Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday. My mother is known in the family as a little kooky, an ounce of whiny (she’s gonna kill me for that one!), a cup of wit, heavy on the spiritual, and full of support and amazing intelligence. She’s the one I go to when I can’t figure out what to do. Instead of “What would Jackie O. do?” I ask myself, “What would Mom do, say, think......fill in your verb here. She has helped me through the roughest patches in my life.

That's us meeting one of our favorite authors, Anne Lamott, at Barnes & Noble.

There’s a story I love to tell about her. I was in high school from 1984 – 1988, around the time when people were terrified of the HIV virus and AIDS. There was confusion on how it was passed. Could it be passed through saliva, a hand shake, on a door knob? We didn’t have the knowledge about the virus that we do now.

I had stayed after school for something, probably rehearsal for a play. I was hanging outside with a handful of kids waiting for Mom to pick me up. One of the students was an openly gay guy, David, who bragged about his weekend hook ups. I was drinking my Diet Coke (my addiction started young) and David asked if he could have a drink. I passed it on to him without thinking. He took a liberal swallow, and handed it back to me. All of us continued talking and I started to take a drink, but then stopped myself. What if he has HIV? Can I get it if I take a drink? I was paralyzed for a moment and then I was afraid he would notice I wouldn’t drink after him. Being the people-pleaser I am I took a drink and then tried to mask the panic that was building inside.

Mom pulled up in her blue Datsun 210 and I waved bye to everyone as I ran to the car. I clutched the can in my lap and told her about David and how I didn’t know if he had the virus and I didn’t want to offend him, but now I was scared. Without hesitation she took the can out of my hand and took a big gulp then handed it back to me and looked me straight in the eyes. “Now we’ll get it together.”

That’s love. Pure and simple.

With all her grandkids.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!


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