Spring Fights, Spring Jokes

My mother just pulled the best April Fool’s prank in recent memory. For as long as I can remember, we have had a volatile relationship. I recognize it now as an inherent closeness.

As a tot, I was always chattering off random thoughts to her. I remember asking her things like, “How does Mariah Carey sing all of her melodies at once?” not understanding the concept of background singers and recording over loops. She brought me to the record store after I begged for a copy of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” single. I didn’t know the name of the song – I was five or six years old – and she asked me to hum the melody to the employee. I remember his look of amusement, and absolutely no recognition of my ho-hum tune at all.

We’ve had our differences over the years. I share many of my father’s traits – a penchant for observation, a distaste for renumerating over details for too long, and the same sense of dry humor.

The tension between my mother and I runs deep. It can cut like a knife, and we've wounded one another deeply over the years. Unconditional love, however, renews our bond and covers any blood we’ve ever shed.

She hopped on a plane back to Atlanta this past Monday after ten days in New York. During her time here, she dealt with my default-daughter behavior while handling family matters like a champ. She knew how relieved I was. She was relieved of the tension, as well, and was glad to return to Atlanta with my father.

At 8PM yesterday, one day after her departure to Atlanta, I received the following text:

“Hi, when will you get home? [I] just got off the bus at Canal. Have to meet Mr. Ma in the apartment. Need to show you something. Call me when you are downstairs.”

My heart dropped. I was angry. She’s back in New York, again? Without alerting me in advance? After one day? What is so urgent that she would not inform me of the journey? What the hell, Mom?

You see, I don’t put it past my mother to show up for a surprise visit. Come hell or high water, she will be there when she needs to be. Something must have happened.

I arrived in my unit, reluctantly calling her. My anger had cooled to a glum disappointment that she would not inform me in advance of her plans to return so suddenly.

Her cheery voice picked up.

“Hi! Are you in the unit?"

“Yes, Mom. I’m here."

“Great! Can you take a look at the heater?"

“…sure…where are you?..."

“Ha ha haaaaa… happy April Fool’s!!! Did I scare you by being back in town?"

Yes, mother. Absolutely. She had frightened me down to my wits. I experienced the entire range of human emotion in 30 angst-filled minutes.

Mother wins.

WritingShawn LiComment