My Mom

My dad worshipped that woman. When they were young, she was everything he ever wanted in the whole world: she was beautiful, free, smart, funny, she was open to people to a fault, she had absolutely no expectations and was pleasantly surprised by everything, she acted like every movement was a miracle, and she shared everything she had with everyone she could.

She had a new hobby every other year, she’d get good at it, and move on. She knitted for a while, she threw pottery, she cooked for people every chance she got, she wrote poetry, performed her poems as songs, she sang, she danced, she ate, she loved. She sold her crafts when she needed to, she gave them away when she could. My dad was so happy to care for the finances and keep us housed and handle logistics as long as she provided the inspiration. It was natural. They were in love from the day they met until the day my father died.

My mother was always the light, she walk into a room and people felt it. She’d write words on napkins without thinking and whoever found them would be moved by them. She’d perform for strangers on the train who started out annoyed and ended up hugging her body. Whatever job she was ever doing to pay our rent, she was the star employee without trying. Her bosses loved her, her coworkers admired her, customers specifically requested her, for years after she’d left.

When my father told us that he was bored, listless, she told them they had to open a book shop – so they did. She thought every single goal was attainable and I never saw her fail at trying.

There was even a year when my mom decided that maybe Christians were on to something – so they started going to church every Sunday, they avoided sin, they got proper saved. After a year, my mom told us that she really really tried but found more meaning in poetry than church, and we never went back. She was never above trying anything just because it didn’t fit into her “alternative” lifestyle.

She was amazing.

When my father died, the light went out. She stopped leaving her house, she started doing the few things she judged other people for doing: eating garbage, watching TV, cleaning the carpet, reading the newspaper, being mainstream, being lonely, being quiet. She spent her entire life being admired for being the inspiration, but when her own inspiration died – betrayed by the revolution that kept them afloat for decades – she transformed entirely.

And that’s pretty much when I went corporate.