Friday, April 17, 2009

If We Were To Assign Her A Word, It Would be "Esoteric."

Today is my mom's birthday.

I really don't know what else to say other than that. I wish I could tell you exciting histories and episodes of hilarity, but my mom is a notoriously private person. With my dad, though, I could do roll call for his second grade homeroom, right down to "Quincy, Rossi, Rutherford, SullivanSullivanSullivan and Aimes," because Aimes joined in the middle of the school year. He tells everybody everything.

It's not like I haven't tried to coax stories out of her. I could shove poisonous pokey stickish things under her fingernails, and she would probably just roll her eyes and smile and shake her head at me, like I was being silly. She chooses who she talks to very, very carefully.

But I'm lucky, because now we work in the same office, and I can see her. Before she was my mom, but now she's a person.

If there are rules, she complies, regardless of her feelings towards them. But she knows all the rules, and knows exactly how to bypass one while staying within the boundaries of the system. She looks all harmless, with her sweaters from Coldwater Creek and Naturalizer shoes and mom pants. Secretly, though, (and when I say secretly, I mean like superdupertripleswear secretly) she's calculating and slightly manipulative, but never of people.

She never lies. Ever. Rather than lie, she chooses not to speak. It’s all, “Is Santa for real?” and she says, with a terminating lilt, “Well, that’s up to you.” Conversation over.

She bakes like she invented the fucking oven, but she can't cook dinner for crap.

When I was younger and something was bothering me, she would silently make cookies, call me into the kitchen and hand me my little cup of dough and then just go back to accounting for things or whatever she was doing. She still does that. If I have a bad day at work, she just shows up the next morning with a little tiny Tupperware full of chocolate chip cookie dough and just goes on her way. She gets embarrassed and blushed when people fuss and gush.

My mom does crossword puzzles. Hard ones. She knows the names of Zulu Chieftans and the color of Benedict Arnold's eyes. Back when I lived at home, I started doing them too, and if I couldn't get an answer she would just lay a volume of our old-ass encyclopedia on the kitchen table for me to find. No note, just the book with the answer and I had to catch it myself. It took me awhile to figure out she was even leaving them there for me. I thought my sister was lazy or something.

For years, because she's so damn lovingly sneaky, I just thought she didn't care - but that's just how she operates. And I feel like a moron for not recognizing it when I was younger. It's so hard to see things from the perspective of others when you're feeling sorry for yourself. You know, I didn’t notice that she stayed home from work when I was sick, I didn’t notice that she listened to me, because her advice and answers were always so subtle…if we were to assign her a word, it would be esoteric, if it didn't imply pretension.

I don’t know. My mom is an introvert, but out of strength rather than fear. She’s brilliant and humble and sneaky and proud. She laughs only when she means it and shuts her ears when she’s reading a book, and even though she wishes her daughters wore flowery dresses and wanted to make babies, I know she’s secretly proud of us for plowing ahead ourselves with little regard for “supposed to.”

She has more tools than my dad and loves to garden and sew, but is really not an expert at any of them. She loves Gene Kelly movies and Romancing the Stone and owns every single record released by both the Beatles and Neil Young before 1990. She doesn’t drink. She wanted to be a librarian and became an accountant, so my parent’s house is slowly becoming a library, and someday she wants a room with floor to ceiling shelves of books and a track-rolling ladder.

When she was in college, she self-framed three hand-glued jigsaw puzzles of the Ballantine First Edition paperback covers of Lord of the Rings, which she’s read at least once a year for the past forty years. They’ve been hanging in the basement since I was a tiny person, and I used to stare at them when I was little, thinking they were just neat pictures. She never told me what they were. I figured it out when I read her paperback copies in high school, and realized that the covers matched. When I asked her why she never told me about them, she said, "Well, I knew you'd figure it out some day."

For her birthday, I'm taking her to a Kane County Cougars game.

So, you know. Happy Birthday, Mom-Who-Doesn't-Know-About-My-Blog. At least she knows I love her.



The Ambiguous Blob said...

My mom is really private too, until you get a few silver bullets into her. Then, she flashes everybody. Oh, moms are fun. Happy birthday, Mrs. Rassles!

