Ramadan Day 4 – my mother in the Summertime

I love to consider my mother in the Summertime.


Blooming her orchids. They all survive except for the one I brought back from Hawaii, pink and white, delicate, plucked from the volcano’s side. She pulls the green hose forward and douses the lemon tree, my birthday gift for Justin. Neither of us ever bothered to care for that little thing. It owes her a decade. She flattens her mulish ears and moves on, battles a squat, overgrown monster with green arms and scales, for its life.


The thought of my high school marching band, invited to perform at the Holiday Bowl, that chartered boat sailing to the America’s cup, an unfortunate storm, all of us stuck at sea and sick, and on my knees, my eyes closed, my mother’s face in the waves.  How I prayed for her special brews, or one of those intoxicating rubbery medicine balls she soothed into our stomachs.  My mother abhors indigestion.


After my grandmother died, the oil splashed from the pan, thin-sliced potatoes and egg, green onion, my favorite dish, and the terrible crease on her face when we realized we’d forgotten the dish in the casket. My mother’s hands washed the dishes.


Puh-uh, Puh-uh, Put. My nephew Booker, one in her arms, the silly blue bear discarded on the yellowing rug, my sister holding the other in her lap, the lamplight rich, one corner of my sister’s mouth rising up as if she too was hooked on phonics.


The high speed train between Taipei and Kaoshiung is a miracle. She claps and leans back. From her City to my father’s: her swollen hands unwrapping the lychee, the delirious crease in her face, a gentle laugh as she sits with my father’s second brother and his wife. My how they’ve all grown, the wife says. She laughs and examines the wife’s jewelry in a box. Later: I’m voting for that high speed train between the Bay and LA, she says — even if you don’t want it.


My mother’s green visor covers her whole face, how she loves to see the fireworks, how she loves to bring the cut marigolds, or backyard roses red and white, to shoo the deer he hated from their backyard, the hunch in her shoulders, the air dry and dusty, but the grass thick as she kneels.  I wonder what she says to my father — what secrets unfold in their conference.


My friend asks me what my mother is like.  The happiest and the sweetest person I’ve ever met, the most grounded.  How does she do it? my friend asks.  I think she was just born that way, I answer.  Obviously, it’s not genetic.  She believes the best of every person.  She knows four languages.  She is a genius.  She is my rock.


Will she remarry?  No, why would she do that?  My mother is content.  She enjoys visiting open houses and Sunday dinners with my sister and the boys and CCTV.  She loves to read pharmacological texts, to research miracle cures on the internet, and run her own business ruthlessly.  No matter how impatient we kids may get, my mother has her own pace, everything gets done.

But, really, how is she so happy?  She must have taught you something.


I love to consider my mother in the Summertime.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Ramadan Day 29 – Is This The End, My Beautiful Friend? | Drunken Whispers

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