Sunday, May 19, 2013

high hopes, like the old popes

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink.
--John the Evangelist, who used a lot of paper and ink, and to great effect.

Last Sunday, I spoke with a professor after Mass, and I'm pretty sure my first words after brief preliminary greetings were: "Can I hold him?" referring, naturally, to the four-month-old little miniature human he was holding in his arms.
I had spent the entire mass watching the rambunctious children on a family in front of me, and smiling at their absurdist antics, and here was a baby basically being handed to me.
I was the luckiest girl in the world.
That particular Sunday was, coincidentally, Mother's day.

Many people, much more hip and blasé than I (believe it, there are a few more hip than I), love to moan about how Valentine's day is a bunch of hogwash, because it's created by The Industry to get people to Spend Money on a Special Someone.
For some reason, it's cool to dislike Valentine's Day, because: "You shouldn't do something special for someone you love just ONE arbitrary day. That's dumb."
If anyone said: "You shouldn't do something special for your mom on just ONE arbitrary day. That's dumb." they would not be labeled a hip, blasé person.
They would be told in no uncertain terms to go call their mother, because honest to oatmeal, it's Mother's Day.
Or at least send her a card, for Pete's sake.


My mother and I are so fundamentally similar in ways that when you're four, you don't and couldn't possibly notice.
When I was four, I believed we were polar opposites, because I would definitely have let me have two desserts after dinner and stay up to watch late to movies with my parents; and my mom definitely wasn't going to let those things happen.

I therefore concluded my mother and I were operating on completely different value systems, and must have very little in common as people in general.
Also, she was Mom and I was Daughter, and right then that meant that when I was feeling small and sad and alone in the world, I cuddled up in her arms.

And then, one evening, we shared a glass of wine and some cheesecakes, and I realized that I had more in common with this woman than I could have ever guessed.
And both of our eyes were filling up with tears, because I was Going Away, and that somehow never got less sad the many times it happened over the years. In fact, it seemed to be getting sadder the more it happened.
Being Mother and Daughter still meant that sometimes when I was feeling small and sad and alone in the world, I cuddled up in her arms.
But being Mother and Daughter meant something else as well, which I don't know if I have found a word for yet.


In theatre classes, a common exercise is to not allow anyone to speak, and then set them a task of telling a story.
You do this, not because mime is the highest of all arts, but because when words are not allowed, you begin to realize truly that words are not enough.
Communication is more than words, but you aren't allowed to see what that might mean, until your words are all stripped away.

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