She Calls It a “Medicinal Spa Drink.”

by Alexa on June 5, 2009

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.

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