Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oscar, Dre, mom and me

Dear Marc, in every correspondence comes a time when one of the correspondents starts quoting Oscar Wilde. We have reached that point now.

We’re buying a house right by my parents’ house. It’s very similar to theirs. All I could think as I looked around was Oscar’s old truth “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.” I knew I would one day turn into my mother. I was just not prepared when that day came.

My mom loves me, this I know. She wants us to live nearby, so we can see her and dad more often. That’s why she tells me that the house we’re about to buy in her neighborhood is “dark, old and too expensive”. It’s also “too far from everything and you will most likely have trouble finding childcare”.

I’m used to this. All my life she has been trying to protect me from disappointment. Every birthday the same thing: “Your birthday is coming up sweetie, but you’re not getting any great gifts this year. Nothing special. I mean it.” She’s not saying this to build up for a happy surprise. She does really mean what she says. Like she has wrapped up pieces of cardboard and pinecones for her kids b-day. Nothing special. Don’t be disappointed. And then I would receive perfect gifts.

I can hear her through her warnings as she talks about the house. She wants to protect me from disappointment all over again. I hear her love. It’s so strong and beautiful. “You’re a city girl, you will hate it out here” might sound to others like she really advises me not to buy the house, since she knows me better than most. But I know that what she’s saying is “Welcome to the neighborhood”.

And as I tuck my daughter in at night I tell her "we're buying a house and you will get a room of your own. It's not a very big room and it's rather dark". Like any white, soon-to-be suburban, middleclass mom of two, this makes me remember the words of a genius named Dre. As he so aptly put it "The motherfucking saga continues".

now must feed kids oatmeal.



paul said...

My sister just this night came to visit us after a nearly seven-year hiatus. She and I have never been especially close but we are very alike. I've been home with my kids for going on eight years now and you musings touch me.

We all know the family code we grew up with; when your brother says he bets nobody notices the mistakes in the trim in the dining room molding we know it really means he does.

As I attempt to grow closer to my now-grown little sister I want you to know I appreciate you familial insights.

Stalk on,


Annie Apa said...

Darling Emi,

Today I wanted to be mature enough to say Thanks. It's pure joy to read your letters. Hope the whole going back to your roots thing turns out beautifully (I know it will). My only wish for Christmas (well, besides a bigger apartment and really expensive clothes) is Ruth Reichl's latest, so I want to thank you for that too. You have introduced me to some major reading epiphanies. Yes, Busmans Honeymoon is still in my posession. You will get it back one day. How about after the house is ready? Don't want it to get lost in the chaos of moving, do we now? See you at the lovely sprit-infested julfest.


Lonnie Bruner said...

Good luck with all of that. Buying your first house can be quite an ordeal.

On a personal note, I'd rather eat glass laced with LSD than live next door to my parents. But I've heard Europe is much different on that front.



Eebs said...

I need context for that last comment, Lonnie. Based on your picture, maybe you're the kind of guy who would enjoy eating glass laced with LSD?

Neil said...

Oatmeal? Isn't that the same stuff your mother made you eat because she wouldn't let you eat "Lucky Charms" for breakfast, saying it was crap?