Mother’s Day. Growing up we never made a big deal about those made-up Hallmark holidays. But, I’m at an age where I don’t take having my mom around for granted, so I pointed the car towards home. Not in the literal sense because Big Edie sold Home with a capital H right after Fred died, before the body was cold, but I get to go home in the sense of my Heart. Home to my moms. And her big Italian boo.
She drives me crazy, my mother does. You know what they say, no one can push your buttons like the folks who installed them – and Big Edie & I are preternaturally close (hence, the endearment, Big Edie). She doesn’t see it like that, as co-dependence or enmeshment or any of those other psychobabble terms. “We just have a really good relationship“, she says.
She knows when I’m hurt. Physically or psychologically, without seeing or talking to me, she has that innate Jewish mother’s remote viewing where they know if you’re hurt even before you do. She gets “twitchy”. She’s not always right, but I like that her radar is tuned to my well-being, station KJSD.
We have no secrets. Mothers & daughters should have some, Therapy Guy says. But I don’t know any other way & so we tell each other everything. Except of course the important medical stuff, the stuff we should be sharing, the stuff we promise to never keep secret. That we hold back from each other for just a little while to keep the other from worrying. We both do it. We both lie to each other about it.
She’s got this new Italian boyfriend, her first since Fred died in 2000. That’s a long time between hugs. Each time I visit since they “hooked up” I see a woman more comfortable in her skin, more the Big Edie I imagine she was before the years of a hard marriage took its toll. She laughs & smiles all the time. She’s flirtatious & playful. She’s spoiled & silly.
She’s feisty in a way she thinks is absolutely freakin’ adorable. Apparently, the Italian thinks so, too.
My mom is a caretaker, so is her guy. They care about each others feelings, share chores and responsibilities. I watch her putter after someone who enjoys her company. I love seeing someone putter after her. They are companions, companions with respect and affection for each other. It’s a wonderful thing to watch.
I’m a little jealous, I admit it. Therapy Guy tells me I need to get over it, move on & get my own boo. I’m not sure that I do though, because I’m not that kind of jealous. She was always the pretty one, the attention getter. She was the object of my father’s obsession. I don’t resent her having a boyfriend, I expect her to have a boyfriend. But my inner spoiled baby is surfacing, the only child that still wants to be the the only one.
I can let that go. The drive out to Long Island becomes a trip back in time where I get to see what Big Edie was like as a girl. When I call on the phone & hear Sinatra in the background, I know they’ve been dancing, old school, in each others arms, bodies warm and touching. They tease each other like high school kids who still have little secret crushes on each other, even after they’ve gone to prom. He shops for bargains, not saving a dime because he buys double, giving her half the produce, the eggs, whatever it was that was on sale. Her refrigerator is stocked with enough food to feed my entire office for a week. The Italian has gained 30 pounds.
Mother’s Day is the day you’re supposed to treat your mom special, take her out to dinner, treat her fancy. That’s not how we roll. We cooked together, two grown assed women and fifty two years of love and baggage maneuvering in a tiny kitchen. We ate, she laughed, drank her wine, the boyfriend cleaned up, she made fun of us both whenever she got the chance and was as cute as she possibly could be.
Before the boyfriend, at the end of a visit, Big Edie would freshen her lipstick, walk me either to my car where she’d stand and wave from the curb while I buckled in, or to the train station where my 79 year old mother would stand on the platform waving like an idiot, trotting alongside the train as it pulled out. It mortified me. Which is exactly why she did it. It cracked her up.
Sunday, after dinner and ice cream, I kissed them both goodbye, kissed her again, hugged her. I left my mom with a guy that thinks she’s just the bees knees & doesn’t want to change her not one bit. I rode the elevator downstairs alone. I can’t say what kind of day it was for her, but for me, it was a great Mother’s Day.