Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks to Mom

83rd Street backyard
So I walk into the house, I’m 10, and the first thing I see is a pair of bare legs on the inside of a closed window and the rest of the body isn’t in the apartment. I’m praying to God whoever it is doesn’t fall, the soapy glass prevents a clean identification of the person sitting on the outside sill, but I kind of figure it’s my mother by the unmistakable fluffy slippers dangling from her toes. Now I’m flipping out because I’m scared of heights. She’s four stories up, 50 feet smack over the concrete backyard. My heart’s outside my chest doing a Mexican Bean dance on my T-Shirt. Finally an arm starts swirling away the soapy water and I see Mom’s face through the glass and she smiles at me. I love that smile, and for a brief moment I was not frightened for her I was just amazed at how hard she worked to keep our small apartment clean. 
Mom with dish towel attached over her shoulder

When I was boy right through my teens, if I was away a day or longer from the house she’d surprise me and cleaned my room like something out of a movie. It looked so good I thought I was in Beaver Cleaver’s bedroom. This blew my mind, I’d run through the apartment and grab my mother and kiss her over and over and shower her with thank yous.  All Mom said while I tackled her, “Watch my head, I don’t like people touching my head.”

This morning I washed ten windows, five storms windows and two screens. When I got to my daughter’s room that’s when Mom’s spirit swept through me, I felt it, I felt her, and she made several passes. As I cleaned my daughter’s space (dusted the knick-knacks, too) Mom stayed with me for two hours and I began to feel the love and enjoyment she experienced doing this for me countless times many years ago.
Mother & Spaghetti - What a Surprise Dinner
Growing up, my family and all my friends lived in small spaces, most with two or more kids. A New York tenement mother has a wicked tough job.  Keeping a home when the challenges to clean and organized it are near insurmountable.  I don’t know about you, but from what I saw, I think most tenement moms had a brittle grip on their sanity.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No gifts, no religion (at least not in my family) just people gathered because they love each other. I’m thankful that so many people in my lifetime loved me crazy, told me, showed me, then did it again.  Though a lot of them are gone, their love was so sturdy it’s never left. I pull it out whenever I need to and it never fails to ease an ache.

Earlier today, while I was I polishing my mother’s bone china pieces and her Aries statute, behind me I felt that same smile I saw through the soapy window when I was 10.

Thank you, Mom, Happy Thanksgiving.

Mom with the Smile I love

A blessed mouse event during this holiday season

Work to do

Daughter''s room after I cleaned it.

My room after Mom cleaned it @ 1973.

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