Sunday, May 09, 2010

You can take the girl away from her mommy, but you can't take the mommy away from the girl

It's mother's day in America.

It's just another Sunday here in France.

I never really liked Mother's Day much. It's that sheep mentality thing. I never made a good sheep.

But, I have to say, I miss my Mommy today. I miss her a lot.

When I lived in America I saw her frequently. Stopped into her house, which is still my childhood home, more often than may be normal for a 40-something woman with children of her own.

It is always the same there. Same smells. Same furniture. Same pictures on the walls. As it should be.

First thing I do when I get there is use the bathroom. I'm not sure why that is. When I'm sitting on the toilet, I talk to Mom through the door.

Then I come out into the kitchen and go straight to the refrigerator. I often don't realize I am doing it. Suddenly I'll just be standing, gazing into her refrigerator, but not seeing anything. And I'm not even hungry. What am I looking for? Cherry Jello? A glass of milk to go with my Oreos? My childhood?

Sometimes when I walk into her kitchen, I see the light on downstairs in the basement and hear the dryer spinning hotly-- cachunk- cachunk-- and it brings me right back. I am coming home from school. Mom is home. Mom was always home. "Mom. Are you down there?"

And I don't even have to see her. I can just imagine her down there, standing in front of the dryer, folding Dad's thin T-shirts, his holey briefs, his ancient socks. Just like she has always done.

Just like she has always.
Just like she has.
Just like she.
Just like.

Newish BabyCenter posts here and here.


Stephanie said...

I do the same. First thing I do wheb I visit my parents is open the refrigerator, they ask if I'm hungry, and I am usually not hungry. It's that familiar feeling that always gets me, no matter how many years pass.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

What a cool tribute to your mom. I love the ending group of sentences. :) The part about you looking for your childhood in the refrigerator cracked me up. And WOW -- I cannot imagine knowing the same house I grew up in. There were, like, at least ten of them. :) It is a very extraordinary thing that you can go back to the same home, to the same smells... It was really nice to read about that -- you really brought the feeling of security out with your writing.

Thanks for another beautiful post, Betsy.

Betsy said...

And thank you, Karin, for always taking the time to not only read, but consider what you have read and respond so sincerely. I'm smiling. Thanks.
Perhaps the fact that my parents still live in the same home is what makes me so sensitive to our transience here in France. Three homes in one year is so "alien" to me. I can still find some of my old 45 records over at my mom's house, down in the basement/TV room, right where I left them. The day I don't find those records, or my parents, there will be a day of reckoning,

Kingsmom said...

I think this migh be my favorite Betsy post. I just loved it.

Betsy said...

Gee thanks, Kingsmom. I enjoyed writing it. I sent the link to my mom as her Mother's Day gift. She read it then told me she was going out to buy my dad some new socks. :)

john cave osborne said...

i loved what you did at the end.

scents, images, pictures on a wall... they are all so evocative, aren't they? my mom still lives in the house i grew up in. i can totally relate to your post, and the nostalgia therein. you did your mom proud on this, regardless of whether or not you're big on Mother's Day.

thanks for visiting my site. i loved your reaction to "Me? I'm just a hiker," because it's my very favorite line in the entire post. it's stripped down, raw, and ernest. what a fantastic parallel you drew between that post and "The Bear Climbed Over the Mountain."

look fwd to "visiting" with you again soon...

Stephanie said...

Yes, Betsy, I do have three blogs. It's a little crazy, but I just wanted each of my sons to have something special to read when they grow up. I was going to combine everything on my blog, but just haven't done so. Hopefully they want to read them when they are older.

I have been following babe's blog since you started it at babycenter and I love it!

I can pretty much relate to a lot of the stuff you write about. My oldest is 4 and the youngest is 1. Isla does a lot of the same stuff Jonas does. I can kind of see what it will be like when Jonas is 7 or 8 and Angus is 4, like your girls.

Thanks for sharing your great writing!

Emma said...

Lovely post! How nice for you to be able to revisit your childhood home and have that sense of timelessness. We all need that sometimes. You must have had a very happy and secure childhood! Happy Mother's Day.

Marathon Mommy said...

Oh Betsy-I just read this post and loved it. You are a very talented writer!! I admit to tearing up because I miss my Mom. She is half way across the country but it might as well be France. My parents live in the same house I grew up in too and when I come home I am instantly "back in that place." There is a comforting feeling in the familiar, even if the familiar is something from 20 years ago.

Ren said...

oh betsy...what a touching post! the end got me teary and my heart is aching for my mommy....

Empress Evelyn said...

Ah you touched a soft spot - no matter what a hard ass bitch I think I am I missed my mum so much when I lived in London I called her everyday, until she told me to piss off and give her peace. I forgot about the time difference.

Betsy said...

Empress Evelyn. I will pat myself on the back for finding your well-hidden soft spot. Loved your punch line.