Tuesday, May 09, 2006
...so mothers, be good to your daughters,too ...
(apologies if my post from yesterday is up twice. Gotta fix it. I'm having issues with checking my posts-by-email from work).
I happened to hear John Mayer's song 'Daughters' yesterday while I was waiting to meet my friends last night. It was the appropriate context for my morning. Everyone expects women to be good daughters, where our sons can be kind of spoiled, less relied-upon, less expected to care for the elders. I like the reminder that "girls become lovers, who then become mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters, too..."
This morning, as I was walking out the door to the bus stop, my mother called. And she was upset, so that even tho I knew I was gonna be late, I talked to her as I walked up the street instead of focusing on hustling my behind to the stop. My mother generally isn't distressed like that when she calls me. If anything, she's calming me down from whatever high dudgeon I've entered at the time.
Turns out my mother had spoken to her mother, who'd upset her daughter with her report that she (my grandmother) called my aunt's house on Sunday evening and "no one knew where you were". The perception was that I was being irresponsible and inconsiderate by not letting my aunt know my whereabouts on Sunday. This on top of the fact that my younger brother has pretty much failed his way out of his university, and my grandmother decided to rant, plus gave Mama some bad news at the same time, which upset my mother pretty nicely, which is the state she was in when she called.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Being that I lived on my own as a grown woman in PR, then returned to live here with my aunt, there were bound to be some issues around readjusting myself to living beneath someone else's roof. And there were. Many, many issues. But I've been working on being more communicative. Especially since Imette died, I've realized how important it is to just know that your peoples are okay. To the point where, when I realized that my friend Mikah (not her real name) was so sick that I'd want to stay with her, I actually did call my aunt and even left a clear message on her phone letting her know where I was, with whom I was, and how to reach me.
All in vain, since my aunt (who loves to rage at me about not checking phone messages) never checked her phone messages, and so was truthfully, as far as she knew, able to tell her mother that I quite irresponsibly just vanished into thin air again.
Arright, but so that's actually not what I was thinking about when I first talked to Mama. I just let her talk that upset out. And let her know quite calmly that I'd call my grandmother on my lunch break today to explain the unfortunate misunderstanding. And we said our goodbyes and hung up.
Then I started to thinking, and I got annoyed. Not angry, not upset, just annoyed.
Why is it that at least 3 women close to me didn't know where I was but it occurred to NOT ONE of them to actually call me and find out?
I mean, why do I pay Sprint on time every month?
There was a point in PR when I didn't have a phone and my mother drove me nuts about that. I pay $500 to replace a stolen phone so people can refuse to call me on it. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!! I know what that is, and I told my mother so when I called back. It's the whole, "wait for the little one to call you, not the other way around." Mama herself admitted that it's an... old-school thought pattern, that the young should call the old and not vice-versa. Where calling/sharing/kowtowing = 'respect'. I can see where that is valid and I'm not against respect and hierarchy. Far from it. I enjoy the honor of respecting my elders, even if I value being able to hold them in high regard more. But that tradition shouldn't negate your own common sense. If you care about someone and you want to know where they are and they haven't called you, wouldn't you call them, if you really cared about them??? Is your status more important than someone's well-being? Really.
And more reflectively- When is it that mothers begin to rely on their daughters so?
Make duas. Say prayers. Meditate- however you communicate with God, please do so for our family. Apparently my grandmother has a growth in a place where it shouldn't be. That's really why I think my mother was so upset this morning. She said, "you know, she just turned 70. She's reached her threescore and ten. According to some scriptures, that's all the time man has on this earth. So your grandmother's in a different place when it comes to you and your brother. She's thinking about how she's leaving those who love her and how they'll be when she's gone". She's scheduled for biopsy and possible surgery on Friday insha'Allah we'll learn everything good. So I'm praying for my grandmother, who needs her daughters, and granddaughters, to be okay. And I'm praying for strength for my mother. She needs her mama. Even if she does stress her out. The way I need my mama, even if she does stress me out. At one point my dependence on her was a central fact of her life ( Shabana knows what I'm talking about) , and she's a big part of my world. Who wouldn't understand being sad at the thought of losing that?
That was during the 2nd phone call. I was all teary-eyed during the 1st call thinking about both my fam not being able to reach me and the fact that I stayed with Mikah because she doesn't have anyone. Her mother just died, she lost her job b/c of her mom's death combined with her illness, and her friends aren't sticking by her. Thinking of that 'alone and down' feeling, plus hearing my mother was really upset, and I shed a few tears myself. I admitted as much to Mama, who told me she'd been sitting in the car teary when I called the 2nd time, and she asked why. Me: "I'm pretty empathetic. So I cry easily. *shrug* " My mother said, "Yeah, you're like me."
If anything, my grandmother and I go through it because we're so much alike. I get mad when my mama is upset. But mothers rely on their daughters, too, after a certain point, and I'm beginning to feel that here. I don't know if it's because I'm reaching pivotal points in everyone's lives, or just that I'm far enough out of my childhood that I can see that load and share it where I couldn't before. Maybe just that we're reaching crucial ages and stages over here in my family. My father's mother is 75, and he's 50. I'm going to be twennyfive this year.
Mama made a point that I hope will stick with me as I deal with others, especially people's parents. She said, "I still want everyone to think I have pretty babies. You know, how everyone stops and coos at the stroller and tells you your babies are pretty? Every mother is like that. Well, maybe not every mother, but I am. I want everyone to think the best of my children."
That, I understood, a bit. I've the feeling I'll get it much more when I have children.
Of course we have the knowledge that paradise lies at the feet of our mothers. I think I identified with that instantly because my mother's done so much for me personally. It's a lot harder for us to realize that the daughters before us today are the mothers of tomorrow. Today I got that.
All I know is this... I'm good to my mother as a matter of course. Today I think I know bone-deep why I'll be good to my daughters as well.