She Calls It a “Medicinal Spa Drink.”

Simone is getting a molar, either that or she has a form of the mumps in which there is only one mump present, located in the mouth along the gum. This development, along with the fact that the Internet hates me (as evidenced by my Facebook and Twitter accounts being hacked within days of each other and my blog crashing twice in a week) is responsible for the lack of updates around here.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, the big 2-1! Alas, I was unable to spend it with her, on account of the large body of water separating us. For those of you who asked, my mother lives in Switzerland for “work.” I put it in quotes like that because nothing is actually produced, over there. The actual production of actual product is done over here, and the Swiss office is all high-level types, having meetings and making PowerPoint presentations about Windfall Improvement Negotiation Enhancement (WINE) and Growth Initiative Networks (GIN). I call it Executive Camp. She is there for two more years. However to answer another reader question, we are indeed Swiss—from Graubunden, a different canton entirely than the one in which my mother resides.

But none of that has anything to do with anything. The point is, yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and as her present, I am going to post EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of the month.

Now, I know what you are thinking: “Rather presumptuous, to assume that her customary mishmash of rambling commentary and baby pictures is so enticing as to constitute an appropriate birthday gift.” And I would agree…if I hadn’t seen my inbox over the past year and a half.

For your edification, I present a selection of ACTUAL, HONEST TO GOD email messages received from my mother:

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: so after one of those mornings getting breakfast,
milk boiling over in microwave, yogurt i made last night didn’t yog, things falling out of the fridge….i sit down to eat and think—at least i have alexa’s post to read…….but no.

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: no post again? after i told you my sad story?

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: thought you were blogging….
been almost a week again. and me with my kidney stone….

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: what’s going on with your blog? no twitters either?

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: no post? no post?
home sick again today. nobody to make me tea. no post.

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: still no post
how depressed do you want me to get anyway? What with still being home sick and all.

TO: alexaflotsam@gmail.com
FROM: alexasmother@alexasmother.com
SUBJECT: no post no post no phone calls or email
and i have to go back to work this morning….sigh

My mother is my greatest champion. When Simone’s pulmonologist nixed daycare and it became obvious that I would not be returning to work, it was my mother who urged me to use the time to make a go of freelancing, to turn my writing into more than a dream and a hobby, and offered her financial support to back that urging up. “This is your chance,” she told me, and she cheered me on while I took it.

When, defeated, I wondered whether I ought to butch up and find some more reliable way of making money, embarrassed to be nearly 30 and still requiring help to pay my bills, she is the one who insisted I keep writing and working and failing and trying. She believes in me when I do not believe in myself. And it’s not blind support. I know, because we suffer from the same inability to praise bad writing (“I really didn’t like it,” she has said to me, even though I CAME FROM HER WOMB). When I need someone to read something I have written, she and my brother are my toughest critics and my biggest fans.

I have seen friends struggle to explain their unprofitable but impassioned career choices to their families, and am so grateful to have been spared that particular fight. And when I think about what I want to be for Simone, my mother is my model—a pillar of support, a wind at my back, a wise and practical voice. An ardent appreciator of puns, and always ready with a warm gin toddy when I need it.
So, if you have a glass (and if not, why?) please raise it with me:

To my mother! Happy Birthday, and many many many many many more, pursuant to our binding contractual agreement that you remain alive indefinitely.

47 comments

  1. Laura in Michigan says:

    Alexa, I love your writing and would happily read a book you wrote. Or anything for that matter. I also love your sense of humor. So thank you for sharing your mom’s birthday gift with all of your readers. Happy Birthday Alexa’s Mom!!

  2. Sarah says:

    Alexa. Please write a book. (Or finish the one you are working on) I’d gladly read it and force my Australian friends to buy a copy too. Looking forward to a WHOLE month of your writing and wishing your mother a Happy Birthday too!

  3. Ginger says:

    You could write about the contents of your fridge and I would read it. No wait, maybe I’ll write about my fridge . . . no wait you write anything at all and I’ll sit here and read it and skip the whole writing thing myself. Yeah, that’s its.

    Salut to FlotsaMama. I hope she ate fondue and raclette to her heart’s delight, while she waited for this post.

  4. Gaby says:

    Happy Birthday, Alexa’s Mom! You have raised an incredible daughter, and you seem to be quite a classy lady. Here’s to many more!

  5. AmeliaSprout says:

    Happy Birthday Alexa’s Momma! You are awesome for supporting her creative endeavors. I thank you because she brings such joy and humor to my life.

    My mom is not nearly as far away, but likes regular posts from me too. What did distant grandma’s do before the Internets.

