Aseneth Imogene Allen McIntyre
You really think I’d leave my mommy out of this little party? Strap in. Nothing I write below could have been found via Google or from a book, and my brain is flooding with things I can say about my mom—it’s overwhelming & it might get rambly… but strap in nonetheless.
Mom always begins the story the same way: “You were on the veranda still in your night shirt eating something in a cup, and you were crying…” I watched my mother get into a car that morning when I was two years old, and I wouldn’t see her again until I was almost six. At that point, in an unfamiliar place, looking at a confusingly familiar face, in the back of my mind I knew she was mom, but I also remembered her as the nice lady who would send me little cottony dresses with alligators on them, [other ones too, but the Izods were my favorites] really neat coloring books and dollies from America. Leaving me then was a pang that haunts her until today. I didn’t miss a thing tho, in theory… had my 6 siblings, my Aunt Lu who quickly filled the mom role when she came up to help manage the household, our two ‘helpers’ [basically, our maids… relax, everybody in Jamaica has helpers… helpers have helpers!] my pet goat & my ridgeback, named of all things ‘Ridgie’ [no, I did NOT have a hand in the naming] my cat Frowzie [nor that one] and my handsome & awesome daddy! He was my best friend… It was four years, and that’s not really a long time in the grand scheme, but for a toddler maybe it was… not sure… My mother left a country where things were hard, yes, but she was… trying not to use a cliché term here… but yeah, a ‘queen’ in her community—respected, cherished, honored… to come to a hostile alien place she had to navigate like walking on shards of glass, cleaning people’s homes, taking care of their snotty children– MY mother, almost alone… and you wonder, WHY? so does she sometimes, when we’re f*ing up—‘why oh why did I bring you children to this place??’ (I’ve heard that a lot! ha!) first thing that comes to mind: Opportunity, the American Dream. It’s an intoxicating thing, this Dream.
Honestly, if my mom hadn’t been married and had eight children, [yes, if you’re paying attention, the math isn’t adding up– there was one more, but that’s another story, another day… perhaps] had actually completed school, you’d be reading books about her. Physics, music, art, chemistry… those things are all rolling around that practical head of hers, and not in the formal, learned, syllabus-engineered way, but more rudimentary, organic even – different means, but the same results… she’s not boisterous, she’s rather reserved & thoughtful… wow, this is hard – I have so many things in my head! I once saw a video of a Japanese artist who, when you’re watching him speed paint you’re wondering to yourself, what’s this fool doing?? It looks insane… is it abstract? is it surreal?? he whips thru the thing, then he flips it upside down, and it’s a spot-on, scarily perfect rendering of Bruce Lee, and your mind is reeling, but everything falls into place. That’s mom with a plan, and at the same time trying to keep us sharp. She’s also perceptive to the point of something that seems to be a 6th sense. Keep nothing from this woman. She will find out. I’m not sure about my siblings, but I happily share that with her— sometimes I choose to ignore stuff, but when I’m quiet, things get ‘interesting’ haha… After the death of my father, mom and I got closer. I think perhaps because I look like him so much, and have so many of his personality traits [remember, he was my favorite] & she misses this man who was her husband for 50 years… and because I’m a little different from my sibs in the way I was raised, things I was exposed to in the US rather than JA, but still aware of the JA things, I have a unique perspective on alot—I go in with fresh eyes in a way, and she appreciates that. I’ve gotten to really know my mom, and I now see what the others see—I wish I’d seen it sooner! but nothing’s ever too late. This year mom will be 89, and while her joints are getting a bit more creaky, and she’s getting a bit more forgetful, and doesn’t get to see her children as often as she’d like since everyone is scattered about the country– leaving her lonely at times, but we still have her, and every moment of her life is golden. There’s so much more… there’s always more! but that’s all ya get!! besides, knowing her, she’d be quite peeved at me for putting her business on blast.
When I was @ 18 or so I had a really freaky dream starring my mom. We were on a scooter of some kind… not a bike & not a proper motorcycle… the kind you see in old Italian or French movies, I’m sitting behind her with my arms around her waist and we’re going down a mountain at top speed! back tire spitting rocks as we make each turn and I’m freaking out… I’m yelling, ‘mom! mom! I’m scared! why are we going so fast??’ But she’s smiling, and very calm, maneuvering everything with grace & skill… and we’re winding down & down & down, and I’m gripping her tight, ‘come on mom, it’s too fast!’ and just as I convince myself that my mother & I, this very day, will perish on a mountain, she turns her head and whispers ‘don’t worry Georgie, it’s just a dream’ and when I see her face, she’s my age! or maybe a little older… Her hair’s long & thick & indigo black, whipping in my face with the wind and she is glowing, and her eyes…. her eyes are filled with fire & joy… then I relax, and we almost seem to hover over the road as we careen down, laughing all the way– then I wake up, in my room, in bed tucked in safely, but I see her again, still 20ish, still wearing what she had on during the scooter ‘operation’… she’s at the door, and grinning, she turns her head & winks at me, ‘told you it was just a dream’ and she whips out of my room, like on air—and then I REALLY wake up, heart in my throat, but laughing at the same time.
This quote is something mom says alot these days… she turns on the patois full force for this one to make it adorable– it’s simple, but resonates:
“yu is mi lass’ likkle baby…”
Hurray for leap years! one more day! and I’m making myself the last Cool Black Chick in my little indulgent series… well of course I would! because…. I’m a [reasonably] cool black chick!
You guys don’t want a long belabored profile thingy do you? meh, I’m here… life is life, whacha gonna do? et voilaaaaa…
[btw, this is my attempt at the disastrous ‘Seflie’ of which I normally find myself in the middle, attempting to impersonate a gargoyle… I was all set to do a whole fencing photographic series– utter fail… my jacket’s too big, my helmet made me look like a serial killer, and…. feh…. haha I’m getting slightly better at the selfie thing tho [maybe it’s my sister’s phone]]