One theme. One poet. One memoirist.

Friday, March 26, 2010

For My Mother

This week's theme: Gratitude.

Did you know that phrase "spittin' image" means more than doppleganger?

Spittin' image is a good Southern phrase and it means that you are the "spirit and image" of another person. It means that you not only look like the other person, but you also embody a part of the other person's personality.

I am the spittin' image of my mother.

For a long time, I wasn't proud of the fact that we resembled one another so closely. I hated my curly hair and short legs; that I loved bluegrass and country music; that I am eternally disposed to keep on the sunny side (about ten years ago I equated sadness with depth); that I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Our relationship from the time I was eleven until the time I was seventeen was awful, and we both admit it. I was a terrible teenager--smart, but incapable of applying myself to subjects I didn't like (everything aside from English classes); grouchy; uncomfortable in my own skin; and obstinate as all get-out. To this day, I'm still not sure how she found the grace to put up with my many and varied mood swings, or how she managed to know that drawing a flower in marker on my lunch bag every morning was something that would get through to me and remind me that she loved me.

The older I get, the more grateful I am that I so closely resemble Mother Prosen. We have the same sense of humor; the same choices in food and smells; the same habits for dealing with stress; the same taste in old movies; the same laugh. Moreover, I am grateful that I still get to have my mother in my life as a close friend.

I often worry that I don't tell her how important she is, or how grateful I am that she didn't give up on me when it would have been so easy.

I love you, Mom.

For My Mother

My mother brings me warm ginger ale,
takes another blanket from the cedar chest,
heats me chicken soup and adds saltines.
She gets The Philadelphia Story from Blockbuster
and checks to make sure my cell phone is charged.
"Call me at work if you need anything." she says,
kissing my forehead goodbye.
I am twenty-four. Fiercely independent
and living hundreds of miles away for years now.
Today, however, I am on her couch,
sick with the flu during my yearly visit,
and so weak I can't stand without her arm.
Drifting to sleep, I worry about the day
when I will do this for her. The blankets and broth.
The Philadelphia Story and ginger ale.
The pharmacy visits and late night temperature readings.
That day will come too soon. For now,
I'm happy to sleep on her couch. Eat her soup.
Let her love me.

1 comment:

  1. This made me cry.

    And not because you used a period instead of a comma after "anything."

    It beautifully captures your relationship with your mother without turning sappy. I get the care she feels for you, the care you express for her. This little vignette gives a glimpse of your relationship in microcosm.

    You know, Prosen, it'd be nice if you gave me something I could criticize once in a while.