"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

I used to not celebrate Mother's Day.

I felt so angry, cheated.

It took me a long time to understand that it wasn't her fault. And then, after months of therapy, that it wasn't mine.

We moved my mother down to Los Angeles to be close to her sister and me. My father's conservatorship over her transferred to my aunt after the divorce, and I am being groomed to take it over when my aunt retires. Once I can get bonded. Once I have a more steady source of income. Once I understand how the court systems work with her estate, the laws regarding her person.

My mother hears voices. Somewhere within the chemistry of the 14 pills she swallows everyday, is Stargates into her brain. She is more lucid, more conversational than she's been in years. When I hug her, she hugs back. She says, "Thank you for visiting." These are new as of 2010. She had not volunteered a hug for me in 20 years and I had to learn how to hug my mother all over again. Something every other daughter knows how to do, and with no effort, I had to learn. What is too tight? What is not tight enough? I am getting better.

For three years it was difficult to visit her because she believed that women were no longer allowed in restaurants. The first time my future husband met her, my father drove us to pick her up at her care facility, and my dad walked with Anthony to the Starbucks and bought coffees for everyone while we, the women, stayed in the car.

Two years ago, I told my mother that President Obama changed the laws so that women were allowed back in sit down restaurants. That he was progressive, and that it would take effect in as soon as six months; that now, women were allowed in fast food places. That I could buy her a milkshake if she came into the Jack in the Box with me to celebrate the new laws. We sat inside and she ordered a smoothie. A huge victory.

She does not like crowds. I try to visit and take her out during the week so that the Starbucks nearby isn't filled with high schoolers, people just out of church. She likes the grande Cinnamon Dolce iced latte with whipped cream, and she asks me to ask for a spoon so she can eat the whipped cream first.

She does not like crowds. I take her to the tiny hidden neighborhood park and we sit and watch the few children on the swing set.

She does not like crowds. She has decided that coming to my wedding will be too much for her. I will make sure she has a very lovely album so I can show her and tell her all about it.

This is my mother. I took this picture of her yesterday, on my phone. You can't tell, but her hair is getting long now. I brushed her hair for her and put it in a ponytail. She cares about her appearance now. She likes to have her hair done when we go out. This very small thing for others, a huge victory for us. She is getting better. This is, and could very well be, the best she'll ever get. Until her body chemistry builds a tolerance to her medicine in as little as another year and she gets worse, bit by bit.

This is my mother. She looks beautiful, contemplative, wise. She looks like she could be reading a newspaper, or solving a crossword puzzle. Maybe writing her third novel. I caught her in the middle of something very important.

This is my mother. I am beginning to look more and more like her. You can't see it, but she has the greenest, most beautiful eyes.

This is my mother. Half of me.


  1. Oh, I never knew that about your mom. I hope she stays/gets better for a long time!

  2. God bless you both.

    This was beautiful, Lira.

  3. What a beautifully written article and testament to your mother. It makes us want to hug our mom's closer today and everyday. Love ya, K

  4. Beautiful story Lira! That must have been hard growing up, and difficult as an adult.

  5. Sucks and I still feel we were shorted

  6. Your mom is so lucky to have you. Shoot, we're all lucky to have you, Lira. (hug)

  7. It must've been a very rough childhood you had, but I'm glad to hear she's making progress.

    I enjoyed the style in which you wrote this entry, very poetic, very repetitive and suitable a style, as it reinforces that despite how long it took to get this far, that you have to remind yourself that she is your mother and that there is improvement after so long.

    Beautiful piece of work. :)

  8. It must be very difficult for you to see your mom like this....even if she has been like this for a long time. She is lucky to have you as a daughter.

  9. Wow, it sounds like you came from a hard place and like you have so much love for her. That is amazing!

  10. It takes a lot of courage to be so authentic. It's beautifully felt, beautifully written, and you make your mom look beautiful too. I was much moved.

  11. this is one of the best tributes to a mother i've ever read. accepting them for who they are, where they are, no matter how difficult.

  12. What a beautiful tribute. Words can only come so close to capturing every little aspect of how we feel about a person. I think you've come as close as anyone could ever hope. Just beautiful.

  13. I've finally caught up to my blogroll, and boy, am I glad. This was beautiful. Tears of gratitude for you, and tears of love for your mom.

  14. I stumbled across you through a string of blog browsing--something I do to wile away the lack of work at work; and I want to say thank you.

    Thank you for writing about something real and something painful and something poignant and important and courageous. My glazed eyes opened and my slouched posture straightened and I breathed deeply with emotion for you.

    From a fellow actor, I wish you the best with your career. From a fellow human being, I wish you the best with your heart and the condition of your soul. Take care.


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