For my Mom

MomThis post has been a draft for months, waiting to be polished and posted. I’ve been preoccupied for at least that long, trying to think of what I would tell you about my mother.

For a large chunk of that time, it only contained two words: lip gloss.

But lip gloss isn’t all there is to say. I’m going to tell you the rest, too. About the lip gloss, yes, but about the rest, most definitely. Anyway, I’ll start with the lip gloss.

When I was growing up, my mommy always had little colored pots of Rachel Perry lip gloss in her purse. Mostly, I remember it being cantaloupe. I think she had mint too, and grape. They were flavored and very tasty. When she let me use some to make my lips soft, I would inevitably sneak some onto my tongue, too. I think she did tell me that lip gloss was not for eating (I was that kind of sneaky kid). Cantaloupe lip gloss wedged itself in my childhood consciousness and stayed there long, even until my mother found those same pots at the local health food store and gave them to my sister and I for Christmas. These days, I don’t eat it. But for using as lip gloss, it is awesome. And it reminds me of my mom. Anyway, I did try it, just once. It still tastes the way I remember it. I’m just… not into eating lip gloss anymore. It makes me think of mom’s purse, and being little.

Apple FamilyMy mommy has always been warm and smooth. Often crazy (I inherited that from her, no doubt) but also sweet and good and loving. My mom paid for my rehearsals and bought me concert gowns when we were subsisting on cold cereal and canned soup. She put my photos in the paper, wrote the articles and sent them, hung my performance fliers in her office window and gave her clients my business cards. She has always been so proud of what I was doing, always wanted badly for me to do even more.

She videotapes my shows, brings audio recorders to concerts (whether or not I approve, and that’s the way it is). We always seem to have something to listen to or watch later, something for her to show people, something to show off a little. Though I received quite a bit of financial and emotional support for the trip to Wales, from many corners, she was absolutely instrumental in pushing it through, making it work, and inexplicably managed to cart herself there too, with father and grandmother in tow—to Wales. She helped me pay for all the bizarre comforts that soothed and strengthened me, helped me do incredibly well (and I am pleased to say that I didn’t disappoint her!). She’s still pushing, with articles in the paper and photos pinned to her office wall, and without her, who knows what I’d have gotten done by now?

From my mother I am strong and stubborn, and not only a little brilliant. She made me an artist and a musician in many ways, and encouraged me to do the things I did so well when my friends’ parents were grousing and insisting they look to “real” careers. My mother always knew what I was capable of. She never doubted it for a moment.

Many difficult years and it can be hard to remember these things. But they’re all true.

Kindergarten GraduateWhen I wanted to read, she bought me books. Growing up, I had so many books! Even now, buying books is a habit I can’t throw off, and wouldn’t want to. She made reading and learning a dear drug (a dear drug, indeed! How much did I spend on new reading material this month?) and always kept me moving forward, even when we barely had the means. And if any of you have managed not to notice (what, are you living under a rock?) I’m running or helping to run more than one business, building my own projects, engaged in creating myself, making the whole world into what I want it to be. This is due in no small part to my mother. I can’t say it elegantly. It’s too simple. I love my mom a lot.

Someday, I will make a lot of money. I will buy my mom pretty things—I want to buy her clothes and carpets and furniture. I want her to have time to keep a garden. For now, the only thing I can do is love her a lot, and let her push me forward. The further I go, the better I am. She knows what she’s doing. It’s making me better and better—driving me faster and building me up stronger.

That’s what my mom did. Anyway, today is her birthday. I love you, Mom!

My Pretty Mommy

My Office

My Office

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!

My DaddyToday is my Daddy’s birthday!! He is a FANTASTIC number today, which is 60. It is a nice even number to help showcase his awesomeness. (Next year, when he is 61, I will say: “It is a nice odd number to help showcase his brain-damaged-ness.” My dad is so awesome, he is awesome for even AND odd numbers!)

Please read this post that I made for Father’s Day in 2005. It is all about my dad and how awesome he is. And, here are some photos from his birthday last year, when I visited him!

You should read this post, too, about me and my dad having dinner with Mom and Grandma in Dublin last autumn. It is about tape worms, and how to ambush them with sausage and a hammer, and how my dad keeps me sane.

My dad has the best songs and the best ideas. He also gives the best presents, because they come out of nowhere and make you feel the most best good in the whole world. He gave me a headlamp once. You should read about that, too. Also, here are some pictures of me wearing it.

Dad visited me in Austin in July. I got to have him here for two weeks! We ate lots of delicious food, except for when we ate lentil soup, which he likes (but I don’t). He stayed on our comfy couch and had a nice vacation. It was awesome! I want to go to Youngstown to visit him soon, but I need $250 to do it. I miss my dad. I want to watch the first season of Dr. Who with him. I think I have mostly bonded with my dad near a television, which is kind of funny and amusing. :P

Me and my Daddy!

When I was growing up, sometimes we would watch Henry V. This is one of Dad’s favorite movies. It has Kenneth Branagh in it, and was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, too. That makes it extra awesome. Dad’s favorite part is the St. Crispin’s Day speech. It’s my favorite part, too. Henry V was Welsh, like me! When I watch Henry V, it makes me feel safe and comfy and happy. (I feel that way when I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, too!) It is the same when I watch Kingdom Hospital, or read Stephen King books, or study French. Those are all because of my dad, and that makes me happy.

I have tons of pictures of my dad in my office. He is all over the place! I have a bunch of pictures with him that I like the best of anything. There is the picture of us when I was little and we had matching hair. And there is the picture of us with Mom in Apple shirts. And there is the picture of us at dinner when my Aunt Joan visited us. And there is the picture of us at the sushi restaurant when my Aunt Cheryl visited us, and a picture I took of us while we were on a train traveling across England, after our trip to Wales. And there is the set of photos I made from when we ate at a tapas restaurant in Swansea and he made lots of faces trying to get his handheld to access the internet!

Dad in Swansea

There are also lots of photos of him being proud of me when I sang in Swansea, and I like those photos a lot. (There are also more pictures of him being silly. I like those a lot, too!!)

See the awesome?? I love my dad a TON. I hope he has the bestest birthday in the whole world and I promise to come visit him soon (or fly him here to visit me, or take him to Wales or Ireland again, or have a nice picnic, or all those things!) I think he is pretty much niftiest dad ever.

Happy Birthday Daddypie!