  6. Lee says:

    Alexa’s Mom, I think that it’s beyond thoughtful that you’re sharing your gift with us out here in Internetland. It’s just what we wanted! How did you know?

    Happy birthday to you. My mom is the most wonderful, supportive, brilliant, kind, loving woman in the world, but I’d be open to letting Alexa have the number two position for her mom. :)

  7. mommo4.5 says:

    Happy Birthday Alexa’s Mom! And I love your birthday present! I hope you don’t mind if I read over your shoulder.

  8. Kim says:

    Happy Birthday, Alexa’s Mom! Many happy returns!

    You raised a good ‘un, as we say in the south. ;)

    I’ll be reading over your shoulder….

  9. Melissa says:

    I’m so thrilled that we will have an entire month of your wonderful writing to read. Thank you Alexa’s Mom!

    Many of the things you said about your relationship with your Mom ring true for me with my Mom too – aren’t we so lucky to have such amazing, supportive, honest women as our Mothers!

    p.s. can I get a copy of that contractual agreement? I’d really like to have my Mom sign one too. Thanks. ;-)

  10. Anne says:

    I totally thought you were going to say, “The wind beneath my wings,” after “…a pillar of support, a wind at my back, a wise and practical voice. An ardent appreciator of puns…”

    Come on! Focus Alexa! Oh wait, that line was already taken.

    Happy Birthday Alexa’s mom!

  11. vikki says:

    oh alexa, that last paragraph made me cry. my mother-in-law was for me what your mom is for you, and we lost her without warning one year ago this month. cherish her while you can, and keep letting her know–like you just did with this post–how precious she is.

    (btw, you are fabulous, and while your mom surely gets some of the credit, so do you.)

  12. toomuchstrong says:

    Your mother sounds wonderful. I wish her a very happy birthday and I have to be honest, I am super jealous that you have her as your mom.

  13. Alexicographer says:

    What a lovely post. A very happy birthday to mom-of-Flotsam, and how fortunate that she lives in Switzerland. Here in the US, it being the big 2-1 and all, she might be tempted to go out and consume excessive amounts of alcohol (or, as happens to my poor (adult) stepchildren from time to time, get over-served).

    I feel the same way about my mom. Can I get that contract?

  14. Alexis says:

    Dying, dying, dying laughing from this post! HI-LARIOUS! I hope she loved it and I am thrilled for the upcoming daily posts. School is out for summer and I as well will be starting my mornings with your blog! Happy Summer!

  15. Betty M says:

    Raising a glass and saying proscht to your mum! Graubunden is just gorgeous. Once when my parents lived in CH we spent a summer holiday in Laax. It was lovely.

  16. Kara says:

    *raised glass*

    You know, I was a very early reader of a lot of blogs–Dooce, Stephanie Klein, etc.–whose authors have published books. I will boldly admit that I have not bought a single one of them. I can promise you, though (cross my heart) that I WOULD CERTAINLY, INEVITABLY, PROMPTLY buy your book if you put one out there. Because I heartily agree with your mom–any day you post is just a little more entertaining for me. Love it.

    Sincerely

  17. Amy says:

    If that is, indeed, your mother’s sole birthday request, by all means you must satisfyf it! We will all reap the rewards! Thanks and Happy Birthday, Alexa’s Mom!

  18. Heather says:

    Could it be that your mom and my mom are actually the same woman? Their e-mails seem to make this case. But I think I would know if mine had a beautiful apartment in Switzerland. Happy Birthday to Alexa’s Mom!

    (Usually, when my mom wants something for her birthday, I point to my kids. “That’s not enough?”)

  19. Amy says:

    Your mother and my mother send the same e-mails – could we be twins separated at birth? Probably not since I’m a few years older than you. But our moms definitely went to the same Mom School!

  20. Moose says:

    I am now as enamored of your mother as I am of you. Her emails had me trying to stifle my chortles in my cube. (There is no laughing in CubeVille.)

  21. Jill says:

    If your mom’s not Jewish she should be. That’s some fine high-quality guilt she’s got going. Is her company, perchance, a multinational guilt distributorship?

  22. Alexandra says:

    I found your blog through Breed Em and Weep and really enjoy reading past posts. That is awesome that your mother supports your writing. How wonderful! Congratulations on getting an agent. I just got one, too, so I know that off-the-floor feeling of utter disbelief and joy. My book is about my mom’s final seven months, based on my other blog. What is yours about? Did you ever follow up on the former editor who offered to tell you what happens once a proposal goes out?

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