I was listening to… something.. the other day, and re-heard the song Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham. Of all of the 90s song that I’ve heard played nostalgically over the years– this one has always been skipped. I’ve never really enjoyed this song, seemed a bit obvious to me even when I was a petulant pre-teen, but this time, it had a new poignancy.
As I listened to it, I started feeling all these feelings, and much like the third time I saw the movie Singles, or saw a commercial that mimicked my way of life, I realized “holy shit, this is about me.” I suddenly wanted to call my mother and make amends for my distance and lack of real communication; apologize for every time I’ve glossed over things, or blown off questions, and promise to re-read all those Republican propaganda emails that she just sent me because she cares!
Naturally, I forgot/couldn’t be bothered to call her, and the feeling passed.
A few days later I was on the phone with little brother and he said “You know, mom and dad have told me that they’re worried about you, and they wish you’d call more often.”
I responded with my standard, “well, they never call me!”
“Jesus Christ, Andria,” he sighed, “Just be the bigger person for once.”
So I made the call, and caught my mother home alone one Sunday afternoon. Admittedly, I picked that time to call because I thought neither of them would be home, but whatever, I was still the bigger person.
We were actually having a rather lovely conversation about her life, my life, my job prospects. I explained to her that even though I don’t have full-time employment, I am picking up a lot of extra shifts, I have a work-from-home gig, I’m applying for things, and I’m optimistic etc.
“I’m also teaching a screenwriting workshop at a library this summer,” I told her, “It’s similar to the one I did last summer, but for adults instead of teens. I think it will be a lot of fun.”
“How did you get hooked up with that?” she asked.
“Someone had heard about my other one, and they just called me.”
“So, how do you know how to do screenwriting? Is that something you learned in your librarian classes?” she asked.
I was simply stunned. There was a pregnant pause during which I tried to think of how I could possibly answer that question without yelling at her. Finally, I settled for a terse, “I have a masters degree in screenwriting, mother.”
I always think of my father as the more vacant of my parental pair, because he usually is, but sometimes my mother is simply amazing.
I could blame myself; I’m a secretive person, I don’t really like to talk about myself that much (this blog directly contradicts that statement, but I maintain that it’s true), I’ve given up trying to talk to my parents about what matters to me etc. The flaw in that logic is: the 2.5 years that I spent working on my Master of Fine Arts in fiction and screenwriting with a certificate in publishing, my mother asked constantly what I was going to school for. Every family dinner “What are you studying again?” “Is this something you really need to do?” I explained and defended, and took in her disapproval as I revisited the salad bar (the salad bar, for god’s sake!); her claiming ignorance on this front is absolutely astonishing, but not completely surprising.
I’m thinking of sending her a CV.