Friday, September 28, 2012
I'll See You in Heaven (if you make the list)
Today is going to differ this way: I'm going to talk about good, solid, salt of the earth stuff. And it's going to revolve around my mom.
My mother was a tile setter - one of the first women in Indiana to move past her apprenticeship and become a full fledged Journeyman, you know, Master. Not kidding. She worked hard as fuck for the money she made; she'd haul bags of dry concrete mix up and down stairs, she'd work in the freezing cold or smouldering heat surrounded by construction men, who, more than once, taught my worldly mother a new colorful phrase or two. My mother essentially became "one of the guys" by working her hands to the bone.
Before that, she was a hairdresser. Before that, she was a teen mom. And before that she dropped out of high school to ran away to Texas, following a boy with blonde hair and big teeth.
She decided to have me, despite having made an appointment for an abortion. Can you believe that? She was actually IN THE WAITING ROOM before she and my dad decided, "you know, we can do this..." And they did do it, people. Here I am.
She has given me her work ethic. She taught me to fry an egg perfectly, in bacon grease. Devotion and loyalty and to utterly lose my shit when a bee or a mouse or a moth is around. I know, because of her, that I'm strong. Even though mostly I'm insane, I know I could take this world on. I have learned through observation that we can all move past our pasts. She was beat, emotionally and physically, and while I was young, she was better to me. She always told me she loved me. There wasn't ONE NIGHT that I spent with her that she didn't give me a ridiculous amount of "good night"s, and "sleep tight"s, and bed time kisses.
She instilled in me a serious drive to always have clean sheets. She never once told me I was ugly, or a whore, or stupid like her dad told her a lot. She only spanked me with a belt once. She let me listen to Nirvana and Violent Femmes and Green Day. She didn't ever give me permission to date that older boy, I mean, I did anyway - but I also got that from her.
So, what I'm saying is this: most of my life was good. The "men standing around with one foot on the truck's bumper drinking beer and women gathered around clucking about weather and kids and men" good. There were some hard times - some of my deepest wounds are from her, but some of my strongest characteristics were cut from her mold.
This post is for my mom - and if I'm ever a mom, I can't wait to tell my daughter about the good things her grandma has done.