OFF: Happy Birthday, Mom Redux

In an effort to get as much link to this blog as possible, I posted a new, rare entry on my old Xanga blog. Before I got around to posting a new post, it turns out that the most recent one was about calling my mom on her birthday. 

For context: My mom’s birthday is also Valentine’s Day, which makes it just about a year since I had posted last.

I read this again while in the grips of nostalgia and almost immediately wished I hadn’t. It’s funny how it’s so easy to forget old bitternesses and how easily they come back to you. If I were looking at this from a purely academic standpoint, it’d be interesting to see how much — or how little — changes in a year’s time.

The old post reads, in part:

I don’t talk to her much, if at all. I will return phone calls once, and I’ll see her when I’m already in town. The worst part is that I am the person in our family who treats her with the most respect. For some reason, I still hold my grudges against her, because I am a self-important bastard. Because I know I’m right, I don’t care what anyone thinks about what I say.

But today is her birthday.

And because it’s her birthday, I called her this afternoon. She wasn’t there. She was out with her mother, my grandmother. The mean one, for those of you keeping track. I left a bored message for her at the phone, with a return number. I knew that doing this would make her day, and was more valuable than anything else I could give her.

Once she calls back:

“Your sister really respects you.” It came out of nowhere. I hesitated. After a brief pause, I knew I had to say something, anything.

“I’m glad she thinks that.”

“She said you’re wicked smart. Isn’t that a funny phrase?” She told me how Hannah just helped her put together an email account, and asked for my email. She also asked me for my phone number. She had lost it since I gave it to her last. She always loses it.

“You know, we have to go out sometime on Valentine’s Day someday, if you don’t already have a girlfriend. Just you and me.”

I don’t remember what exactly she said from there. I just remember that — for whatever reason — I cried. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

“That would be fun, Mom.” We made arrangements to talk every other Thursday. She’ll probably forget. She always does.

I hope she doesn’t.

She did.


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