Blog #54 Ma Mere

Posted on : 14-05-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized



(published earlier for Mother’s Day)

Mi Madre is not your typical mother. But then again, she’s not your typical anything! And, of course, neither am I.

Before I was a teenage, and my parents were still married, if you had asked me, I would have told you that my mom was the perfect mother. She taught us to swim and to water ski on adult-sized skis in pint-sized bodies. She taught us how to obedience train our German Shepherds (while obedience training us!). She always encouraged us to partake of some kind of art project (such as molding with clay or painting with water colors) and she loved all kinds of music and showed us how to “dance” with your car (doing the jerk and the swing and the twist).

When our parents divorced in 1969 and we moved from a Julie Andrews kind of Middle American life style into an alternative world of airy farmhouses on 40 acres to living in an adobe house in the middle of New Mexico my hormones began to convince me that I needed to get away to somewhere else…anywhere else…but where I was and who I was with at the time. Still, my mother tried her best to connect such as giving me a cockatiel we named Charlie (who lived til the grand ole age of 25!) who traveled back and forth across the country with us as we tried to find our roots. When I finally went off to boarding school at 15, the kind of mom and conversations I went home to on the weekends were filled with discussions about life, death, God and the potential of extra terrestrials We watched Star Trek and Iron Side and listened to Dionne Warwick singing “Promises, Promises”. My mom didn’t teach me how to cook or how to sew on a button but I could talk withl you about most of Ayn Rand’s books , or John Steinbeck, or Isaac Asimov.

We also laughed a lot, through the tears and the screaming and the pouting. My brother and I were gifted with comedians for parents. Both of our parents would patiently let us stretch their faces anyway would could think of and I know I could have gotten my mom on the Letterman show if it had been around then. She can arch either eyebrow up on it’s own at will as well as either side of her upper lip. Now that, folks, takes talent.

When I lived in my mother’s house, I don’t think I appreciated her singing too much. I think when she was 18 or so, she’d been invited by the San Francisco Starlight Opera or something equally as grand, to sing and had been persuaded by her own mother, not too choose that pathway. It wasn’t until I heard a recording of a young Ella Fitzgerald singing “Sentimental Moon” ( ) that I realized why her voice sounded so familiar…ma mere….

Today my mother lives on ten acres on top of a West Texas hill over looking the mountains with my step-father and their great big rusty tabby cat and Great Pyrenees. We talk most everyday on the phone and keep each other posted on life’s goings-on. Recently, my mother became a certified Ham Radio Operator (I think there is a more technical title than that, but I can’t remember it!) and volunteers to do emergency-radio-calling-thingies-with the West Texas Ham Radio club crowd. It did my heart good today to think of she and my step-father enjoying a day trip to the basin of Big Bend to take in the wildflowers and blooming cacti. I don’t know who is more excited about what I’m learning in class each semester, my mother or I , but she is my ringside fan for regular updates. And if the black clouds of gloom descend upon my brain and heart and I feel like I cannot take in another fabricated breath of BS from anyone, mom is the one I call to weave it all into some kind of a scenario that will have us both laughing cautiously at our wicked wicked interpretations.

Finally after all these years, I’ve come to a point in my life (while my mom is still alive) that I can appreciate her for just being who she is and not be disappointed in who she is not. I can also celebrate the parts of me that I obviously have gotten from her (I can arch one eyebrow up into a facial question mark on command!) and be grateful for her Vulcan blood that races inside of me.

Ma Mere. Learning to understand the many facets of who she is is helping me to get closer to understanding who I am.

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