This has been something I’ve been meaning to do for some time. At 86 years old, and still full of vitality and quick wit, my mom doesn’t miss a beat. She was the original storyteller, and whatever mediocrity I offer up as storytelling, is my pathetic attempt to mimic her. There is a candidness between mother and child that comes with age, a lengthening of the leash as it were. But the old lady and I have never been bashful with our morning exchanges. That’s where I get the loose cannon of a tongue that many accuse me of.
For years, she and I have discussed a getting-to-know-you series of conversations, where I could tell her story, and leave her memoirs for her progeny. The old school mentality in her, however, still believes that some things are best left in the past. But occasionally, she’d drop a few gems my way. Every Sunday morning at 6am, she and I would have a brief chat, and then she’d pray with me. Without fail for years, this has been our time together.
Yesterday morning I was sounding out a piece I’ve been working on about abortion, and the divisiveness it stirs. She listened quietly as I explained the premise, then out of the blue, she dropped a bomb on me.
“When I was pregnant with you, I made a visit to a certain doctor to have you terminated.”
We discussed this in a manner that revealed so much about what goes on in the head of a woman who birthed twelve kids, all of us slightly neurotic and wild, and yet somehow managed to maintain her sanity. We discussed how that moment impacted her faith, the inner turmoil, and the burden that the “well intentioned” opinions of everyone else places on an expectant mother. Even after eleven kids, while there is a euphoria attached, there is still so much apprehension and concern.
My mother is Pro Life, something I totally expected based on the person I have known her to be, and the visit to the local quack for his… coat-hanger solutions in the 70’s, was one which she struggled with for a long time. She has no regrets about bringing me into the world, neither does she hold a negative opinion about women who make that rather difficult choice to go the other way. “No one has the right to tell a woman what to do with their bodies, absolutely no one.” she said with a frankness that was as blunt as a sledgehammer.
She has always been quietly defiant.
It is always so refreshing hearing her speak from her experiences. I’m glad she decided that a twelfth kid was worth having.
Then she prayed with me. I love the old lady.
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