I am my mother in most ways – except she would have preferred to be blond. We are the kind that keeps going.
The house can fall down, the trees can turn red, the men in our life can disappear, the money can run out; we keep going.
My blessed editor at Knopf, maybe the best teacher I ever had, once asked me what I thought my book was about and I said, “love,” and she said, “Oh no, it’s about going on. You always keep going.” She was so right. I got that from my mother. Her German parents wouldn’t send her to college – the boys went. She showed them. She married a Norwegian from Minnesota who had just returned from Paris and the war.
She thought he would give her a glamorous life. When he couldn’t muster the ambition, she waited a while and then she and I gave her and us a glamorous life — not with diamonds — with experiences. She loved to learn and wanted to see and know everything. We had an agreement that whichever of us died first would return and, with a code that only we would understand, we would let each other know things were just fine. And about eight months after she died, she appeared at the end of my bed in France in the early morning and said, “Mary, I think you should know Cass died.” Cass had been a friend when I was small in Poland, Ohio. No one knew her except my mother and it had been forty years since I had thought of her. So I knew my mother was fine.
Once, I meditated on my mother and was wondering what she was up to and I heard a voice say, “She misses not knowing where you are.” Which I thought was a very funny reply. In her later years she used to want to know everywhere I’d been. I guess now she knows everywhere I’ve been. So, happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I bet you’re wowed by these women!