Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ma Demonstrates

As mentioned in an earlier post, my Mom who passed away 11 years ago has been on my mind a lot lately - as she is every year during the barrage of Mothers' Day ads and commercials. So here is a "Ma story".

Mom was about 72. She by this time wore a nasal oxygen canula 24/7, which she hooked up to a porta-pack of oxygen when she wanted to leave the house. Once a vigorous, non-stop go-everywhere kind of gal, she was now dependent on my Dad or me to drive her wherever she wanted to go. Her jaunts had gotten less frequent as she became physically weaker over time. But her mind and spirit never slowed down.

It was on a Spring day not unlike today that she called me:

Mom: Hi, honey - guess what happened in our little New England town today?

Me: You finally bought the last potted plant they had for your garden?

Mom: Nope. You know those Right to Life people? Well they held a vigil in town where they held hands with each other all across the town. They stretched from one edge of town to the other. All holding hands. The newspapers and TV stations were there, too.

OK - now I'll give you some background. My Mom and Dad raised me in the Roman Catholic Church, and were vigorous "defenders of the faith". My Dad attended mass every Sunday without fail, long after my Mom had grown too frail. Mom and I had NEVER discussed abortion. Ever. Although she was a rabid Democrat, I also knew that she had a very traditional take on sexuality issues that often bordered on the conservative as I was growing up.

I braced myself. We were about to have our first abortion discussion. My stomach sank. I said all I could think of saying:

Me: Oh really?

Mom: Yep, and I made your Dad pack up the oxygen and take me out to Court Square so I could see them and talk with them - that is where they were organizing.

Me: Really? (sick feeling in stomach -- mind racing)

Mom: And we drove by. I rolled down the window of the car and I made your Dad drive by real slow so I made sure they would hear me. I kind of had to shout, but it was important.

Me (silence)

Mom: Want to know what I said?

Me: OK

Mom: I said (pause for effect here) I said - "Are YOU going to adopt those babies? Shame on you! Who is going to take care of all those babies? If you love those babies so much, adopt them!"

Me: You said that???

Mom: That's not all. I made Dad stop and I asked one old pinch faced woman if she had protested the Vietnam War - and she said "NO!" So you know what I said?

Me: I cannot imagine.

Mom: I said "Oh, so it's OK to kill teen aged American boys AFTER they are born, just not BEFORE? If you care about AMERICA'S CHILDREN, STOP POVERTY, EDUCATE KIDS AND STOP WAR. My daughter protested the war - she is more PRO-LIFE than you'll ever be!"

Me: Have I told you lately that I love you?

Mom: Feel free to tell me anytime. I surprised you, huh? (giggles)

Me: You certainly did.

Mom: Not as much as I surpirsed that old lady in Court Square, (huge laugh)

Then she paused for a moment. We were both silent. I could hear the mischief in her voice as she said to me:

"So I guess this old lady has a few surprises for her kid up her sleeve yet, eh?"

We both laughed big heart jelly laughs. She was one helluva gal.


Blogger Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Mata: I'm browsing the ProgFaith blogroll for links for this weekend's carnival, and came across your blog. I would very much like to link something from it. Is there a particular (recent) post you'd like me to use? (And if not, do I have your permission to grab something?)

3:09 PM  
Blogger Rainbow dreams said...

Great story - sometimes they can really surprise us can't they?

3:52 PM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

What a great lady and a lovely memory! :c)

6:45 AM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

Moms can indeed surprise us.

While my father was alive, my mother never, in my memory, made any sort of independent political statement -- just affirmations of what my dad said. After he died, though, she started asserting her own ideas more. And even when they didn't agree with mine, it tickled me that she felt free to express them. But usually, to my surprise, she did agree with me. (I remember one evening, while we were watching the evening news, a lead story on Bush, she just shook her head and said, "What an idiot." ;-) She also told me that her mother had been a great fan of Eleanor Roosevelt; thought she was the greatest woman ever...something I'd not known before. So it was fun for me to see her bloom, to feel comfortable becoming her own person.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...

Right On! Mata's Mom for President. ;-)

great story, Mata.

makes a person want to puff up a bit with pride.


2:47 PM  

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