I saw the posts go up today, everyone writing about their Moms. I haven't read them yet. That's for later, after my own thoughts are set and published and beyond bashful retreat. But I caught on to the theme right quick. The immediate reaction? I should write about my mother! What a terrif-
And then my brain stalled. And I had the mental conversation in my head.
"Hey Mom! I'm going to write about you in my blog!" Me. (Just in case you hadn't figured it out).
"What?" Conversations in my family generally include a lot of repetition. I suspect either genetic hearing loss and/or chronic inattention. Maybe both.
"My blog," I say. "I'm going to write about you in my blog."
"You have a blog?"
"I didn't know you had a blog."
"Yeah, you did. I mentioned it." Which I did, in passing, in response to a direct question from my father. What do you say when the man asks, "Hey, do you have a blog?" My mother was in the room. So it counts.
"You did?" She doesn't really doubt me. We talk all the time and stuff gets missed, mislaid, forgotten. The brain can only absorb so much minutiae. "Huh, I don't remember that."
"I did," I tell her. It feels like a lie. After all, same breath, I maybe sort of also told my Dad I didn't write in it regularly. Truth, but a half-truth. I may have possibly sort of steered him toward the idea I'd abandoned it. I didn't want him googling me. If you want to be a psychologist, you can. I baffle myself, so have a crack.
"And you're writing about me?"
"Yeah, it's Mother's day. Almost. Sort of."
"What are you writing?" Here there is deep suspicion. This seems to root from one of my very first pieces of fiction. It involved a woman with an almost compulsive need to wash dishes. This detail was incidental to the story but it was the key piece of evidence my mother brought forth in her accusation that I was writing about her. I wasn't. I really wasn't. If I could go back in time and make the character a chain-smoker instead, I would.
"I don't know. About you. General stuff. Growing up stuff. Is that alright?"
In my head, she always ends up saying okay, but in the tone of voice that lets me know it really isn't okay at all and she'd rather I write about something else, anything else. Why? If I could answer that, I could probably tell you why she doesn't know I have a blog, at least not one I actually write in. I think she's afraid I'll embarrass her, tell you one of the stories I tease her with when the mood strikes, one of the stories in which she's silly or funny or human. Maybe I'll share something more personal, some private painful moment in her life. Maybe I'll confess some heretofore un-spoken resentment for my childhood. Who knows?
Truth is, what I do know is that she wouldn't want me to tell her stories here. So I share my mental cobwebs instead, conversations that never happened, fears that are maybe more mine than hers, a long-winded explanation of why, this Mother's Day, I'm saying (in my head; we have established that's where these conversations take place) "Mom, I'm writing about not writing about you in my blog today."
And, if you do somehow stumble across this blog, Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I promise, no resentment, no silly stories and life is good. Love ya lots.
P.S. Dad, if you find this which is the more likely bet, it's my issue and nothing to do with you. Love you too.