----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: For Mom

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

For Mom

My mom, my dad and one of my brothers spent the last week in Greece and were flying back today, so I did not get a chance to spend Mother's Day with my family. Still, I wanted to offer my mom a token of affection, so here is a tribute to her motherhood. It may be a little sappy, so for those of you who don't like "Hallmark" sentiments, you may want to skip this entry.

My first memories of my mom are of her caring for me and making everything better. Especially when I was younger, she and one of my aunts would work as a team. (I think my mom needed the help because my younger brother was such a handful. By the time my youngest brother showed up, I was old enough to take on some responsibilities.) Anyway, when I was about five years old, I was riding my bike around the cul-de-sac. I was very proud of my bike--it was pink with purple flowers and it had a white banana seat and basket. Unfortunately, I was overly impressed with my perceived biking skills, so I started pedaling around the circle with no hands. Of course, I crashed, and I got pretty banged up. I even knocked out my first loose tooth. My mom and my aunt heard my screams from inside the house and gathered me up to take stock. My mom cleaned up my bloody knee and scraped wrist, but I was hysterical about the fact that I had lost my first tooth, literally. So my mom continued to comfort me while my aunt scoured the asphalt for my tooth. She found it, and my mom put it in a handmade tooth fairy pillow. That night, the tooth fairy was quite generous with her payment, seeing as losing the tooth had been such a traumatic experience.

When I was eight or nine, I went away to horse camp for a week, and of course, I was homesick. But that night, when I unpacked my bag, I found a letter from my mom tucked in among my things. Reading her neat cursive writing on her personalized blue stationary, I felt instantly better. Whenever one of us kids went away on our own, my mom made sure to include a missive of love with our luggage. She also made sure to tell us that having children was the best thing she ever did in her life.

In fourth grade, my mom and my aunt helped me build a mission complete with flying buttresses for a school project. In fifth grade, they proofread my report about the narwhal. Even when I thought I was old enough to take care of myself, my mom stepped in whenever she thought I might need some help. She and my dad moved me back and forth from college every year, and they even flew out with me to help me furnish my studio apartment before I started grad school. We must have hit nearly every garage sale in Skokie and Evanston, but we got the place furnished in record time.

When I was 12, my mom had colon cancer, and after her surgery, I remember bringing her toast and Ensure on a tray to her bed. One day, she asked me to make her a grilled-cheese sandwich while she took a bath. I couldn't find any prewrapped Kraft slices, so I attempted to cut slices off a block of cheddar cheese. I hadn't yet learned the importance of cutting away from oneself, but after that experience, I would never again forget. I sliced into my index finger so deeply that I chipped the bone. I had to go the emergency room, but my mom was too weak to take me, so she had to call one of her friends to take me. I needed five stitches, and I think that's the only time my mom wasn't there with me to hold my hand.

Fourteen years later, when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, my mom was the one bringing me snacks on a tray. She had me drink a mug of green tea every night because she knew it contained powerful antioxidants. I probably should have been drinking the tea before I got cancer, but I appreciated the gesture. She let me squeeze her hand while I had a bone-marrow biopsy. (My dad does not handle medical procedures very well, so he had to sit in the waiting room, lest he faint.) She helped me pick out my wig and was happy to pay extra for the highlights I wanted woven in to make it look more like my real hair.

I hear so many horror stories about mothers and daughters who have enormous fights while attempting to plan a wedding together. I won't lie...we had our moments, especially when it came to picking the invitations. But for the most part, I valued her help. One friend told me that she went to a wedding where the mother of the bride decided to steal her daugher's spotlight by wearing a wedding dress herself. My mom asked me to help her pick out a mother of the bride dress, and when she finally found something she looked beautiful in (a long, wine-colored gown with a lovely, intricately beaded jacket), I had to reassure her that it wasn't "too much" and that she wouldn't take anything away from me by wearing such a fancy dress. I wanted her to look and feel her best!

Now, I live back in my old hometown, about three miles away from my parents. I suppose some daughters would feel smothered by such physical proximity, but my parents are totally respectful of me and my husband, and they never show up unannounced (although sometimes they do call us from the parking lot, asking if they can come up!). My mom will sometimes leave us plants in our garden--she's the best gardener I know--and she's always ready with advice, but only when asked.

I feel so lucky to have such a wonderfully close relationship with my mom. I don't know what I'd do without her. So Mom, thanks for everything. I love you.


  • At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Astera:

    I read your comment to your mom and I cried. What a wonderful, touching sentiment. Were I a mom, a post like yours would send me to "Mom's Heaven." Your gift lies in your writing. Never foresake it.


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