Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, in our agreed upon effort to really focus on doing fun things with my mother, I picked her up at 9:00 a.m. with cherry Danishes in hand. I whisked her off to the aforementioned Brookside Gardens where we met ma famille—MZA, Nick, Ian and Daisy. They saw her in the parking lot and ran to her, delivering sweet hugs all around. She walked through the gardens in poetic amazement—absorbing each rose, marveling in all the colors and scents. She praised the kids to the skies; our interior conversations were lovingly bestowed maternal affirmations praising my life, my children, my husband, my talents. I was so happy.
I took photographs of my mother walking with Nick, of her looking out over the pond at the turtles and the geese. I ordered dim sum for lunch that MZA picked up and we supped chez nous, amid many toasts and happiness. Around 3:00, I pulled things together and drove her home. On the way, she talked about my father and the many things that she observed in me and about how proud he would be of me. Then, as we turned the corner onto Macarthur Boulevard, the street of my youth, she said, “I want to say one more thing, but I’m afraid I’ll lose you.” I said, “What?” And she said, “If I give you a thousand dollars, will you lose some weight?”
This statement, for whatever reasons, negated every thing she had said to me all day, including her opening comments to me that morning which were, “You are such a beautiful girl, do you know that?”
Now all of my successes and praised attributes were somehow lessened, compromised, clouded, inferior, incomplete. You are a beautiful girl, but…And I guess there is nothing worse for a once-beautiful (or whatever the hell I was) girl to hear. That in spite of all I have accomplished, it is somehow not enough. I am not as beautiful as I once was. And you know what? That hurts. That hurts the big one.
I climbed up on that pony known as the elliptical this morning. Maybe I will transform into the fabulous girl I am supposed to be. And then people will compliment me and I will feel bad for this girl, the girl I am today, because the new girl looks better than she does. And this girl is somehow diminished in that process.
Cynicism is another word for reality