Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Show and Tell

I took a cab home from work, rushing to warm up leftovers in the microwave and sleep in the dent of my own bed. Before I could do any of that though, I would have to show my mother my wrists. A weekend getaway at a spa in New Hampshire started with ax-throwing and ended with black ink tattooed below my palms.

Before I sat in the chair, I kissed the blank canvas and faint blue lines goodbye. I mean, I really did kiss them. Someone told me once that a woman's wrists were the sexiest parts of her body. I think that somebody was Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, but either way, someone said it. I tried not to think about how many men wouldn't like them anymore and came up with quick explanations for people who ask why I have the words permanently marked on my arms forever.

My mother was making her bed (don't ask, she likes to tidy up before she goes to sleep). Her right cheek swung up in the air as she said hello. I hadn't seen her since Saturday morning when she handed me a picnic basket filled with tuna empanadas for the 3 hour road trip. I dropped my backpack on the kitchen table and came back to give her kisses, a hug, and to reveal my secret(s). Her eyes darted to the left cuff of my jean jacket and as I pecked her cheeks, I could see that her eyes were still down. She said, "Okay, show me."

She knew (darn Facebook). I scrunched up the sleeve and waited for her the frown lines on her face to appear. They didn't. Her cheeks rose again and her lips parted into a smile. Her hands came up to my jaw and now she was giving me kisses. Mommy wasn't mad or disappointed.

Not only did she know about my tattoos, but she knew why I needed to get them. She told me there were pork chops on the stove and couscous and beans in the fridge. I warmed a plate and added some barbecue sauce to the side, I missed my couch and cable tv. I walked by mother's room and saw her lying in her bed, watching her recorded soap operas from the morning. I went into her room, placing my hot plate on her desk, and gave her one last kiss on her forehead for the night. "Thanks for being a good mom and not judging me," I told her. Her response? "It's not something I would do because it's not me. But that is you. You want them, that's all that matters."

Sixty one years old and born on the tiny island of Fogo on the smallest island of Cabo Verde and has unlearned everything that she was ever taught about propriety and womanhood to raise and, most importantly, love her girl child in a way that makes her feel valued and respected for all of the choices/mistakes she makes. To overuse the word some more, she is amazing.

For a moment, while I walked up the stairs and let the tears drip down my cheeks (the ones I inherited from her), I almost stopped being sad. And these days, that takes whole lot of love. Thank goodness for mommies.


  1. Oh my, how I can relate to this story Amelia! I too have an amazing mommy, who doesn't always get me but loves me unconditionally.

  2. Lol... I remember how my mom found my first tattoos.... Lol... She ended her tirade by saying..l hmmm maybe I will get some too...

  3. Amen to that! Thank goodness for mommies :)


  4. My mom and dad never seize to amaze me on a constant basis. My first tattoo was the first 6 notes the Guatemala national anthem (that's were I was born) and when I told my mom she just said, "Does your father know?"...When my dad finally saw it, he didn't say a thing, but instead started singing the national anthem with a slight smile on his face.