My mother makes a very satisfactory leader of my Fan Club. She is, undoubtedly, First Fan, as many mothers are. The hallmark of her grace is in the way she embodies this position, not simply as a role, but as a genuine expression. I never get the feeling that she encourages me out of obligation. I believe she really likes me. What a stroke of good fortune!
This morning I got an e-mail from her titled “catching up on the blogs”. I felt her heart bubbling over like she had just emerged from an afternoon reading a favorite novel. She had associations, appreciations, memories, connections to share, like her synapses were fireworks going off. From a reader to a writer, this has got to be the highest praise. She started off by remarking, in all caps, that there has to be a book in this somewhere and that she wants an autographed first edition. Aw, Mom!
My mom is not a literary push over. She has a degree in English from Radcliffe (now coed with Harvard). She devours books regularly and always has. Her typical posture these days is sitting in her high-backed rocker with knitting in hand, book strapped in on her reading stand, mind and fingers flying. She used to hide away in her bedroom with a bag of snacks and emerge an hour or so later with renewed energy to tackle her household obligations, sporting a kind of secret glow. Get her talking about one of her recent historical sagas, and she will enthusiastically engage for hours! I love seeing her pull thoughts that have been carefully laid aside like unmatched socks and bundle them together with a flourish of discovery and pride.
She recently told me that her doctor mentioned her good prospects for living another 20 years. That would make her 97; she wasn’t sure she’d want to live that long. But think of all the books you could still read! Or that could be read to you, if the cataracts cause the eyes to fail. I can still hear my father’s voice reading to her behind the bedroom door. His partnership to her intellectually was so rich, until Alzheimer’s whittled his brain away. I wonder if she feels the same phantom guilt I have in enjoying a healthy body and a sound mind after our husbands’ deaths. Well, I suppose consciousness is a responsibility to approach with reverence. We live, we feel, we think, we read, we make connections still. May we both bring life and light to the world like fireworks, Mom, as long as we are able.