Compliments by text:
Mom: Are you okay? You look like a drowning victim.
Me: Thank you. Drowning victim was what I was going for .
How can I not love my mom? Look, I know her word choice is harsh but it’s also so specific, over the top, creative, and just like from her own world that I just eat it up, and stuff my looks I don’t even hear. Plus, for all her insanity, she really, really cares about me and expresses it in a very twisted way.
This year, the kids and I have regularly going swimming. I’m so happy two out of three kids are able to swim without any flotation devices. Thank god. I don’t have a lot of goals as a parent, but I would like my kids to not drown. That would be fabulous.
Anyway, the kids all love to jump into the pool. You remember when you liked to do that, right? They climb out, jump in, over and over again. Whenever they jump, it causes an enormous splash that hits me in the fact, goes right for my eyes. So it’s like I’m constantly wiping my face. I need an umbrella. I’m also defending my body, because of course, they want to jump right into my arms, which just results in me getting kicked. We are all exhausted from this exercise.
When First Son jumps in, the splash is especially wild. He’s like a gigantic, sweet golden retriever and just jumps right onto me. Waves of water emerge from the pool. I finally figured a little system. Wonder Twin Boy and I got kick boards and propped them up in front of our faces. Golden, right? Wrong. I hid behind my kick board, First Son jumped, and somehow a sheet of water went over my little fence and hit me in the face.
I recently wathced “No Home Movie,” a documentary by Chantal Akerman. I had never heard of Ms. Akerman before I cam across this New York Times review. The review caught my eye because the movie is about Chantal Akerman’s intense bond with her elderly, dying mother, a French Holocaust survivor and because Ms. Akerman committed suicide after her mother died.
For years, I have been telling friends I can on watch movies where models are shooting zombies. That’s really all my brain can handle. Well the jokes on me, friends. I watched this long, slow documentary where for long periods of time, the camera froze on a wall or furniture or the filmmaker’s mom’s face, and I ate it up. Partially, it was how much the artist and mother clearly adored each other. Watching the old woman delight in her daughter, listen to her concerns quite seriously, remember her as a beautiful lovely student. They both expressed affection directly and honestly and simply. It was just moving. Perhaps I connected to it because my own mother is also aging (although my own exchanges with my mom are so much more barbed. My mother is one of the great loves of my life but she was born without an editor in her brain and I can definitely behave like a storm.)
There’s a moment where she asks Chantal why she’s filming her on Skype and Chantal says “I want to show how small the world is.” Her mother’s reaction was to laugh lightly and comment how Chantal has always had the most interesting ideas. Is that not moving?
The other night, I put Wonder Twin Boy to bed and was feeling some tenderness toward him. I hugged him and stroked his face and whispered to him “One day, you are going to be ten years old.” He whispered back, “And one day, you will be dead.”
I could not stop laughing. It was really bad. I had to leave the room and freak out into a pillow. Husband had to take over bedtime because I just fell apart.