Friday, February 24, 2012

Unobserved

These unremarkable moments, they come and go, then disappear into an abyss of moments, similar in their familiarity. Staring into pure nothingness.

Yet, I am made up of these moments of the ordinary.

The laundry, the rising and lying down, the steady rhythm. A day like any other day, one right after another. When sometimes all that gives it shape is a cup of good coffee, the #78 arriving soon after I cross the street, or a robo call from the library letting me know a book I requested is now in.

If all we aspire to when writing memoir is the monumental or heroic, the turning point or plot twist, then we are likely to overlook the mundane, which is actually the flesh and bone of existence.

Sitting around a table at Shotzy’s Bar in Upper Sandusky, Ohio after Mom’s graveside service we shared simple remembrances. Mom never had to write a resume or beef up an application. There were no bullets, no highlighting her accomplishments. Her life revolved around husband and home, and as noble as that may sound there is no glory. Not enough to fill a funeral homily. She baked cakes! She liked to knit! She was killer at dominos!

Unless one can claim first place, best in show, or any other distinction, the above looks scanty, even pathetic, like using tweezers to extract the meat in crab legs. It’s good, just not enough of it.

And, of course, there is the glossing over: she was the BEST mother; she was ALWAYS there for us; she loved me.

Yes and no.

She was what she was. Despite her own Depression-era childhood, despicable poverty. Despite the curse of mental depression her mother suffered and then was visited upon her sisters and herself. Despite disappointment with herself and her children, frustration that even after gaining financial stability, she couldn’t be happy. Mom succeeded in living out a suburban, middle-class version of a Checkov tale. Unremarkable.

And we didn’t understand how great it was.

No comments: