Monday, May 14, 2012

Unconventional Mothers

I don't really much write about mothers day. Not because it's not celebrated, but more because it's one of those small holidays that mostly get's lost around our little family. It warrants a card and sometimes it warrants going out to dinner but not much else.

You see my mother, while wonderful in her own right, is a bit odd. She was 17 when I was born and most of my life, I spent being HER parent more than she spent being mine. She was the "cool" mom..the one who let me throw parties as a teenager when my father was out of town. Parties that she supplied the alcohol for underage teenagers for most of the time and didn't blink an eye at when we imbibed in less legal activities. She helped me sneak out of the house (Is it really sneaking out when a parent knows where you're going?).

She wasn't the best role model. She lied a lot, she stole, even from my father. She taught us to lie as if it were second nature. I watched her get arrested twice, calling my father each time to come home from a 7 day a week job to get her out of jail. She had a shopping problem and wasn't good with money so she would take checks from him, forge them and bounce them. She couldnt keep a steady job most of the time. She cheated on him. A lot. Most of the time she forgot to give us lunch money and she never signed report cards or much so that when I graduated High School and moved away my mother signed my sisters progress report for the first time in years and was called about it being forged.

Still, she is my mother. She did eventually grow least a bit more. You see my mother, much like her mother and all the women in my family except me, did the same thing most women do...they attempted to stop their lives when they had kids and lived through their children. But children grow up and leave and then the mothers are left empty and alone. She slightly lost it at that point.  When I was 22 my father finally caught her cheating (he knew for years but this was in his face) and they divorced for 3 months. She stopped talking to all of us. She was late to thanksgiving dinner (blasphemy in our family) and my great grandma made me lock the door so she had to ring the bell. They got back together and she changed in many ways.

 She's still the town gossip and you don't share secrets with her or expect her not to tell the world. She still talks about her sex life or sex in general like we're discussing the weather. She can't cook unless it's friend chicken and sometimes that's questionable. She can always be counted on for babysitting, helping with anything and talking in third person. Which drives me crazy but that's just the way she's always been. She gives directions with words like "yonder", "right past the red barn" and by referring to locations that haven't existed since before I was born (do you know how hard it is to find the stock yard that burned 4 years before you were born?!?!?). She talks about people I don't know, or don't remember as if they are common knowledge to me. She can't be trusted with a checkbook and she still often borrows money from us because she's forgotten to pay a bill and my Dad will kill her if the lights get turned off. Often this bill is unpaid because she spent the money buying clothes or things she doesn't need or can't wear. You can't trust half of what she says, she twists things around and sometimes she's as two faced as they come.
And when she get's drunk, she's a flirt..even with my partners. But flirting is as far as it goes now.

But my mom can rope cows and bale hay. She knows how to drive a tractor and she can grow a garden better than anyone...something I so wish I picked up. She's crafty and she decorates beautifully even if it's  other peoples houses that she works for. She makes new flower arrangements to put on the family graves for every season. She taught me to change a tire, but never taught me to apply mascara. She's the one I call when i need help moving heavy things because my dad has a bad back and my husband has bad mom is built short, stocky and strong..just like me. She has rough hands and she doesn't mind physical labor. If I see her in makeup it usually means there's a funeral to go to. I don't think she's ever owned a piece of expensive jewelry in her life. She's probably the closest thing to "butch" I ever knew growing up..some days she still is.

She moves things....people give her clothes, furniture, knick knacks..and she re purposes them or finds someone who needs them. She has an entire back room and a shed full of these things...she's probably replaced most of the clothes in my closet as I've lost weight so I don't have to go buy new ones. If I need matter how odd it may sound..I check at moms first. Melon baller? Ask mom...Tea length black skirt? Check the back closet.

She tells people that my husband and my partner are the best son-in-laws she's ever had without blinking an eye to the fact that they are both biologically women and that there's more than one of them. She asks about my girl and how she's feeling because she knows she's sick.  She never questioned or faltered at my be being gay...though she did get tired of the bad cis-male partners I chose for a while before I settled down in my sexuality.  She treats all of the loves of my life, and my extended chosen family as if they were born into our family.  She helped me re-plant roses, because they are my husbands other partners favorite flowers. She's happy about the idea of when we can built a big house so they can all live there with us.

She is unconventional and no, she will probably never deserve a mom of the year award. She's quirky and funny...and most of the time you roll your eyes at whatever she's saying, and toss half of it away. She is gloriously faulted, magnificently human, and she's the only mother I have ever had, mistakes and all.

One day, when my children make a list of all my faults, all my mistakes and quirks and silly little things I've done, I hope they laugh and smile and think "that's my mom and I love her." Because I just did.

No comments:

Post a Comment