Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mamma Mia!

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!


  1. What a nice post for your mum! I especially like the fact that your mum doesn't laugh when you crack a joke. Same here. Must be a generation thing. Have a great day!

  2. Just stopped by from She Writes. This is pretty funny. Love the imagery of the spit on the thumb--who hasn't experienced that--and of a younger you driving your mom crazy singing show tunes. A very amusing tribute filled with nothing but love. Nice!

  3. Haha! In family legend my brother was found in a pig pen—a version of the adoption story, I guess.

    When your turn on the delivery table comes, Kenya, I just know you'll do beautifully, not just then but in the years to come.

  4. Muriel - Thank you! Fortunately, I get a few laughs here and there. But, I have to bring my A game -- and keep it clean. ;D

    Monica - Thank you for stopping by -- and your kind words. I'm checking out your blog and "adventures" now. :) Have a great one!

    Scrollwork - Thank you so much for the vote of confidence! But, I've watched those emergency/paramedic shows since I was a kid. (I did the whole "what comes out of where?!")

    And I can't believe you told your brother he was found in a pig pen! Maybe if he hadn't been so good at finding truffles... ;D

  5. Kenya, lovely post! I smiled when I read, "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." Such a typical mom reaction, don't you think? For many years my sisters and I have joked back and forth saying, "You're turning into mom," and this afternoon as I heard her advice, her stories of childhood...for the first time I thought, "Maybe it's not that bad!" :)

  6. I doubt I'll be turning into my mom any time soon -- because she's so awesome and one of a kind (just in case she's rereading this post). ;D But, every once in a long while, I hear myself utter a mom-motto which freezes me in my tracks and makes me smile... I'll have to work on her daughter-adages. ;) Happy Mother's Day, Bella!

  7. Um, thunder thighs? *searches high and low and scratches head*

    What a fun and lovely tribute to your mom! :D

  8. Lovely post, Kenya. Though it made me appreciate how lucky I am that I can make my mum roar with laughter. Mind you, she's never been a great one for dishing out unsolicited praise, so swings and roundabouts, eh?

  9. Sam - Thunder thighs was a childhood nickname -- another gift from my brothers. Sweet, huh? :) I was a little nervous about my mom reading this. But, she liked it. I hope you had a wonderful day! ;)

    Deborah - It seems we have to take the good with the... not so good? Being a perfect daughter, I've made it very easy for her. ;) And I don't really crack jokes. It's more like I say whatever pops into my head and tickles my brain. Since she's not privy to the characters inside my head, I try to cut her some slack. (Besides, they can't all be winners.) ;D

  10. She must be so proud!! You're beautiful and talented and independent. What more could a mom ask for? xx

  11. You're so sweet, Isabelle! And from now on, I'll be hiring you to write all my Daughter's Day cards. ;D


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