mad in pursuit memoir notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of yesterday and forever

Remembering late nights with my mother

It is 11:53. Maria is working on a project for work. I'm giving her some feedback on a draft. I'm usually in bed by now, but somehow it feels good for me to be up with her as she prepares her slide presentation. She is at the other end of the Instant Messaging pipeline, physical miles away, yet right here.

It made me remember how my mother used to stay up when I pulled all-nighters writing "themes" for English class. I was intellectual but couldn't type worth a damn. She bought a great little portable typewriter -- I can't remember whether it was electric or not, but it had colored ribbons. Green, blue, red, black.

I thought it was nice of her to help me out. It wasn't till many, many years later that it occurred to me that it helped her feel closer to me to stay up and type. I was not a communicative teenager. I was too academically cool to pay much attention to all the work that went into maintaining a home with 4 kids. I might not have appreciated the fact that she had a brain too — that she might have wondered what kind of esoteric crap my 17-year-old mind might be up to.

And what I wanted most was to be independent. And she let me be as independent as I wanted, really, except that when I wasn't so independent (at 3 AM the morning a paper was due), she gave me just what I needed and never rubbed it in.

Thanks, Mom!