Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Heads or Tails ... Mother

This is the first time I've participated in a Heads or Tails meme ... and this week's subject is "Mother." I thought about how I wanted to address the subject ... and here's what is most in my mind. Guys ... I guess this doesn't really apply to you ... sorry for that.

As women ... do we all turn into our mothers? Whether we want to or not? No matter how hard we try? I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing ... or necessarily a good thing. I suppose if your madre was the American equivalent of Mother Teresa, then yes ... you would strive to emulate her. If your mother, on the other hand, was Bonnie Parker, then no ... you'd probably try to hit the ground a bit farther away from that tree.

As I was growing up, my great-grandmother was ... eccentric. She was probably already losing her marbles from the point I remember. As you get older, childhood memories are so ... vague ... like looking through gauze. I remember her as loving ... if difficult ... not so much on me, of course ... but I seem to remember my mother and grandmother struggling to take care of her and her quirks.

My grandmother was ... eccentric. Loving ... if difficult. She was very religious ... a little intolerant to that end. She had a routine ... her life was a schedule that she lived by and enjoyed. Watching Cardinal games and soap operas ... drinking Pepsi. Again ... vague memories of someone I perceive as a good, caring person.

She, however, like her mother before her ... became flaky. She forgot names and people. She was ... eccentric. She liked things a certain way and became upset if they changed. Something small ... say the fact that the makers of Ensure slightly changed their bottles' shape and size at one point ... would throw her world into a spin. My aunt brought her a couple dozen eggs once ... and it worried her to no end. She couldn't possibly use two dozen eggs and they had to leave her home ... immediately.

My mother at the time said ... "Tell me, if I begin to act like her." Several years later, I reminded her of this request ... and, as I recall, she was not amused.

My mother ... is loving ... and eccentric. She has a unique sense of humor, like me. The scales of perception, for me, seem to change as I get older. When I was in my late teens, I would've told you she had more bad qualities than good ... and this has shifted ... to where I would now tell you she has far, far more good qualities than bad. And ... I suspect her bad qualities are more my bad qualities than hers ... more reflections on my lack of patience than on her personality.

And I tell my (ex-husband) ... "Tell me, if I begin to act like her." And he has. There are times he will say, "The "Smith Gene" is coming out in you" ... and I try not to take offense. Because sometimes it does.

And so ... is this the pattern? It is ... in the end ... inescapable? I will be eccentric ... set in my ways ... funny and loving ... if difficult at times. I will forget things? People? Names? Each woman was very different ... yet each woman shared traits. Strong traits. And so I drink my Pepsi ... and take inventory.

Mother mother
Can you hear me
I'm just calling to say hello
How's the weather
How's my father
Am I lonely heavens no
Mother mother
Are you listening
Just a phone call to ease your mind
Life is perfect
Never better
Distance making the heart grow blind

Tracy Bonham - Mother Mother