I know probably half the people reading this post have a Drama Queen in their family. And half of those “Queens” are you own mothers. We love them dearly, but they get on our nerves, and for those whose mothers travel across the globe once a year to pester us and invade our new lives… We oftentimes can’t wait to put them back on a plane. Our kids hate to see them go, but they just don’t understand, do they? Don’t know them like we know them, huh?
Girl if you only knew. Those kids perhaps know your mothers better than you do, and I surely hope you don’t poison your children’s minds by talking about how nosey and needy Grandma is, or how dramatic she is, or how demanding she can be. Thing is, children appreciate our mothers, sometimes more than we do. My kids? They absolutely *adore* my mother. They start counting down the months before her visits and they terribly lament her departure once she’s gone.
But not as badly as you will; once she’s really gone.
Kids appreciate your mother more than you do because they don’t know the drama. And it’s a good thing. Mothers go through so much, and sometimes they don’t tell us how much they’d endured for you–while other times they browbeat you with it so that you never forget (or is it, so you’ll understand?) We are the Kings and Queens of our households–the bosses, the Dictators, even–for so long, we forget what it’s like to have a mother around, giving us a piece of her mind, telling us what to do, and chastising us the way we chastise our own children. She’s there to remind you of all the things you’d wish she’d forget, to tell you about things you don’t want to hear about for the millionth time. It’s in this Western culture that once we are grown, we almost forget the past, and start new lives. Our forefathers did it when coming here for the first generation. You left “home” behind and became an American. You forget that old Italian culture you left behind, you allow your children to call each other by name instead of titles like “Kuya/Ate”, you cook pot roast and steam your vegetables instead of making those Keftedakia and Greek salads your grandmother taught you. You wear your shoes in the house. You stop buying Kosher food. Your children carry your husband’s bland, American last name. You pronounce your English perfectly. Your kids speak only one language. You waste your food when you’re no longer hungry, instead of using last night’s leftovers to make Ulam or Fried Noodles. Yeah, you forgot–but Mom didn’t, and it drives you nuts.
Something unique about life in the West: Each generation generally lives better than the last. Especially for those of us born elsewhere on the planet. Our parents sacrifice heavily for us to have a “better” life. They barely got us to adulthood having the essentials, unlike many others who inherit what was left behind by a previous generation. When we had problems doing homework–we turned to another kid because some of our mothers barely spoke English. Mom doesn’t understand this culture and she surely doesn’t understand profession–why is she trying to give me advice? Mom, marriage isn’t like it was when you were younger. I know what I’m doing…
There will come a day that you will sound like your mother. You won’t understand the next generation. But you will know life a little more than your then-grown children will. Like you, they won’t listen either. I hope you won’t ever have this experience: You stop, you reflect, and you realize that Mom was right. This is what she meant. But unlike right now, you will not be able to pick up the phone and call her to say, “Mom, you’re right. I love you.”
Instead, you will have to wait until the kids are sleep, then close your eyes, and visit her in your dreams to say it.
I have some advice for you. ALL of our mothers are Drama Queens. They ALL went through some great sacrifice to get us where we are today. They were not guaranteed to have done the best job, they may have made a shitload of mistakes. They still might be making mistakes. But she is your mother, and she has cross Hell and highwater to provide for you, to teach you, and everything she has ever done–from missing meals so the kids have enough to eat, to working extra shifts to afford to buy you presents, to marrying another man while she still loved your father just so you’d have a complete, nuclear home to return to from school, to badgering you about why you aren’t married or why she doesn’t think you’re treating your husband or wife well enough–it was ALL done because she wanted the best for you.
Don’t piss that away, just because you are too damned stubborn to shut the hell up and take a little advice and listen to wisdom. If you really appreciated the woman she’s become–like your kids do–you’d honor and hang on to every word she spoke. There will be a day, when she won’t be able to say anything else to you, and all you will have are memories, and regret.
Today’s religious lesson, whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other: God tells us to honor our mother and father. He did not put conditions on which mother and father to honor. He didn’t say “honor parents if they were good parents”. Your parents could have been deadbeats, drug addicts, ex-cons, depressed, poor, too busy working to notice, whatever–But we are to honor them the way you’d honor a celebrity who came to your home. Imagine if Oprah came to your house, how would you prepare for that visit? What if a U.S. President gave you advice you didn’t think you needed? Or your favorite actor or singer? Would you argue with them? Some of us would treat a celebrity we have never met with more fanfare than we treat our own parents. That isn’t “honor” at all.
I would name names, because the loved ones I wrote this for read this blog and they probably recommend this to their friends. But you know who you are. Don’t do anything you will one day regret. Don’t wait till your mother is gone before you cherish her.
Thanks for visiting my blog.