On the second night, I gave my mom her gift.

Saturday, December 12, 2009 | 1 Comment(s)

Now, I have a lot of posts to make up.  I had an epic candle-pin bowling experience last night that must be told and we are all waiting for the 4th person you meet in the men's locker room.  Not to mention the return of "things from my wall."  But, tonight, the 2nd night of Channukah, I want to give my mom her gift from me this year.  That gift is this post.

Now, my family is pretty good about not prescribing to the typical idea of 'good = expensive' presents.  It really is all about the thought and effort that goes into the gift.  And as my mom knows that this blog is one of my favorite and more important things in my life right now . . . AND i know that my mom takes even the briefest mention of herself in my online ramblings very seriously . . . i thought that I would tell you all the story of the day when my mom was my knight in shining armor.  

Now.  Some disclaimers.  I was young during the time of this story, so some of the details are fuzzy to me now.  Things like location and more general "what the hell was actually going on in the world around me" were not in my grasp quite yet.  But the more defining moments, the important stuff, i remember very well.  So i will fill in those gaps with my recollections, and by the end of it you will know about 85% of what really happened that day.  But what's important to know is that that 85% were the only important things about that day.

When I was six or seven my family had a small place in Cape Cod.  I have many good memories from this house, such as my first pet that could walk (Hermie the Hermit Crap . . . RIP), but i have an equal number of stories that are memorable because of their terror (The Story of the Flea Infested Cape House?).  But this story is my favorite.

For whatever reason, my brother and father were somewhere else, and it was just mom and i at the beach that day.  Having some perspective of what my 6 or 7-yr-old self was like, this probably was a result of me "insisting" that we go to the beach and no one else wanting to go.  My mom, mercifully (for everyone) most likely tapped her secret zest for adventure and agreed to take me.

Now, even in the summer the water off the Cape is cold.  It's the ocean.  The ocean is cold.  The north Atlantic particularly so.  But, at that point in summer it's the kind of cold that 7-year-olds aren't smart enough yet to realize is painful and should make you unhappy.  But everyone even slightly older than that, did.  Thus, the inevitable transpired.  I immediately grabbed my little inflatable raft/rowboat to paddle out into the ocean, and my mom searched out the perfect space where she could enjoy the sun and have a constant view of me on the waves.

I should pause now to say that my mom's reticence was not due solely to the water's temperature.  Or at least the extremity of the temperature.  While she has no problem hopping into tropic waters, in general she enjoys the her time on the beach.  An avid reader, it is a matter of her being bliss-full there.  I can't knock it.  I will say that her preference for the beach has nothing to do with her swimming abilities.  And this is how i know.

As I darted out into the waves, I got my first "man vs. nature" moment.  I was a wiry little guy at 7.  That is a nice way of saying that if you drew a stick figure at any point in your life, you drew a fairly good representation of me at 7, minus the straight brown bowl-cut hair, huge googly eyes, and Cheshire cat grin.  And no matter how hard i paddled those shitty plastic oars, my boat would keep getting pushed back onto the shore.  Not only was I not "paddling out to freedom,"  All 85 pounds of me was getting body slammed by inflated plastic and salt water.

I imagine I looked pretty pathetic.  I, as I have insinuated before, was an enthusiastic (perhaps "hyper" would also work) glee-full kid.  While I may have been a terror with my boundless energy, my orientation towards happiness was real.  So i think it may have just been heartbreaking for my mom to watch her youngest get denied that hard . . . repeatedly.  And of course, I just collected my things and tried again (hoping to get a bigger sample size?).

Well, the next thing i remember my mom was there.  She says, "you ready to go out there."  I was looking up at her looking out towards the horizon.  "I'm ready."

The oars stay on the beach.  They really weren't that good.  I was in the raft.  My mom was swimming next to me dragging the raft with one hand.  We talked.  I remember we talked on the way out there.  I can't remember about what, but i remember that i was transfixed as my mother was super-humanly dragging my ass through a (and remember how beat up i was at this point) rather treacherous ocean scene.  While the waves weren't cresting over us, they were very present, and a constant opponent.  But "we" forged ahead.  I don't know what got into my mother that day but I remember going out FAR.  Farther out than I'd been out ever before (as per my mother's admonishment)--so imagine my excitement as on top of this Herculean feat transpiring, there was the added bonus of feeling like i was doing something naughty.

And, like that moment in the shitty "Matrix 3" when their ship breaks through the smog/cloud-line to reveal a beautiful clear sun-scape, when we got way out there, the sea was calm and glossy. It was a scenic tableau. The privacy provided by our distance from shore allowed us to take a second and just enjoy being on this adventure together.  Being outlaws.  Explorers.  And when we had had enough, she paddled us back to shore.

I think in a way my parents were always a little larger than life through my eyes. But there are only a few specific moments when i can recall my parent appearing not just as a hero, but a super-hero.  And when i think back on this moment, that's how I remember her.  My Mom. Saving the day.

Happy Chanukkah Mom.

1 comment:

  1. Matt: I couldn't have remembered the experience any better. It was well worth everything just for your huge grin and my sense of a accomplishment in the adventure. Thanks for the memory; it truly is a wonderful gift! Happy 2nd night. Love, Mom