“She reminds me of you,” my mother leaned over and whispered to me as we watched the movie, Morning Glory. She was right, Becky Fuller, a laid-off radio executive producer trying to make it to the top in the industry, did remind me of me, only instead of a bungling, workaholic producer in radio, I’m all that for Aspen Real Life, but fiercer.
The fierceness and the driven part I can attribute to my father but the writing, and the blog, I can thank my mother for. My little British whimsical mother is a voracious reader and a connoisseur of, well of mostly everything, and she has encouraged me, ever since I was a child, to write.
But her romantic vision of her daughter as a writer is a far cry to the reality of my life as a blogger. It puzzles her, my obsessive tapping away at my computer and so I decided to bring her in to Aspen Real Life, and get a glimpse of what happens when she peeked into the looking glass:
“It is difficult for you to conceptualize that your daughter is a writer when all you see is me staring into a computer screen, isn’t it? Admit it, if I were sitting at the kitchen table, actually writing with a pen and paper, while the whirlwind of my life twirled around me, it would be far easier for you to accept.”
“In my head there is too much blogging; tweeting; facebooking; and not enough discussion about intellectual stimui. I want you to read a great satirical article in the NY Times about it, NOW.”
Back to Jillian:
I force myself to leave the madness and sit down with her to read. “Have you read this article about cleansing,” she asks in her singsong British voice, tearing out the article and tossing it my way and, “Oh, here’s one about dog people,” she adds and my face grows red. “I’M READING HERE,” I announce. This is what normal people do isn’t it? They read together and share their stories, but if I am finally taking the opportunity to sit down to do what I cherish most, than I would like to actually do that…read.
I have no doubt that being my mother is similar to mothering a baby Orangutan, the most intelligent of primates, by the way. I’m difficult and controlling and stuck in my ways and it messes with me that my mother, similar to a dysfunctional Mary Poppins, makes me feel “ridiculous” for being so…uptight. I adore her and so does everybody who meets her, unless she is having an off day, and I try my best to embrace the wonderfulness of her and, as my niece would say, “keep my mouth quiet”. But, it isn’t always easy, especially for somebody like me who is not known for keeping my mouth…quiet. It’s a work in progress to laugh with her when we take six kids to the Chocolate Factory and she buys Tucker the most indulgent, four tiered marshmallow snowman, covered in white chocolate and m&m’s and after eating it he has a seismic melt down in the middle of the Aspen Mall.
We all have a thing with our mothers and I worry about pay back time when my boys get older. I loathe when she sweeps under my feet and I feel like Will Ferrell, in The Wedding Crasher, when I begin to expect things from her, like dinner.
Back to Nicky:
Okay, she has a few good points. Not many. She is quick and I am slow. I tend to smell too many roses along the way, whilst her world swirls dizzingly around her. No time for me to dreamily clean up the kitchen – all in slow motion. Slow motion in Jillian time – that is.
I cringe at the dust on the beloved furniture I happily gave to the Livingston family. I thoughtfully write my name on all the grimy surfaces.
But, what a wonderful Mother she is. Those 3 boys have the most playful and quirky Mother companion. She can rough house with the best of them. So, it is a little chaotic at ALL meal times – at all bed times – at all times to go hiking. 3 boys!!! Yikes.
Gorgeous, charming, slightly undisciplined and spoilt little 6 yr. old Tucker, a force to be reckoned with, giggles and kisses and blonde hair shining in the sun. Also a piercing scream when his brothers get the better of him. Quiet beautiful little rabbit toothed Axel, the sweetest and most thoughtful. Takes my calling him a nincompoop, when he misreads a word for the umpteenth time, in good spirit. Falls asleep in 2 seconds as I lie next to him on his lovely big bed, Jillian’s father’s bachelor bed seventy years ago.
Then we come to the oldest – my Brevitt. A volatile shooting star. His Mother’s very funny persona. A dynamo in the house. His huge brown eyes shining with mischief – but suddenly a head burrowed into my lap and hugs and kisses. What a trio to deal with.!!!!
Now, don’t get me wrong. My daughter is no saint. Has NO patience with me at all and is very, very critical. Regretting it later. Maybe sees the inevitable slowing down as a forecast for the future down the line. I feel pretty zippy actually. She drags me on a “short walk” – up and down hills and across streams and over meadows, two and a half hours later I limp home, bedraggled and sore and I actually have a nightmare that night of being forced by her to climb a 14 thousand footer, whilst sick with some un-named disease. No kidding, I woke up sobbing in fright.
When it is time to leave – the week goes so quickly – I dread the days without Jillian’s look of extreme exasperation as I make some false step in her world. I will miss those 3 little boys. So much love flows back and forth between us, even if Tucker is not yet quite sure whether to accept or reject his Grand Mother Nicky. Life is never, ever quite what we expect – or deserve.
And now my mother has left to go back home and I get the final word:
Without my mother waking me up to “smell the roses”, I would be nothing but a fleck of dust floating on a road to nowhere, unappreciative of the beauty that life offers us. Growing up as an only child in England during WWII, I don’t know where she gets if from, her enormous generosity and her joie de vivre, and I love her and need her desperately. So, I will try even harder to flow with her and give her everything she deserves and soon, through Aspen Real Life, oh so much more!
I love you Mommy, truly, madly and ever so deeply!!!