As an adult, I have come to realize that I always hated when my mother would try to talk to me about personal matters: my first kiss, my first boyfriend, always asking questions about my menstrual cycle. In my opinion she simply was not the right person to have an open conversation with and still is not. Why?
Imagine wanting to have a genuine conversation with an individual that is supposed to automatically be on your side. Now you hear criticism that is not constructive for every action or feeling that you have followed by negative commentary. Throw in unsolicited advice here and there for situations that were never brought to said individual’s attention. Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to such misery?
Serious relationships have come and gone. Pain and heartbreak. Joy & euphoria. None of it has been shared with her. I look at other mother daughter relationships and admire how close they are. What is it like to have a mother that is fierce with her support of her daughter? Even without this important relationship in my life, there are still many blessings.
There are other maternal women that treat me like their own daughters. There are friends that treat me more like family than a friend. Such bonds help me to remain thankful for the life that I have and the people that I know. There is more to life than a text or FB messenger.
It was another church service. I must have been in middle school. There I sat in the church service next to my mother. We never sat in the front but more towards the back. People were going up to the altar as the pastor gave his call. This is something that never resonated with me. It was a very emotional time for many people but it simply left me in an unbothered state. However, on this day, my mother decided that both of us were going to the altar.
She was sitting to my left instead of my right. I would have to move in order for her to leave the pew. She stood there hastening me to get up and go with her. It was the last thing on earth that I wanted to do. My eyes could have cried tears of embarrassment. There I was in front of the entire church; uncomfortable.
It has been a busy October. Between being social and performing, Lady has been quite the mover and shaker. My mother’s birthday literally appeared overnight. What was I going to do? It was a critical week for her and many people wanted to be there to support her. How was I going to bring it all together? Simple. I assembled a mini dream team and went to work. First, a call went in to the poetess that graced our last family function. I told her that I had to have her back for another event and here it was. Second, a special dessert was in order. The cake designer was available to make a very special vintage treat featuring my mother’s face.
My new dress was the perfect selection for the fall night festivities. Everyone gathered at the Falls inside Brio to celebrate my mother’s birthday. As everyone settled in, bread arrived at the table. Chatter soon began as I nervously checked my phone to see that the poet had arrived in the parking lot and would soon be making her grand entrance. I did not tell my mother about her appearance or the cake. Once she emerged from her hiding place we approached my mother together. A wide smile came over my mom’s face as she hugged the talent that brought so much joy only months ago. It was not long before she delivered three touching poems much to the delight of our guests.
By the time dessert was served, each person was giving a personal testimony regarding the special time that we were having. When my turn came to speak, I felt the presence of my father. It was nice to have him around for the evening. It has often been my thought that I had to take care of his widow in his physical absence. The dinner was yet another goal that was achieved in this line of thinking. More than one guest told me how much they enjoyed the dinner. It was a lovely evening. My mother smiled all night long.
As Fall rolled around, I knew that this time of introspection could possibly be chaotic for my newly widowed mother. It would be the first birthday without her husband. The thought of her having a nervous breakdown while I was at work was more than I could take. What could I do to avoid such a fate? Simple. I planned a surprise party.
Once this idea popped in my head, I contacted one of her main associates. She was thinking the same thing and jumped at the chance to be a part of the inside scoop. The amount of text messages that this woman received from me probably caused her to upgrade her cell phone plan. The Surprise Pajama Potluck was well under way with a guest list of 26 women. Cake, furniture, and entertainment were coordinated in between performances and readings. Instead of running to Publix for the common dessert standby, I decided to upgrade to a Cake Couture Specialist. After sending two sketches of what I thought would be a jaw dropper dessert, she created the most beautiful cake that I could imagine. Candles were designed and four shopping trips followed just to make certain that the gift bags were on point: fine chocolate, Sandalwood sachets, and the candles all made their way into the Fall themed gift bags. Tables and chairs were collected from various sources including a party center. Games were gathered as well as balloons, confetti, and orange cutlery.
In the middle of the day of madness, it occurred to me that nothing was going to occur on the actual date of my mother’s birthday. Would there be a feeling of a daily routine? I made my way to a local florist to order flowers for October 22nd. As my mother reveled in her party, she would have a visible reminder of all of the merriment that was made…..and there was merriment running amuck. As the ladies began to arrive at 7pm, my mother was enjoying a pedicure with the decoy. I sent word to her that neighbors wanted to use her yard for a party. When she returned to her own house, she still had no idea that it was filled with friends anxiously awaiting her pleasant shock. The joyous expression on my mother’s face at the sight of everyone gathered in her honor was more than a million dollars. She was caught by pleasant surprise.
