Sunday, May 13, 2012

a different kind of mom's day this year

There are two things on my mind this Mother's Day that is setting it apart from all the other Mother's Days I have celebrated.

For starters (and I really do worry about sounding like a shit for saying this, so do let me explain).....this is the first Mother's Day that what I have wanted as a gift is time with my kid. 

I know. I sound like a complete jerk and even saying it here out loud on the internet has me worried that the MommyPolice are going to show up and revoke my card.  But hey.  Most of my years spent mothering have been spent as a single mom, and even when I was not single, I was still pretty much THECaptain at the Helm of the Household, especially in the parenting department, and I would not describe myself as a slacker when it comes to parenting.  From the very beginning of my being a mother, what I always wanted for myself for Mother's Day was a day off.  A spa day. A break.  Please. Help. Tired. Alone time. Please.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I was starting to think about how Mother's Day was going to spent this year, and rising up out of my gut was this very different feeling for me.  Fourteen years of spa days (most of them without the actual spa, but hey...I am good at pretending LOL), and this is the first year that rather than craving a day off, I am totally craving that my kid spends time with me.  I guess the key to all of this are the words "fourteen years," and the fact that as MyFavoriteKid gets older, he's spending less and less time with me.  And I miss him.

So we're going out to lunch today with my mom (and my dad, too), to a casual place where we can eat  but also catch the Giant's game at the same time.  Should be really nice :-)

There is one other thing on my mind this Mother’s Day, and it has nothing to do with my mom or my being a mom.

Once upon a time, I had a “dance mom”. She was more than just my dance class teacher, she was my mentor.  She taught me things about dancing that have oozed over into so many other areas of my life that I am a changed person.  Seriously, I would not be who I am today if I had not know her.  She taught me bellydance, but because she herself was also a modern dancer (in addition to her being a bellydancer), her style of bellydance was really about using the movements as a form for creative self-expression. In other words, she sort of approached bellydance like modern dance, in that she used it to tell stories. With her as my example, I have created dance pieces over the years to mark deaths, births, celebrations, and to work my way through some very complex emotions.

Jamie passed away from a brain tumor in 1999.  Her tumor affected her speech center, but that didn't keep her from communicating: she danced right up to the very end.  She was 57 years old. After she passed, a few of us (her more advanced troupe members) began teaching her class, and I have now taught (a variation, because it will never be the same) her method of work for 12 years (twelve years??!! is that possible??!! gah!!).

In 2004 I lost one of my legs in a car accident, and I still teach and perform…. but I so often wish that Jamie could pop into class even if for just one single moment.  I wish I could have Jamie’s perspective on my dancing and feedback about how my one-legged body moves, because I know should would have had plenty to say about it (she was ridiculously outspoken LOLOL....and I laugh because that is an understatement!).

 Here’s a pic of Jamie:

And here’s a pic of me dancing, post accident:

Jamie’s was born on May 13th, so this year her birthday lands today, on Mother’s Day. Had she lived, she would have turned 70 today. I know she would  have still been dancing and teaching in some form or another.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking about Jamie more than usual this year. I miss my teacher, and even though I love being a teacher myself (and I am learn something every single class from my students), I miss being taught.

At Jamie's memorial I acquired a card that was given out that day.  I keep in my bedroom on my little altar full of things that are special to me. The card has a photo of Jamie posing in one of her dance costumes along with the following poem by Marge Piercy:

When I dance I forget myself, I am danced.
Music fills me to overflowing, and the power moves
Up from my feet to my fingers, making the leaves as sap does.
Taste what is in your mouth.
If it is water, still taste it.
Wash out the cups of your fingers,
Clean your eyes with new tears for your sister.
We are not worse revolutionaries if we remember
That the universe itself pulses like a heart;
That the blood dances within us; That joy is a power.
Treading with hoofs and talons on our flimsy bodies;
That water flows and fire leaps and the land gives strength.
If  you build on it with respect, if you dance on it with vigor,
If you put seeds in with care and give what what is leftover;
That and ritual of unity makes some of what it pretends;
That everything is a part of something else.

Happy Mother's Day to the Mothers out there who are "moms" in others ways than just the traditional.


Kerry said...

Happy Mother's Day!!!