The Little Mom

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Family Craziness

The Little Mom

I miss my little mom.  She’s been in Okinawa for many weeks visiting her sister and I haven’t heard her voice in so long… too long.  She lives alone now and goes through phases when she doesn’t interact with people since she’s busy quilting or mowing the lawn, so sometimes when she gets on the phone she talks forrrEVER and I find myself doing the dishes or checking email while I murmur “uh-huhs” intermittently at the right time (fooling her into thinking I’m listening.)  But I’m pining for that today — the long run-on sentences that jumble from one subject to the next with no segue, no coherent plot-line — not giving me time for input or response.  I miss that.

The relationship between a mother & daughter is such a strange animal.  Talk about love/hate.  When I was young I ABHORED it when someone said “you’re just like your mom!” — What the…?  Anything but THAT.  My nemesis, my critic, my disher-out of this-is-for-your-own-good MOM.  Me?  Ms. Sophisticated Worldly Gift-to-the-universe-for-forward-thinking… like HER??  But now… I love it when people say it.  I’ve known her for all my life, and I have watched her grow up, witnessed her go through many hardships not understanding what it must be like in her shoes, wondered how she stayed in a marriage for 40+ years when I think I woulda dumped ‘im a LONG time ago (then again there were many times she needed a good thunk upside the head, we’ll call it even),… I learned where she came from and was frankly astonished at how she survived what she did.

She’s vibrant and full of life.  4’11” of still-can-probably-kick-my-ass, walks every morning at 5am, does step-class, drops the buzz-phrase “my trainer”, has tried CrossFit (hates wallballs, liked pullups with the mondo-huge band), buys random figurines from yard-sales to repaint to keep her mind fresh.  She’s imprinted me with many values that I hated imposed on me when I was an ignorant know-it-all girl, but now that I’m a (ahem) wise all-knowing woman, I embrace and am grateful for.   I do quirky things that I never knew were quirky until others express how impressed or thankful I turned-them onto that idea, and realize it came from her.  She does some majorly crazy shit that helped me become a strong independent PERSON, not succumbing to the myths that a.) girls can’t lift heavy things or move furniture, b.) you’re old, wrinkled, and over-the-hill at 35, and c.) it’s better to be polite and keep your mouth shut and fit-in with society.  No, she lived the example to speak your mind because it’s better to live with having asked, than live with regret for wishing you’d said something.  And boy, with me, did that last one take.

One time when my mom called out of the blue, I asked her what’s wrong, she sounded down.  She sighed heavily and said “I guess I’m having a sort of bad day… I’m disappointed in myself,… it’s kinda scary being up on the ladder painting the house.”  My heart stopped.  Up on a fucking ladder painting the fucking house??!!  What the FUCK??  The fucking woman is in her 60’s, my dad is dead, she’s alone, and she’s damn frikkin’ painting the HOUSE?!  Oh my GOD I am a failure as a daughter(!) If word gets out about this, if she falls off that GD ladder, frrraaaaack, I’m going to hell.  Instead I take a deep breath, put my eyeballs back in my head, exhale, pretend like I’m not going into cardiac-arrest, and say calmly, “Yea that’s a little scary, it’s okay to be scared (please be TOO scared) — mom, you knowww me or my brother could (drive 5-6 hours like right now ohgod) to help you… um I didn’t know you were planning that, I don’t think he knew it either (because he’s going to burn in hell too for being a terrible son)… orrr we could hire some Mexicans or teenagers…” (something, ANYTHING, fuck.)  She’s like “yeeeaaa, I just got the idea in my head then just started in on it…”  (I’m shaking my head trying to extricate my fingernails from the surface of my desk) “…Or at least mom, you shouldn’t be alone when you’re up on a ladder like that, I’ll call one of our friends to come help you.”  (Gets off phone fast with psycho mom and immediately calls high-school buddy who still lives in town and BEGS him to please just stop by the house please PLEASE.)

