I have told her that she is entirely responsible for my sensibility, but not to worry, that I won't tell anyone. Our relationship has improved.

Nice design on the page. Is it a template?

Jackie said...

Yeah. "The Mom thing."

I remember one time (I want to say c. 1997) you and I were talking on the phone after my mom and I were talking on the phone. I was nutting out about something she said or didn't say, and you reminded me to be grateful that she's around to do that stuff.

Then I went and had a baby and I was all pissed off because she didn't drop what she was doing to fawn over my pregnancy. But when she visited Chicago to see the baby I cried when she left. Go figure.

And yes, your mother did a spectacular job.

Gotta go. Aforementioned baby is crying.