So April came in like a bull with its horns in my nuts. I started this post on April 5th, but I just deleted everything except the first line and am starting over. Why ? Because time + tragedy might equal comedy, but time + time, for me, = glad. Joyce needed Trieste to write about Dublin, and I need at least a week to write about any of the shit that means anything to me. A righteously pissed-off letter to some half-wit enemy, a poem memorializing a still-transcendent roll in the hay, a fresh take on a script or a story after seeing a film — I’ve fired them off countless times, and every time it was a bad idea.
April 4th was my mother’s birthday. My brother and I drove up to join them for dinner. Join who ? My mother shares her home with her full-time caregiver, Maria, who cooks cleans and drives her to her hair dresser every week. She also collects stuffed frogs and overfeeds the birds so much the back patio looks like a tiny guano mine, but over the years, Maria has become family to us, and so have her two sons and a daughter, all great and kind people, who Maria dotes on and worries about much the way she does on my mother. She is a Filipina, and the agency who found her for us is run by a jovial Filipino couple. So for her 77th birthday, my mother had dinner at a faux-French bistro in a strip mall surrounded by Maria and her children, the agency couple, Teresa her hair dresser and her husband and their kids, and my brother and me.
All of these people love my mother, despite her sometime short fuse and her weak body. When she was younger, she stood nearly six feet tall because she never went out without heels. She didn’t talk to you, she spoke at you, and God help you if you didn’t listen. My father sold her his half of the company they owned when they divorced, and she grew it ten fold in a decade. She traveled the world, ran charities, and yet now she seems almost like a plush toy of herself : soft, short, a little crumpled. But she is still the sharpest mind in the room, and she seems to have an almost infinite capacity to treat my brother and me like princes. Continue reading