The women prayed, danced, ate, sang, and played an intense game of bingo. Testimonials were given and presents were shared. The cake was cut and consumed. The guests left filled with happy memories while others yet stayed behind and created an after party. My mother reported to me that people did not leave until 2am. Well, it was a pajama party after all. One guest was even in town without her knowledge and surprised all of us late in the night with her colorful presence.
Here it is two days after the party, and I have done absolutely nothing besides get a massage and write thank you cards. A cleaning lady is coming to my home tomorrow to take care of its needs while I attend to the matters of the week. One of those matters include the planning of the next party. Now that my mother knows all of our tricks, I have to take it to the next level without alerting her suspicion.
At one point during the evening, I heard a male voice. It was very strange because my brother had informed me that he wasn’t attending the party. I even opened the door to see the face of the voice and no one was there. My ear soon rang which indicated a spiritual presence. I am certain that my father wanted me to know that he was pleased with what I had accomplished on behalf of his wife. I realize that it is my responsibility to do all that I can to make sure that she smiles as she adjusts to him being in the land of the ancestors. Happy Birthday Mommy. Many, Many happy returns.
My bed was consuming me for a while as the time crept closer towards my performing in West Palm Beach. When the phone rang, I saw that it was my brother. He informed me that our mother had been rushed to Baptist Hospital. I knew that I was going to have to go there whether or not I could still make the wedding. In a complete teary flurry, I dressed and loaded for the performance. As I breathed, I took control of the task at hand. Baptist was at least 30 minutes south of me and it was now my job to get there in one piece. As my Element took the 826, my friends began to pray.
My brother was there in her room. He stood so very tall in his six feet with his large gray shirt. He was in Weston on his way to work when he had to turn around for Kendall. Our father was asleep with sciatic pain. As the doctor spoke to my mother, I took the opportunity to paint my face. I greeted my concerned father. When my mother saw me, she voiced her happiness over my appearance. She felt very lucky to have her entire family around her. The little room was cramped with love. Friends and live prayer soon streamed in to round us out.
The traffic from Baptist Hospital to West Palm Beach was fair. I arrived in no time and was able to complete the entire performance with little distraction. My mind was more at ease after seeing my mother. Apparently, she passed out in front of her home and her friend dialed 911. Because the attending doctor does not know the cause of the problem, he has asked her to stay in observation over night as a precaution.
After the wedding, I went home to refresh myself and have a meal. I figured that there was no sense in me spreading myself thin with worry. It would only upset my mother and possibly compromise my already troubled system. As I greeted my mother for the second time today, she was overcome with surprise. She did not expect to see me after my performance. I stayed with her as long as I could before escaping the hospital grounds in search of slumber.
Somehow I managed to end up in the prayer garden. There was a fountain in front of lovely benches. The chapel windows had stain glass windows that shined in the light. The hour was late and yet I still found myself stealing some moments on the benches in front of the fountain. I imagined angels surrounding me there with encouragement and light.
My Sunday was scheduled to be a busy one. It has been cleared of all responsibilities. It is important for me to take some time to understand this moment for everything that is has brought to me. People of various faiths prayed for me and my mother today. My family came together to uplift our mother. Friends from near and far came to stand beside their beloved sister. There is power in love and unity. I want to take the time to understand all of these things.
It was not the news that wanted; however, it was not a shock. The circumstances dicated long ago that this would be a possibility. As my ears received the words, I just lay there abosorbing what I already knew. My cherished form of physical activity would have to diminish from my life. It simply does not compliment my body structure. Maybe I should light a candle for the predicament of loss.
Since it was already in the schedule, I drove to my family home to visit my mother. Upon arrival, she immediately expressed her dismay about my outfit. She wanted to take me to a restaurant and shorts would not be appropriate;however, I had jeans in my car. After changing, she gave me a beautiful scarf to keep myself warm. It was so very beautiful. Its far exceeded the beauty of any of the scarves in my vast collection which is what I shared with her. Her remark reminded me that she does enjoy shopping a great deal. Before my eyes blinked, there was a car in front of the house being driven by a vaguely familiar individual. My mother climbed inside. I soon followed.
It did not take me long to realize that I was in the company of the Saturday crew that spends time with my mother every single Saturday come rain or shine. She is often out of reach because they are at breakfast or in Ross. Perhaps a party or random church function. The thick Patios ran the length of the car as my body settled into the back seat. My mother soon inquired about the things in my ear.
A stop was made at a home somewhere on the east side of US1. My mother and her friend ventured into the house while I stayed behind in the car to tinker with my cell phone. A nice woman called to me from the house, and my hand greeted her in salutation. She soon followed the two to other women back to the car where she eagerly greeted me again. The gold Star of David caught my attention and prompted me to hop out of the car.
She embraced me with such warmth and joy. I felt quite comfortable asking her about her religious jewelry. It wasn’t long before my reportoire of Jewish music was being shared with her. A smile crossed my face as I returned to the car to be whisked away to yet another location.
