Sunday, May 11, 2008

"I Got It from My Mama"

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Escaping into Pop Music

There was a popular American song I wrote about while in India. The artist,, is asking a series of girls about the origin of their beautiful bodies. All of them sing-chant: "I got it from my mama."

This morning, before, and after, reading Thomas Friedman's and Caitlin Flanagan's and Julie Buxbaum's "New York Times" articles, I'm unable to stop singing a piece of a pop song in my head. "...jeans, boots with the fur; the whole club was looking at her...." I went to check the lyrics and found a crazy mashup of the song with a Teletubbies video on Youtube.

Music vs. Reality

It is a gorgeous day and in 30 minutes, I'll be on my way to the pool for a swim and then we'll be on our way to my mother's to celebrate her. That sounds better than innocuous, right? It sounds lovely. And it can be, but likely not purely so.

This morning, I'm fixated on pop-song choruses because they're easier than reality. The reality is that we need to haul my mom around in a wheel-chair because her broken leg is still healing. And she'll probably never be as mobile as she was prior to the accident.

And with my mother, being 82, we are lucky to have made it this far before there was any sort of major decline. I'm grateful for that. There's no diminished mental capacity on my mom's part; her memory's sharper than mine even, but the physical challenges are undeniable.

Calling My Mom

After reading Thomas Friedman's and Caitlin Flanagan's columns in particular, I wanted to dial my mother's phone number. And yet, a few minutes later, when the phone rang and it was my mother, asking for some chores to be done in her behalf, I couldn't wait to finish the conversation.

I guess I hate chores. Ahd I like blogging.

Why can't it be like it was when both of us were in our skipping prime, when I was seven and she was 47? Why can't my mother be purely a mother to me, rather than partly a mother and partly a daughter?

Both columnists lamented that they couldn't call their mothers even if they wanted to, since they were dead, and that was what I always thought was worst about my father, being gone. I could not call him to brag or complain.

Dreams and Legacies

Probably the most poignant part of Thomas Friedman's column was this statement: "It's so easy to overlook -- your mom had dreams, too."

Yes, my mother had dreams, none of which included a major car accident, or breast cancer (that she's cured of), or an aortic aneurysm, or having a daughter with breast cancer (that she's cured of), or losing her husband to cancer at 56....

She has so far accomplished some of her dreams, though -- of studying in Israel in 1950, of being a journalist before she married, of marrying my father, of collecting and selling primitive Jewish-American and Israeli art....

Those women, responding to, said they got their bodies from their mamas. What did I get from my mama? My smile, my enthusiasm, my belief that anything's possible, my love of my culture and religion, and of museums, and my capacity for kindness to others....

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