The other day, I was walking the dog. Out of the blue, I had an urge to walk over to my mothers house to say hello. ( Yes, my mother lives 5 blocks from me as of a year ago.) I see her surprising less than you would think, considering our close proximity.
It seemed the perfect spontaneous drop-in time. Late dinner time. My mother lives alone. I was certain I would find her at the round dining room table, at her usual spot. I had a feeling she would be slurping down left-over soup, made long enough ago to make the average eater slightly uncomfortable and squirmy. There would be a salad made from her garden greens (which always taste better than mine) added in would be roasted nuts, and some stinky sort of cheese.
I saw her in my mind as I crossed the street and headed toward her house. She was hunched over a New Norker, her glasses slightly askew.
As I neared her house, I saw that the dining room light on. As I walked closer, I confirmed her spot at the table. I hopped up 4 stairs to the stoop. Knocked. She startled, looked up from her magazine, squinting at me. Recognized me, and smiled. She shot up from her chair. Stumbled over her feet as she headed to the door to unlock it and let me in.
She hugs me tight. She has food on her face. She invites me in and asks if she can give me a foot rub. “Mom. I can’t stay long. I’m just out walking the dog, and wanted to swing by to say hi…….I knew you would be reading the New Yorker. ” She let’s out a loud laugh.
Then, she proceeds to ask me if I want to know what she was reading about. Before I can answer, she grabs the article and dives into it. I peer at the paper. Oh no. She is going to read me the entire thing, keeping me captive to her weird agenda of sophisticated high-brow New Yorker humor. Shit. I start to sweat. Should I run? The door is right behind me. The dog paces anxiously.
Minutes later, we are still standing awkwardly in her entryway, me holding the dogs leash, waiting for her to stop reading and engage with me in a normal motherly way. She is still reading the article that I didn’t ask her to read me. She gets to the end. The story ends on a surprisingly hilarious note. Our laughs burst forth simultaneously in the same pitch and tone.
Nothing surprises me when it comes to my mother. I feel almost numb to the parts of her that used to make me vomit in my own mouth. And I mean that in a very normal post- teenage daughter way.
Slowly, that numb has taking on a tinge of loving admiration, with a tiny bit of pity, shame, frusteration and and a slow shake of the head. And a laugh trapped in the back of the throat.
She walks me home. She holds my hand. That is a story for another day.
Okay. I will say just a few words about it. The thoughts that race through my head as I walk through my own neighborhood holding my mothers hand range from ‘I wonder what my neighbors think of this tattered 30-something woman with her dog and her past middle-aged nutty discheveled gay partner‘ to ‘ If I fake a coughing attack and have to snatch my own hand back for to cover my mouth, I can both impress her public-health obsessed mind while taking back my hand without hurting her feelings.’
I Finally settle on ‘ This is probably the most physical contact my mother has had with one of her children in years. And Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Your mother loves to hold hands. That is how she shows love.‘ I told myself ‘Just hold her hand.‘ So, I did. I went with it.
That night, I put my kids to bed, and held their hands while they fell asleep.
In honor of Mothers Day, babes, all ShamPHree natural hair kits and products will be 15% off, now through Monday. Enter coupon code FREEYOURMAMA.
Click here for mother’s day hair.