The chatter of my mother with her friend was no different from that of teenage girls except for perhaps the content. Fiery outbursts of opinions mixed with laughter made for such an enjoyable scene to observe. Dinner was lovely. Words never escaped my mouth for fear that the scene would be interrupted. I ate entirely too much food and felt fat and happy in this beautiful place. The whole thing reminded me that a lot of what I do is because of the way my mother lives her life. She enjoys the company of her friends and does not stay under the shadow of my father. She is involved in so much during her retirement that it is often difficult to reach her because she is simply doing something for herself in her spare time. In retrospect, her life was filled with making sure that I was a priority. Its nice to see her enjoying things for herself at this stage of the game. I kept admiring her orange outfit that was no doubt purchased on one of those shopping excursions with her friends.
While driving home, my mind wondered out how fortunate I was to be included in such female bonding. My mother included me in her Circle of Sisterhood. Each woman was interesting with an island zest. My presence was welcomed and given a front seat to enjoy and partake in the fun. This is how it should be amongst all women. These are the experiences that shall propel me as progress continues on the Circle of Sisterhood. Why there is a circle this coming Sunday and new women are expected to attend for the Super Moon energy boost. Oh the time we shall have.
As an adult, there were many times when my body image was questioned and openly judged. I was dressed for a dance class once. My belly was exposed. My mother later told me over the phone about how big it was. Her comment made me feel bad because of the tone that she chose to use. I was healthy and not overweight, but my belly was big. Based on her comment combined with the tone, I understood my big belly to be a problem. It did not change the way that I dressed for dance class, but I did make certain that she never saw my exposed belly again. When I did begin to lose a lot of weight, that still was not enough. “You have lost a lot of weight, but you still have a long way to go…”. My response was that I was happy that I was losing weight for myself and not for her. Last summer, she purchased a bikini for me to wear. It was beautiful. I immediately tried it on. She started tapping my stomach and said, “Don’t you think that you should lose more weight before you wear this?”. Instead of telling her that I normally grace the beach topless, I instead chose to tell her that if I do not enjoy my body now, when am I going to enjoy it? Furthermore, I was happy with the bikini and the way that it looked. Because I did not appear the way that she thought I should look, I was deemed inappropriate and not fit to wear something skimpy in spite of the fact that I was in the best shape of my life. It took a long time for me to learn to politely avoid the insecurities of others including family members.
Such things have been on my mind since there seems to be an issue with free spirited daughters and mothers that do not understand them. Bouts of tension often lead to volatile situations and constant misunderstandings. There is no middle ground in that the mother thinks that her child should be just like her or at least normal according to the picture that she has in her head. However, what is considered normal? Whom is in charge of setting those rules? You are called plastic for not sharing the same beliefs or loose for being unwed with a child. Perhaps you lifestyle is questioned and scrutinized on a daily basis leading to further turmoil. How does a girl cope with it all?
A strong foundation is key in such a situation. You must understand yourself first and foremost. One would think that the one that gave birth to you would have a better understanding of you but all too often, the level of comprehension is poor. Understand that you must live your life for you on your terms.
You do not have to justify anything to anyone. If it is something that you consider private, then do not feel guilty about keeping it that way. The aspects of your life do not have to be the side dish at the family dinner table. You do not have to be subjected to misguided comments that make you feel bad. You can address the issue directly, or respond with something positive. Take the statement and turn it around into something joyful.
You are something divine and powerful. You are made in the likeness of the creator and nothing can harm you without your permission. Think highly of yourself and always try to be positive. Along this journey that is called life, there will be many trials and tribulations. The way you handle them will be your lasting legacy.
As I wonder about what I shall wear to my family home for the big dinner(sigh), a text came through inviting me to a friend’s home. She has no idea how grateful I am to be thought of in this manner. I do plan to attend after my top meal of the day. However, now I have an attire predicament on my hands.
I do not want to wear a dress and wish to be casual. My work on being a little more fashionable with regards to my hard earned body has shortened the length of skirts and the such in various situations. However, if I show up in an outfit of this nature to dinner…with my mother present….people will be bowing their heads on my behalf instead of the meal.
Perhaps a compromise of sorts can be found. The last time that I wore a dress that my mother did not like, she did not hesitate to make a physical reference to my boobs and went so far as to purchase three brand new dresses for me. I do wish to avoid conflict today. A moment of silence is required here……
My eyes are the ocean wide, untamed and free. There you will find the light that emanates from within. When I smile, it is her happiness. A laugh is simply an extension of her comforting way. Undulating hips are the rhythmic throes of the waves constantly embracing the shore. Far below the surface in the great deep exists the mystery of life. My mother is beautiful. She cares for you. She cares for me. A queen that envelopes the world.