When I was playing flag-football I’d take the team down to Florida and we’d stay at my parents. I’m talking like 14 of us.  We’d bring a boat, go skiing at the bayou ½ a mile away in the mornings, then go to Destin 20 minutes away midday, then come back to ski at dusk.  Really what our schedule was more like, was wake up to a million biscuits and omelets, eat.  Then go ski, we didn’t need life-vests because our bloated asses could float the Nile, come home eat.  Then we’d squeeze our fat selves into bathing suits then go to the beach and lay around like beached whales, come home, eat.  Then we’d eat.  My mom would just cook and cook and get new schemes of what to cook.  Homemade sushi, grilled salmon, ribs, cake, springrolls, cake.  Cake, muffins, cookies.  Cake.  More cookies.  We’d be like “mom, it’s okay if you don’t cook so much…” (steps on scale to find out it IS possible to gain 9 pounds in 2 days, wants to commit suicide.  At the same time as stuffing another friggin’ cookie in mouth.)  She responds with “that’s the way I show love.”  I say you’re killing us to death with love.  We virtually had to leave so we would stop eating.  As she shoves take-home bags in the car which we immediately dig into.

When I first watched ‘The Secret’ I already knew I had good parking karma.  Whereas others drive to the mall during Christmas season and think MAN there’s not going to be any parking spaces, so they park at the back, NO WAY.  I always drive straight to where I want to be fully EXPECTING for my spot next to the entrance to be there.  And it usually is.  I also got the epiphany that it’s probably the reason why I don’t have many wrinkles.  Cuz it’s DEFINITELY not from lack of hard living(lol) — sleep?  You can sleep when you’re DEAD haha.  Okay I do have good genetics, my mom has less wrinkles than MANY of my friends (once you go Asian ya won’t go caucasian hee hee) — but I believe that because I did not grow up with those American-woman stereo-type mentalities imposed on me “ooohhh when you reach your thirties your skin will start pruning up” — “Ohhh you know, when you reach your forties you won’t be able to jump up on the counter to get shit off the top shelf of the cabinets because you just won’t be ABLE to do thaaat (gasp) plus your ass would have slid down your leg” — “Ooohhh you know, hormones.”  I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t talk about looks when I was growing up so I was also protected from the limited thinking warnings — but when I look in the mirror, I FULLY expect to see the same thing staring back at me.   I notice what’s there and it’s the same.  So I think that’s why I don’t have wrinkly old skin because I’m not WAITING to see that.  I just expect to look as good as my mom.

Once my mom was visiting me here in Atlanta (yup she drove her own dang self) and while I and my then boyfriend were still lounging in bed at the crack of dawn at 8:30am on Saturday morning my cel phone rings.  I see on the caller-ID it’s her, I answer the phone, “You are so weird, you’re a weirdo, it’s okay to just knock on the door you know, duh.”  She says, “I went out for a walk this morning.”  I say “Okaaaay.  Mommy, we’re dressed in here, it’s okay if you just come in ya’know…”  She says, “Now I don’t know where I’m at.”  I mean really, do I have to finish this part of the story?  I’m like “EH?!”  Yea, she went out walking, got turned around, and couldn’t figure out how to get back.  Thank sweet Jesus she had her PHONE with her.  I mean wow.  She’s seriously phone-challenged as it is.  COUNTLESS times she’d call and say “Where have you BEEN, I have been trying to reach you!”  Puzzled I’d say, I didn’t get a voicemail message from you…”  Invariably she’d say (peeved, like it’s my fault)  Well, I didn’t LEAVE one.”  One time I drove to Florida, got there, and the front glass door was locked.  The regular wood door was wide open inside, I could see IN there.  I realized I didn’t have a key to the flippin GLASS door (we actually installed that the week of my dad’s funeral, I didn’t even think it locked.  Hell, I don’t remember much that week alcohol-haze, oh whatever.)  Anyways, I call my mom.  I can hear the phone ringing inside.  No one’s home (in more ways than one.) I walk around the house, maybe she’s in the back yard, nope.  I call her cell, no answer.  Screw it, I went to the liquor store, then sat on the front porch drinking scotch.  The cats just sat inside the glass staring out at me probably thinking what is this fool DOING?  Why is she sitting out there?  My mom drives up, SORRRYYY, I had to run an errand I didn’t think you’d make it here that fast, you were so fast, was the drive good, you hungry?  I’m like, “Mom, why didn’t you answer your cell?”  Deadpan she admits, it’s inside, in the house.  You know, with the cats.

