I had not planned to write a Mother’s Day post. But when I called to order a corsage for my mom to wear to church on Mother’s Day, the simple significance of Barbara Carter’s question sealed the deal.
The question: Red or White?
I realized when I was commenting on Julianna Baggott’s “Happy Birthday” blog post to her mother, that this seed of a post had to sprout.
My comment was this:
Very eloquent and simultaneously comical post. When the florist asked me yesterday (about my mother’s Mother’s Day corsage) “red or white?” I thought, what a perfect blog post title (southern tradition dictates you wear a white flower if your mother is deceased and red if she is still alive). I am glad I would still be eligible for red.
In her homage to her mother, Julianna writes that her mother gave her the greatest gift a mother can give a writer daughter, permission to write about her. I don’t know if my mom has given me that gift. I suppose this post is more of a way of wresting the act of writing about her directly out of her hands whether she is ready to give it or not. I do know I hurt her to the core with the scathing analysis of our family that I wrote in my college family relations course and left out in a public area after letting a friend read it. I really thought I knew a lot about how our family had been shaped back then. Now that I am raising my own family, I think I just need to steer my kids away from family relations courses requiring papers that rely on self-disclosure. Engineering would be safer and more lucrative anyway.
For my mom, I had to order a white orchid. Vila, her mother and my grandmother, passed away years ago. When I think about my mother’s stories of insisting she follow her older sister to kindergarten, even though she was only four (rules were much more relaxed back then), of how she loved her “with the girls” lifestyle in Lake City before she married my dad, I think I can detect the independent streak that I inherited. It may have driven Grandma Vila a little nuts.