Dear Mama (Run, Write, Love)

I had lunch with my mom today. I think she may have even enjoyed herself. The old days, I would think so and then only to learn later that I had upset her in some way. I use to say everything I was thinking to people I felt safe to do so with. I no longer do that – and if I do, I have learned not to (well practice it, anyway) take ownership of someone else’s reaction. Some may say I have grown up. I say I learned to shut my damn mouth. She and I have certainly come a long way.

Yesterday I found a picture of my parents on their wedding day and posted it on my Facebook page. They were so young, that they had to fly to Utah to get married – as it was the only state legal to do so in 1972. It is the only picture I own of my parents together and found it unexpectedly. I showed my mom the picture today. In the old days, she would have responded strangely. Perhaps in a way that made me feel that I was being manipulative. In all fairness, maybe as a young woman, I was unable to gauge her reaction accurately and that was my own unfounded interpretation. Either way, I found the picture yesterday, shared it with her today, as well as a couple of videos of my kiddos. It was all very casual. Maybe because I genuinely didn’t care about her reaction. As in, it was not the concern – not a I-don’t-care-stomp-stomp-slam “I didn’t care” reaction. Or maybe because she has reached a better understanding of who I am and realizes she can’t change me…? Either way, my intentions were not for a reaction. Maybe she felt that. Or maybe we both feel more comfortable in our own skin than we use to. Either way, we were cool- and that is cool.

Anyway, following our lunch, I started thinking about my mom and how I spent so much time not appreciating her strengths. Maybe she did the same with me. We could not be more different, she and I. In some ways, I think she had always desperately wanted for me to make different choices – as she was equally jealous that I was living the life she couldn’t, in some ways. For my part, I desperately wanted her approval and love, as all children want from their parents, as equally as I wanted to live my own life, on my terms. It’s a story as old as time.

Today, I feel it important to acknowledge my mother’s badass-ness, and that is really what this comes down to. My mother is smart. Ridiculously so. It’s interesting, because I tell my kids all the time (whose father is incredibly cerebral) that one is not born smart. A person must work for it. I believe this is true. However, on the other side of that argument is the fact that my mother’s father was freakishly brilliant. The man graduated high school at 14, and had his college degree at 17. I believe he worked at Boeing in Seattle as an engineer until his death (car accident) – in 1962, or near there. My mother was six, if I am remembering correctly.

Fast forward nine years, and my mother is knocked up by the high school football star, at 15. Not a great time to be a pregnant teen. Or two years later, a pregnant (again) and single young “woman”, with not even a high school education. Fast forward a few more years, the woman has college degrees in Biology and Chemistry, while raising two little brats. Bad. Ass.

My mother has her weaknesses, but damn, she is smart. Nurturing…maybe a stretch. I think I saw the woman cry twice in my life. I think I get that from her. I get my backbone from her. I like that shit. I have been in some predicaments in my time. My mother was sort of the blink-and-stare parent. Sometimes I would get a, “Well, you’ll be alright,” response. Maybe that’s really not a weakness. Maybe it wasn’t as easy as she made it seem. Maybe she was giving me some thick skin. Maybe she knew from my childhood, that I was certainly going to need it with the choices I was hell-bent on making, and by the experiences I had been exposed to.

Clearly, she made some big mistakes. Some that cannot be taken back. Who hasn’t? I have recently been able to appreciate her very liberal view on social issues. I was raised by a broke single woman in the 70’s, who chose a male dominated profession, which enabled her to pick herself up and ditch welfare. I can tell you the woman did not do this for herself. She is cheap as fuck – I mean financially wise, of course. Not really, I meant cheap as fuck in a really smart way. Anyway, I saw all of this happen. I remember attending some college classes with her, coloring at a desk, because she likely had no babysitter. I get stressed taking my kids to a doctor’s office sometimes! A college environment, are you kidding me? A young woman with a little brat in tow? From my recollection, this was during her post-graduate work at Oregon State. Bad. Ass.

Of course she was liberal in her social opinion. I have always gone against the grain in this department, as well. Thanks, mom! Thanks for at least opening my eyes to something other than going with what everyone else wants me to do. Ironically, it backfired a little, but hey, great job!

I have often wondered if anyone who has ever seen real struggle would ever choose a conservative social approach. I do know a few, but I don’t believe it’s the norm. However, I think that’s for another day, another blog entry. Which will likely happen.

In the words of Tupac – “Dear Mama, You Are Appreciated.”

In my own words – “Dear Mama, You Are A Badass.”

2 Responses to “Dear Mama (Run, Write, Love)”

  • Ann Wray:

    open and clear picture of your mother; something now that easy to see or do.

  • Margaret Moore:

    Sarah!! I’m so glad you repined one of my pins!! I just clicked on your blog link in hopes of getting in touch with you again… I miss you : ( I hope we can keep in touch through email ( or texting… (503 459 6600). You truly mean so much to me and I have loved watching you and your beautiful boys grow. I hope you get this.. : ) I see this is an older post, but I’m hoping it gets to your email.
    Your mom was a very sweet bad ass.. lol. I would love to share with you some of my great memories of our times together. It is hard to think of our parents as being young, but you have done a great job of trying to understand her strength. She was so quietly strong and I truly never appreciated it until I grew up and had my own kids. I know my relationship with Roma is very different than yours. You have had a lot of forgiving to do, and it says a lot about your Bad Assness, that you are working to have a relationship with her.
    I really hope you get this… Love, Margaret

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