I didn’t have to work Friday. This omission left time for finishing books, writing sentences, paying bills, and posting videos. My online blog at WordPress and social media footprint does not manage themselves. Anyone upset by the mounds of text I assembled in the last ten days should blame my mother. She has been the chief architect of my word journey since 1993.
During an impromptu conversation with one of my closest college buddies, I realized it was my mother’s birthday. Mom is the only woman who loved me beyond mere toleration. I’m sure if I took a survey of the American electorate, we all have relatives that do tasks in exchange for likability. They con us out of a few smiles, expressions The ones that comes from that impromptu trip to the store, that unplanned surprise novel bought, that card with three words and a scribbled signature, proclaiming devotion. That niece, nephew, or son-in-law won’t forget us, they saw. We’ve been being a goody-goody for ages now. It’s fine, they’ll never know the difference. This is what it looks like when someone tolerates you. With all I have been through in life, my mother has never just tolerated me.
When I spoke too loud, she was always warning me to keep it down. When I spoke incorrectly, she did not lie to me believing my feelings would shatter like some rare glass vase falling from a high shelf. She never took away my ability to ask questions, never tried intentionally to deceive my heart.
When I called to wish her happy birthday, we laughed about the relentless cycle of bills that come from the reality of “adulting.” Adulting is the stretch of time when one cannot curl up into a ball and say: “I don’t wanna.” Adulting is that time in everyone’s life when doing what you need to do cannot be pawned off on your kids, your relative, or the collections department of a major company. Either you get it done, or the consequences are dire. I’m the most like mother. I’m strong, witty, prideful, and a bit arrogant. But I’ve never not tried to love people.
Were it not for my mother, I would have not participated in drama during junior high, joined choral groups in church and high school, wrote poetry in college, or applied for work at the library. Mom and I have a connection worth more than the few times that we’ve been photographed. Mom was my cheerleader yesterday. She had a storied history of always being like my own version of Dear Abby whenever I’d get into a contentious match with any authority figure that was not her. I’d threaten to abandon homes, mount legal campaigns, expose salacious secrets, and reject inauthentic gifts. All this my mother could end in just one simple phrase.
“Don’t let me come over there!”
When mom stated this, all my plans went up in smoke and I withered like a potted plant facing a brutal Louisiana sun. When she spoke, even the anger and strife that yet raged in me became a deflated balloon. My yesterdays with my mother were full of worried, nervous calls. I’d complain about almost everything to her: how I hated school, how grandma moved my book, how dad did not buy some product. And she would say in her own way: Harold, you cannot always get what you want.” Mom taught me how to have patience. When it seemed that those around me always got what they wanted, she taught me to watch and listen. I wrote this for my mom. The one person that taught me to keep a smile on my face even in the face of tragedy, ridicule and rejection. I’ll always loved you mom. And I’ll never stop! My mom is my constant inspiration and she’s the reason I am who I am!