Nikki B. said...

i can only hope and pray (if i was a pray-er) that my children learn to make their own way "with little regard for 'supposed to.'"

i will consider myself successful at motherhood if they do!

so, happy birthday rassles' mom...job well done!!

oh, the mystery word thingy below is "feckd" in, "tonight, i am getting fecked up!!!!"

Red said...

My parents know about WILATU. They know it started as EG's blog and that I contribute. A few times I've sent them posts via email. This is an awesome post and I totally think you should show it to your mom. But I totally understand if you don't, too. Happy Birthday, Rassles's mom.

Anonymous said...

beautiful! both the stories about your mom - and that you're observant and caring enough to notice!

formerly fun said...

"She bakes like she invented the fucking oven"

My favorite line.

Happy Birthday Mamma Rassles,Rossi Matriarch.

Gwen said...

I would KILL for a mom like that. I love my mom but she would have never left an encyclopedia out on the table when I was trying to find an answer to a crossword puzzle. You describe your mom so well, I feel like I know her. And I want a library with one of those ladders on a track too. My life would be complete if I had one of those in my house.

mongoliangirl said...

Happy birthday Mom Rassles! What a sweet post.

Mia Watts said...

Happy Birthday Mother of Rassles. Loving description from loving daughter. Especially enjoy how you "discover" her more over the years. Aw.

By the way, what color eyes *does* Benedict Arnold have? And don't give me an encyclopedia. Am thinking... brown. Goes with the overall nature of ass kissers.

wolf said...

Well, tell her happy birthday from the blogosphere. Sounds like an awesome lady!

Anonymous said...

I hope your mother had a fantabulous birthday!

Kitty said...

Happy birthday to your mom, Rassles.
You got a good one. She raised a good girl, too.

Mrs. Booms said...

My mom wears weird little sweaters over everything and smells of patchouli.

True story, I walked into the grocery store one day and said, "I smell my mom."

She was an aisle away. I didn't even know she was there.

Anyway, that's not as awesome as this. At all.

Thanatos said...

Kick ass post, seriously.

Do you do eulogies?

American in Sydney said...

Baking and mom pants-- deadly combination.

The secretive, or as you so nicely put it "private" mommery, must be a generational thing.

And if she did know about your blog-- she'd never tell you, right? haha.

Love Bites said...

YOu should totally give her this, Rossi, as a letter. Speaking as a mom, I can't think of a more thoughtful gift.

Also, would you write my obituary someday? ^.^

Bluestreak said...

Rassles, it's a shame if she doesn't get to read this post, but I know, it's hard to have your mom all up in your blog n shit.

Your mom sounds freaking awesome.

Gypsy said...

So beautiful. I definitely agree: give this to her. Perfect present.

Rassles said...

Ambiblob: I doubt my mom has ever flashed anyone in here life. It's not that she hates fun, it's just that...okay, so she hates fun.

Nikki: From reading your blog, I'd say you're on the right track. Beware. (psssst: Feckd? No feckin' way)

Red: I might give it her, but I'd have to seriously kick it up a notch. Make it more fluid. We'll see.

Daisyfae: I've never been known for being observant. This is like, a whole new world for me.

FF: "Rossi Matriarch" = my favorite line.

Gwen: Thanks. And wouldn't having that library be like, the best thing ever?

Mongo: Thanks, friend. And my mom thanks you as well.

Mia: They're black. He was a dark, dark man.

Wolf: She is an awesome lady.

Franklin: I don't know that my mom has ever had a fantabulous anything, but I'm working on it.

Kitty: I got lucky, I think. Most people prolly feel that way about their moms, and that's a good thing. Doesn't diminish her worth, though.

Boomer: Your mom's a hippy? Nice.

Thanny: I've never done eulogies, but I have written wedding speeches.

Flora: Total mom pants, right down to the pleats. And you're completely right. She would never, ever tell me if she read this.

LB: Here lies corpsified LB, mother, fucker, bad ass, rhetorical mastermind...

Blues: There's no way I want my mom all up in my blog.

Gypsy: Like I said above, we'll see about that.

Unknown said...

wonderful article on mothers Birthday , Heart fully I wishing your Mother , I hope to celebrate many Birthdays

Unknown said...

Article on Mother is Awesome,Many Happy Birthday to your Mother. I wish you joy and happiness in her life.

Unknown said...

Many Birthday wishes to Rassles's mom.. I wish you joy and happiness in your life.