Sunday, May 11, 2008


So, it's not September, her birthday month, nevertheless it is a day for my Mama. For me too, I suppose. A day set aside for many of us to reflect upon Motherly love. Some of my friends have lost their moms; to cancer, to circumstances of estrangement and bordered lines of longitude and latitude. I consider myself so lucky, very. My Mom has been here to set standards and examples for me as a woman, an artist, a creative resource, a teacher, an advocate, a writer, a wife and yes, quite profoundly, as a mother.

Married at 25, a young Pamela didn't rush into having children right away. Half of her 9 year wait was fostered by my Dad, a guy who was a bit scared of babies and fatherhood perhaps. Nevertheless, after having his first, my sister, he often tossed around the idea of a family of 10. Not for this career girl, my mom is delighted by myself and my sister, respectively. My point, however, is that she was a woman not pressured by society's need for her to embark upon her duties of procreation, ASAP. I think the reason she and my dad are still together and still make each other laugh, can be traced to the fact that they got to grow up together, to be in a relationship for a decade prior to learning how their newborn circumstances would inevitably shift their lives' dynamic. Another reason I respect my mom is that she knows how to take care of herself, and yes, others too. Growing up, we always knew that after she got home from work, it was her turn, time allotted to soak in the bath tub and take phone calls from her girlfriends. (A thought that still drives me crazy today: safety hazard much? She still does this, and it makes me crazy thinking that she's shaving her legs while holding a cordless phone in the other!) . . . but aside from the cautionary element to this tale, I must say, that after her solo time, she was refreshed and ready to do parental chores and to give her family the attention they required. Like making sure me and my sis had a glass of milk with dinner and some green bell pepper slices with our spaghetti. Like making sure lunches were made, and homework was done . . . and hearing about our little kid days.

My mom left yesterday to head home with my dad. I was sad to see them go, am sad she's not here, just reading and relaxing in my small home today. It's a bit overwhelming when visitors call, parents especially, and we can't necessarily slow down enough to really soak them up. I love going home for this reason, there aren't tours or time we feel needs to be filled with something, some activity, some . . . event. And don't get me wrong, our events were great; Legion of Honor to see the Annie Lebovitz exhibit, dinner at a favorite carnivorous friendly Hayes Valley beer hall. One thing that did remind me of our time as mother and daughter at home are the articles and clippings from brochures, magazines and newspapers that she collects for me. One stapled cluster includes: "10 Commandments For Total Happiness,"8 sex and love things men are right about," (Pamela, wow?!) and "Ever feel like you're drowning in debt?" I must say, I cannot wait to finish cleaning my apartment and then read each of these gems from my Mama.

So, here's to Moms. To their love, their craziness, their unique ways of caring for us, be it from afar, in the present, or memories from the past. I can only imagine what motherhood will feel like . . . it's such a natural but thoroughly strange idea to me. To give birth, to adopt, to inherit, to gain or acquire children however they might find us, I can't fathom how intense the relationship will be. Caring for a child who depends fully on what we can provide them. I ponder the idea of how we are responsible for their well being, and yet still must focus on our own. Kudos Mom, what a balance you've struck! I hope you will give me lessons if I'm ever so lucky to effect a son's or daughter's life the way you've helped me shape mine.


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