Travis/T-rex from CrossFit North Atlanta just knows her as the lady that sweeps.  Everything.  She came to the gym one time and just swept.  For like 4 hours.

My little mom is the queen of knick-knacks.  Holyshit that woman has her house decorated with every sort of collection known to mankind.  Alright well maybe not EVERY kind, I’ve seen her other Asian friend’s house and SHE has every sort — but what my mother has, is in freaking massive abundance.  We had to’ve started her on birds like a thousand years ago.  Some Mother’s Day present when we were kids, so okay yea, maybe we’re to be blamed on that one.  But now it is just out of CONTROL. Her latest thing is photos.  We’re talking framed, laminated, cork-boards, her bedroom mirror is no longer a mirror but a collage.  My dad died a few years ago and we didn’t even like him then, but now the house is a SHRINE.  It’s a little bit weird.  Two grandkids, the walls are like one gargantuan storyboard of their lives.  From birth.  To now.  And Mads is TEN.  Once when I needed to change the “Kath & her current boyfriend” pic, I opened the frame and no shit, there were layers and LAYERS of the chronology of failed-relationships immortalized right IN there.  It was creepy.  It was fucking HILARIOUS.  She didn’t throw the old photo away, she just stuck the new boyfriend on top of it. OMG.  No words.

Here are 3 awesome FB videos to explain my mom:  Not Enough Valium (on the eastern seaboard), Infomercial Mom, and Maddie’s Puppet Show.

Below is the latest item she bequeathed to me.  An owl house.  I think.  She shifted from regular birds to specialize in owls because that’s her sisters “special bird”.  Whatever the hell that means.  So now I get one.  Yea for me.  I have it in my office stashed behind the bookcase.  Man,… I really miss her.

  1. Belinda says:

    Your mom has an ‘S’ quilted on her chest – you just can’t see it. She’s completely & wonderfully awesome . . . a trait her daughter shares. Love you Lady!

  2. carolyn says:

    you have such a great mom.

  3. Kelley says:

    I visualize everything you write. Great writing. Your mom is so vividly etched in my memory. I understand the, “you’re just like your mother” then and now! Didn’t want to be her but glad I finally am turning into her.

  4. lisa bellomy says:

    Kath your mom is so much like mine…she is 78 and still getting herself in trouble…she doesn’t get around as well…she just recently gave up her 25th anniversary edition mustang rag top because she thought my nephew needed it…once my brothers friend saw it in Niceville w/the top down and he thought he would catch up to it to see a hot chick and when he finally got to it he looked over and he said” omg itms Mrs Bellomy!” she was in her 70’s at the time! I think it is the hardships they had growing up that made them such strong people. I hope I am just a quarter of the woman she is.

  5. moe travis says:

    Your mom reminds me of my husbands grandma. She is also japanese and very active.. She also loves to mow her grass and has a million nick nacks as decorations in her house.. The pictures are def getting there as well.. THis was an awesome read about your mother. I can tell you really love her and did I mention you are hilarious????

    • Donna says:

      I love how you love your mom. I was smiling (and weeping a bit) as I read this because I know your mom as a positive influence to anyone around her – whether they want to hear it or not. She definately has a heart for all who enter her house.

      By the way, the way you are writing, I can hear you speak it out loud – you definately speak your mind. It is so weird hearing your voice in my head. 😀

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