31 for 21: Ma Ma Mia

I wrote of my family-in-law, expectations and of their love. Wrote a bit of that tricky journey many of us have in navigating the channels of cross-cultural familial relationship, which, when compounded by the added complexity of disability can make for quite the stew. We’re lucky in that ours is tasty.

My family – it’s different. There were never a lot of expectations to begin with. You see, I’m the baby in my (nuclear and extended) family – my kids are the youngest (so far) of the whole entire tribe. No one is expecting anything from me, other than, you know, the usual: don’t hurt kittens, pay your taxes and hold down a job if you can (preferably a good one, but Jack in the Box will do in a pinch).


I, on the other hand, realize that I have oceans of expectations with my family. Especially with my Mom.

my Ma

I expect my Ma to Be. There. For. Me. I expect her to always try to say and do the right thing. I expect her to love my kids with every little bit of love-stuff she’s got (and she’s got a lot). I expect her to give, give, give and then give some more! Love Moxie! Defend Moxie and her Tribe! Have Moxie! Protect Moxie!

My Ma has not failed me, nor will she ever. She has earned her karmic path to heaven and then beyond a million times over.

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Sometimes I stop and analyze that. Because you know me, I’ll analyze Ernie’s rubber ducky if given half a chance. Ponder on expectations and the nature of why: why I expect so much from my Mom. Why she gives. Why is that I fully expect her to be completely embracing of Down syndrome and yet, we are also talking about her grand daughter and her lineage and all that. Why would she not have things to deal with on her own, as a woman who now has this extra piece of disability in her family?

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So you ask why I write about this and not you know, just talk to Ma? Yeah… well, the other day it occurred to me that Ma and I tend to talk like those Swedish farmers in Minnesota: we stand shoulder to shoulder (like we are looking at the crops) and say things like, “soooooooo, going to Berkeley Bowl today?“, “yup” “sounds great!” “o-kaaaaaay, let’s go.”

I see my Ma almost every day and we don’t talk a whole lot about a whole lot of “deep” stuff and that’s okay, it’s not like there is BAGGAGE that has to be put away (we’ve done that already). There is just life, lived and there is my over-analyzing whatever I can lay my hands on.

Besides. It’s hard to talk with a 3 year old climbing all over you.

And a 1-Year old making eyes at you in between flinging spoons full of yogurt

What we have agreed upon in the random moments that our Swedish-farmer-selves turn from the crops and face one another in an eye-to-eye conversation is that: disability is an opportunity to experience the world in a unique way. Ma has fibromylagia (ugh, I can’t spell that). I am deaf, with TBI. Moxie has Down syndrome. Three generations (four, if you count Grandma’s stuff) of disability, three (or four) generations of people that are experiencing the world in this unique way (which makes me wonder how unique it really – four generations makes it kind of common, doesn’t it?).

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That is here and sorta there. The main thing that I wanted to say today is that I’m so grateful for my Mom. And that the way she’s taken everything I’ve thrown at her in stride…makes me want to cry and hug her and give her a day at the spa with an awesome foot masseuse – she deserves a lot more than that, but it would be a good start.






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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a deaf artist, tech-junkie, Counselor (and sometime teacher), mom (one with Down syndrome), cat-lover, Trekkie, yurt-dwelling off-the-grid farmer's wife. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done.

5 Comments

  • Beautiful, beautiful tribute to your mother. You've got an amazing family unit surrounding you, and your children will flourish for it.

  • This is just lovely. Love your writing, your thoughts. Wish I could come and hang out (especially since Halloween is upon us!)

  • I came home last night from a really fun dream-chakra workshop and dinner, got settled and sat at the computer to read doozeedad  as I do every evening.  Oh my!  I was so stunned and so grateful.  But you are wrong about the expectations. When I see you, or think about you, I have always seen a beautiful, bright star-flower, as corny and fluffy as that sounds, it's true and you know it, but what do you expect from a Swedish farmer!    The imagery of you for me is filled with contrasting harmonized rich color and aromatic, yet subtle fragrance  And it dances and sings in the wind,  and has such genuine, inviting  brilliant energy that's highly contagious!  Yay!    And right or wrong I have come to expect it.   It's like anticipating the growth of a really rare and beautiful flower I  wanted so much to grow and love, and I  got to help  a little to grow in the beginning, not always being the best gardener, but trying my best as poor as that was sometimes.  And I knew you didn't  really belong to me but to God, but I got to be entrusted to be the one to be your earthly mother.  The awesomeness of that!  I knew i couldn't nor shouldn't  even try to force  you to grow  as I think you should be, but to hope to and try to be the guide and nurturer and support you need  as you continued to grow and blossom, through your life.  Now you are often my guide and nurturer and support!  I'm so grateful and happy to be your mom.    I love you, Sweetheart.(I was going to send this as a private email, but changed my mind to post it on your blog.  Hope you don't mind!
    Xxoo

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