Mermaids, Winona Ryder's character calls her mother Mrs. Flax. She takes the professional-relationship route.
My sister, Janelle, and I call our mother Ms. Bear. She's always been Ms. Bear. I'm not even sure when the nickname came into existence. I suppose it morphed out of the childhood image of my mother rising from her bed chambers. Every morning since I was 10 years old, the scene played out the same way. I'd hear a faint creak of a bed, hear loud footsteps on the carpet (my mother wears a size 12 shoe, of course!) and see the bedroom door fling open. And out would step Ms. Bear. Her hair standing up in all directions like Bozo. One sock hiked up to her knee cap, the other dangling from her toes. And that yawn -- a thunderous call in the wild resembling, you guessed it, a bear. It practically shook the whole house. But Ms. Bear was merely making her presence known. A trailblazer pounding through the forest of life. So many times, we vow that we'll be different from our mother. We won't make the same mistakes she did. But I can't help but wonder: Can we ever really escape becoming our mothers? Is it such a bad thing to become the next generation of June Cleavers or Mrs. Flaxes?
The summers turned into our designated Mother/Daughter Time. Living mere blocks from my father's electronics shop at the local university, we pounded the pavement on a sweltering day, and after we visited him and marveled at the newest gadget he was fixing; she took us to the lagoon so we could sit under the weeping willows and feed the ducks. Other weeks, she took us to the library, and I remember immersing myself in the stacks of the children's department. In those times, I wasn't disabled. Or confined to a wheelchair. I was just Melissa -- a little redhead reading Curious George and giggling.
(Make sure to check back tomorrow for Part Two... xoxo)