Sunday, May 08, 2005

i want my mommy

don't mess with my mommy.
Originally uploaded by margrocks.
never were truer words spoken.

i am a 30-year old woman, relatively self-actualized, who knows how to do "hospital corners" when i make my bed, can whip up a damn fine buttercream frosting, and is capable of safely hovering, germ-free, above the toilet seat when i pee in a public restroom, and i still do.

want my mommy that is.

(it is with a strange mixture of pleasure and guilt that i write about my mother today. pleasure, b/c i always enjoy thinking of her and how she blessed my life; guilt b/c i'm not so sure she'd like the fact that i'm simultaneously reminiscing about her while i am also nursing a hangover from the most debaucherous bacchanalia of a bachelorette party that i've ever been to. mom always fancied a little wine and a raucous laugh - perhaps i couldn't have talked her into the male strip club, but the martinis woulda been a go.)

mother's day almost slipped by this year without me even realizing it. i guess when you don't have one and ya don't have children, it kinda does that. some people who have lost their mothers acutely miss their madres on the big days - mother's day, christmas, thanksgiving, arbor day (i'm kidding). not me. i miss her most on the average days. the little days. the days when i feel extra-little and i want to call her so she can make me feel big again, or the days when i feel extra big and i just want to call her and tell her how very big and important i feel.

but i can't. i get free long distance with my cell phone service and all, but don't think that includes celestial service. ba da bum ching.

oh, stop being silly. my mother died. there. i said it.

so, i miss her and i can't call her, can't send her a card, can't send her an email.


but...she's here.

and here.

and here.

and here.

she's in my body. i see her smiling back at me when i look in the mirror. she makes herself known in my hazel eyes, the way the skin around my knuckle wrinkles, the spattering of acne that peppers my hairline during the hot summer months. she and my father reunite where my strong eyebrow meets the gentle slope of my forehead. she'll reside here in my body forever, and when i have children, i suppose she'll pack up and move some of her things into my daughter's dimples or the long legs of my lanky son.

after she died, i used to fear that not only would my mind forget her, but that my body would somehow forget her as well. i'd be left with none of her mannerisms or physical attributes. this, to my 13-year old mind, would be horrible b/c then she would really be gone...permanently. and if my body couldn't hold on to her - how the hell could my mind?

luckily, her her-ness was stamped upon the love letter that is my genetic code.

and yet, it is with a mixture of relief and fear that i have, in many ways become my mother. relief because, yes, how can i forget her when she lives in my laugh, the callouses of my feet, and the way i pluck my brows? fear, b/c what if i also got the sick parts too? the parts that had to be cut out, radiated, and killed with chemicals? the breast? the lung? the liver? the brain?

i recently had to get a baseline mammogram and sonogram of my breasts. most ladies don't have to get their first mammogram until much later, but b/c my mom was diagnosed when she was 38, they suggested i start getting yearly mammograms and sonograms when i was 30.

voila. i am 30. so, i went.

it was not an un-stressful event. i sat there, watching the screen as they lubed up my breasts (cold gel! can i suggest a microwave?) and performed the sonogram. of course, to the untrained eye, it looks like, well...nothing. a weblike mass, each area indistinguishable from the other. the technician finishes, and says:

"i'll be back in a few minutes. i'm going to have the doctor look at the slides, just to see if they're okay."

as a few minutes stretches to 5, then 10 and to what seems like hours, i am laying there, vulnerable in more ways than one, wondering:

am looking at a cancerous breast? a healthy breast? maybe, for lunch, i'll have a caesar salad w/ grilled chicken breast? what if it is cancerous? who will i call? dad? my brother? my best friend? will i do chemo? radiation? get a mastectomy? a radical mastectomy? can i cure it w/ nutrition? yes! spinach! lots and lots of spinach! and i'll smoke lots of pot! will i lose all of my hair? maybe i'll be hip like sinead o'connor. no. i'll look so fat as a bald person and my head is bumpy! i'll never get married now. nobody will want a bald, sick, woman with no breasts! what about kids? can i have kids? do i want kids? oh fuck, i can handle this. i'll be fine. i'll fight it. i'll do yoga. move to an ashram. no - i hate those new agey people - too much incense, not enough red meat.

and on and on and on and on and on...until the technician came back.

"zee doctor said everything is fine. you have very healthy breasts."

whew. great. fine.

i'm still scared. i know i'm happy i don't have cancer, but i know i still want to finish that phrase with the word yet.

i gotta remember...

i am not my mother. she might live inside me, and i'm happy to have her do some of the decorating, but i own the house.

all women become their mothers, that's their greatest tragedy. no man does; that's his. oscar wilde

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, made me wanna cry. I have my mother still and i fear the day i have all those feelings. I am a total Mamas girl.