I write a lot – in my fiction and scripts – about my imaginary families. Both good and bad. The mean-spirited, loving and loyal… the manipulative and jealous, the helpful and supportive. They come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments and motivations (and occasionally more than one gender).
I think when my brothers told me I was adopted, I started dreaming about the people they’d hoodwinked at the hospital when I’d been switched at birth – the poor, disappointed couple. If I hadn’t looked so much like my mother when she was a kid, I would’ve happily believed them – and later switched places with the impostor who’d unknowingly stolen my throne.
It wasn’t always this way, but I talk to my mom every week. I’ve forgiven many spit-covered thumbs outstretched to remove crafty smudges only mothers can see – while I squirmed and screamed. (Okay, I screamed on the inside.) If I didn’t want a hot comb in an angry woman’s hands come the next straightening day, it was best not to ruffle the self-proclaimed stylist-for-a-day’s feathers. I’m sure those burnt ears were merely accidents.
No matter what I suffered, my mother tolerated months of “the sun will come out tomorrow” and whatever other musical lyrics were stuck in my head that day – or year. She didn’t complain during a decade of violin practice – that I remember. I was going to be a concert violinist like my grandfather! There’s nothing like fingernails clipped to the skin and flat, calloused fingertips for a hand modeling career. It was either that or a professional baton twirler. (Sorry about the furniture.)
Growing up, I blamed my mom for a lot of things – including my so-called “thunder thighs.” And today, I’d gladly accuse her of genetically twisting my sense of humor and sleep habits. But, judging by the awkward silences which assault my ears when I’m cracking jokes on the phone, I don’t think we always land on the same funny page. And she’s usually waking up before I go to bed. (Maybe I will ask her to release my long-form birth certificate.)
So, instead of pointing a finger, I give thanks and sing a song (not one from Annie). I try to make her smile and give me an unsolicited “you’re too funny.” I have no idea what it would be like to be a mother. The joy. The pressure. The love. The worries. The long, thankless nights of rearranging my child’s genetic code until he/she turned out just right.
...I usually black out during the imaginary delivery.
Happy Mother’s Day!