Music's Like a Snuggie for Your Soul


Friday, May 25, 2012

Mom, Flowerpots, Golf Clubs and Watermelons

Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to start. Daunted, and with wavering confidence, i find myself embarking on this blog that will likely wind up being a lot about me. (Sounds outlandish, but we're goin with it.) Given that, i think a logical place to begin is with The Mom. 

My mom's been a rock and a source of strength in my life, (even while we suffered a two-year-long, correspondence-less falling out while i was in high school after i moved in with my dad on a whim). Her fierce nature is encoded into my genetic makeup, so no matter the state of our relationship, i can draw on that venomous ferocity coiled within the spirals of my DNA like serpents; potentially lethal and poised to strike at any time.

My mom was a rugby player in college. They called her Monster. Although she's small in stature, she's a force to be reckoned with. (I'm an Amazon though. When my rugby friends met her they said, "I didn't expect your mom to be so... petite." Um, thanks!) Anyhow, the lady has a way of inspiring terror in the hearts of all who cross her.

I'm incredibly, profoundly proud of my mom for the insane amount of progress she's made in matters of her emotional health. She's like a new person now. But when we were kids, some days, she was guano-flipping psychotic. 

It wasn't her fault though. Her childhood left a lot to be desired. My grandma was as warm and affectionate as a brick of polar bear scat left for a winter alone in the arctic, (not to mention the slew of abusive, alcoholic boyfriends my mom and her siblings were subjected to after their dad died). 

Consequently, we never knew when she was going to go ballistic. My childhood was nearly-constant eggshell negotiating. It didn't help matters that she's been in a loveless marriage with my step-dad for 20+ years and that he spent much of their marriage in the military while my mom raised 4 kids feeling intensely alone. And she was; we moved constantly so she had little support in the form of friends, and stay-at-home saints have no coworkers to speak of, just us miniature freaking demons and the dog.

One late afternoon when i was 8, we were in the process of selling our house and my parents were fighting. The volume crescendoed and i peeked out to see my mom had picked up a large houseplant (a big ficus if i remember correctly). It was a big terra-cotta pot and she was threatening my step-dad with it. "Lucia, you wouldn't!" (dimwit)
"WATCH ME!" She roared, and hurled it at him.
It was, i kid you not, like a scene from a cartoon. I don't know how the guy wasn't dropped unconscious, but he stood there reeling while the cuckoo birds circled and stars punctuated the space around his dumbass head. A mound of dirt remained there on his dome and he managed to stagger his way, still swaying, out the front door. 

My mom got on the phone (with her mom, as i recall) and i hastily swept the clay shards and the soil up into a dustpan.

Later that week the realtor stopped by and as they stood talking in the foyer, she noticed the conspicuously poor, taupe putty smear of an attempt to conceal the gash in the wood floor. "Has this always been here?" she asked. 
My sister chimed in, "Mom got mad at dad and smashed a flowerpot on his head!" 
Mom was duly mortified.


I guess there was a similar, spectacular incident prior to the formation of my long-term memory-retention centers that involved my biological dad's head and a watermelon. And a couple years ago, my step-father cheated on her and my mom caught him on the phone with the lady at the golf course (where he knew he was supposed to be meeting up with my mom soon). She wielded a club right there on the driving range and beat the ever-loving shit out of him. Which, in this instance, i'll admit, makes me intensely proud.

Our relationship is way, way less eggshellish. She's warm and quick to accept my regular huggy-bear embraces. It's terrible how bad memories stick to you like gristle on a bone, because i'm sure it wasn't always that way in fact, rarely, but i remember time and again going in to hug my mom and being brushed away in a gesture as icy blue as her eyes. I'm sure i was clingy, and snotty and pestiferous and i'm sure she had a deeply-rooted resistance to physical contact for reasons i now understand, but those cast-offs are still buried deep in the recesses of my brain somewhere. (Croup, sorry, it wasn't my intention to get so cathartic on you, dear readers.)

Anyhow, i couldn't be more grateful for the leaps and bounds and leagues of progress my mom has made. She's more attentive and tender and huggable than ever. And i'm grateful now that i wasn't sheltered and coddled and we were free as kids to run amok. And i need her now more than i can begin to articulate, so it's worked out great. And i'll never take a bit of that nurturing or any hugs from that woman for granted for as long as i live.


  1. Good stuff! Sounds like your mom is one hell of a lady!

  2. Ms. Moon? The Ms. Moon?! Jk (sort of). Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  3. OK, I still don't see a follow button. This should work. Click "design" on the left hand corner of your blog, from there click on "layout" in the column on the right, from there click "add a gadget", then click on "followers" (not "follow by email). I think that should work. :-)

  4. I had just got home from work this morning and didn't have time to read this so I am just commenting now.

    I am glad that you see your mom as a person. It is a really hard thing to do!

    My biological father was not a nice man. He was over the top physically abusive. (I was raised by my step-dad.) My biological father did not have a father and was raised by his mom, this being the 50's mind you. I am fairly certain there was some physical, perhaps sexual abuse going on from the men she dated. I was so angry at my biological father for many years and my heart was broken. Why didn't he love me? One day a wise lady gently told me that I was very blessed and had many people that loved me and I didn't need his love. And being ultimately wise she said that even though I don't need his love, he needs mine. Now, even though my father has mellowed over the years and I still think he doesn't have the ability to be a dad and love, I love him. I see him as my child in a way.
    I think you should give your mom a copy of what you wrote. I bet she would love it. Most of all, kudos to you for doing the near impossible and seeing a parent as a human that makes mistakes.

  5. A, I've been helping my daughter move all week and didn't get to read many blogs, but I'm so glad I had the time tonight to catch up. This was great! You've come a long way with your mom and she with you. The mother/daughter relationship seems to be the most complex of all and it's beautiful to see you and your mom work at with such love.

    She sounds fabulous - complicated and loving - and I think she gave you a lot of your feisty and strong nature. So glad that you can see that your parent is perfectly imperfect.

  6. My mom is a helluva lady. Thanks for the insightful words, as always, Liv. It is a crazy, complicated relationship, for sure.

    And Birdy, Dads are tough too. Literally sometimes. How is it that your parents have so much more power to inflict pain? I'm sorry your dad was a jerk. That really isn't fair and the fact he hurt your mom to boot is dreadful. No kid deserves to live through any of that. What a drag. My step-dad was definitely borderline abusive, but it's by far a whole different level of emotional damage when it's your own flesh and blood father doling out the blows. You're beyond admirable for loving him despite his inexcusable behavior.


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