23 July 2012

My Mother's Big Secret

Jack thinks granny is cool. And Jack knows cool.
My mother is a secretly awesome lady. She has spent her entire life keeping that particular fact on the DL. She certainly had me convinced of the opposite for a good portion of my life. But every once in a while she lets some ridiculously awesome detail about her life slip and I sit there with my mouth open, wondering how this new tidbit could possibly mesh with my usual perception of my somewhat timid, easy-going, don't-rock-the-boat mother. My poor Mother who tried to teach her stubborn loud mouth kid to be "lady like", who tried to instill in said loud mouth, stubborn, independent fireball kid the concept of marrying a nice cult church going young man who would take care of her while she gave him lots of little mormon babies. (The more the merrier in heaven, right? I had my planet all planned out when I was 8. It was going to be shaped like a coke bottle.) It's not her fault: my poor mother just didn't stand a chance with me.

One of those secret awesome stories about my mom was likely the inspiration for the Bourne movies or any one of the more recent 007 movies. In this incredible tale my mom is in her early twenties and traveling Europe and the middle east with her first husband. First husband is off chasing the trail of Don Quixote for some academic pursuit. Mom gets bored and decides to jump on over to Turkey to adopt 2 children. (There must be a lot more to this story than I actually remember…somehow, somewhere there is a logical transition from documenting the trail of Don Quixote to adopting turkish babies, although with my mother you just never know.) Anyhoo, I believe there had been an earthquake in Turkey and there was an ungodly amount of children left orphaned from this event. The Turkish Government is putting it out there that they need some help, pronto. The nightly news is blasting images of orphanages and miles and miles of cribs holding 2 to 4 babies each and the babies are all starting to bang their heads agains the bars of the cribs, the situation is DIRE people. So a bunch of Americans, my mother included, swoop in to help. 

Paperwork signed, babies in hand, Mom is getting ready to head west when suddenly something is wrong. The authorities are telling her there is something wrong with her paperwork, or they're demanding more money. Something suddenly goes haywire and whatever it is it's looking pretty shady according to my mom so what does mom do? She goes rogue. Mom hits the ground running with 2 babies under her arms and doesn't look back. She hops on a train and makes tracks to London, juggling babies and diapers and formula and luggage all by her superbad self. She sits tight in london for a bit, hoping the dust will settle but the chase is still on so she catches a plane to the states and then immediately goes into hiding for 6 months because she just stole two Turkish children from the government

International Terrorist. I can't believe I let her hold that baby!
If you know my mom then you're collecting flies, close your mouth please. My mother has several stories of extreme courage that I will share with you in the coming weeks. It's mind blowing. Because like I said, my mom made a careful concerted effort to hide her awesomeness most of her life and I havent' been able to figure out why. Especially being that I am her loud mouth, stubborn, non-religious tree-hugging, rage-against-the-machine daughter who admires this kind of conviction and courage.

My mom is unwell. The last few months she's been in this general decline, but apparently last week she took a turn for the worse. She tells me all the time that getting old is not for sissies. In her very passive aggressive way she asked me to come help her this week. "So when do you think you might come for a visit?" "How soon do you need me mom?" "Now please." Apparently we need to make room in her living room for a hospital bed. So, yeah, there's that. Ok, so it's road trip time, which is usually a big Yippee! for me except these circumstances kinda suck.  I'll be grateful for the thinking time on the road to cultivate writing topics and to get my head on straight. Time on the road will also help me get into compassion mode with my mom, something I do not excel at. It's a double whammy because it's my mom and she's ill, two things I'm just really bad at. (Ask my best friend, I yelled at her when she had appendicitis, thumbing through "Our Bodies Ourselves" insisting she had some female problem).

Well, anyway, ultimately my mom is a badass. She stole 2 babies from turkey and traveled 8000 miles to hide them and protect them and give them a shot at becoming something other than drooling social misfits beating their heads against walls because they never got touched as children. I admire the heck outta that. Fight the man mom, don't let him bring you down. Just keep fighting.

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