Sunday, May 8, 2016

uncommon ground a note to mom (May 9, 2011)

To me belief is elusive.  

Common phrases I say on a regular basis are “really?” “how do you know?” “is that really true?” “how do they know?” “prove it” & '”does this bounce?”

My doubt leaves behind a trail of puzzlement and broken objects which, as it turns out do not bounce.  And yet I spend most of my time chasing a fairy tale.  A fairy tale titled very simply "Childhood".

(May 2011) From the back of the van loaded with dirty camping supplies and even dirtier dogs and people, Beach asks a question as the desert behind us disappears under a fast moving rainstorm.  “Mom and dad, did your parents take you into the desert when you were little?”  

The answer for both of us: No.
Brown Family trip to Disneyland 
BC was raised in New England.  From there Africa, back to New England, then off to Japan.  His "No" however has an asterisk because he eventually admitted he did get to got to the Gobi desert... little oversight in your answer, dude.
4 generations
For me, I tell Beach about boating at Lake Powell.  Although technically we were in the desert my parents did everything within their power to make it seem otherwise.  Coolers loaded with soda pop, cans of chocolate pudding (yes, I am that old that pudding came in cans), AC on high, a nice boat with a kitchen, a bathroom, and wall to wall carpeting in the cubby.  

The West Desert Mother's Day weekend
Nature was the enemy.  It was the 70's, the age of the almighty wood sided Buick Station Wagon, 8 track tapes, and shag carpets.  Happiness could be purchased through the check outline and when that happiness broke it was replaced with more, greater, cheaper happiness from the next isle down.  

My Mom, Brown Family trip to Lava Hot Springs
My childhood goes against everything I believe in and yet I’m going on record to say it was the BEST childhood anyone could ever have had.  Perfect down to every detail.  

Every agonizing second in church, every cheap plastic toy, the above ground pool, the boat, the swing set, Disneyland, McDonald's, microwave bacon, Betamax movies, all of it, every moment utterly priceless.  It is a feeling I desperately chase hoping to pass even one ounce of it on to my own children.

My parents and I are nothing alike.  Our political, spirituality and life philosophies aren’t even from the same planet- possibly different galaxies.  I disagree with everything they did raising us.  No doubt they cringe at our choices in raising their grandkids.  Yet the sum is greater than the whole of the parts because it is the magic my mother (and father) wove into my life that I find myself seeking to create with my own family. 

Homemade cheese sticks that my mom made for me 
on our trip to San Fransico
Every once in awhile between novels and chickens, leaf hikes and rock hounding, I see the golden threads of what connects us.  Little things my mother used to do for me and my sisters sneaking in: a Happy Meal after a trip to the doctor, pie crust with cinnamon & sugar, a book purchased with money meant for groceries, daffodils in the yard, and lilacs on a bedside table for no reason at all. 

Before we left for camping in the desert we put away 4 flats of strawberries while listening to NPR over the constant chatter coming from Beach. 
"Mom, I had a dream that I had a magic plastic pony." 
"Mom, did I have a bottle when I was a baby?" 
"Mom, oh I forgot what I was going to say." 
"Mom, when are we leaving?" 

It all reminds me of my mother canning grapes listing to LDS conference over the noise of air conditioner and the kids playing in the backyard pool...

Dear Mom, 
Happy Mother’s day’ from a faithless daughter who will be unnecessarily 200 miles away in the desert doing everything you wouldn’t want her to be doing. Like hiking on unstable mountains, sitting in hot springs at night with a drunken strange cowboy, drinking coffee and beer, wandering dirt roads without sunscreen or cell service, when she should be telling you in person how lucky her kids are to have you as their grandma but not half as lucky as she was to have you as her mom. 
Love, Misty

Happy Mother's Day 
to all the moms in our lives.

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