Today we bring you a post by Domingo, who you can find over at his blog Not Necessarily About Dinosaurs or Anything Else. Please read, react, share, love, empathize, disagree, agree, smile, thud, and/or hug as needed.
My mom was born on November 25th, 1956. (She was celebrating her 6th birthday on the day Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby. I always liked to remind her of this fact, for which I’m pretty sure she was grateful, because EVERYBODY needs to know which presidential assassins were gunned down on their birthday, right? RIGHT?)
She had only been 17 for 3 days when I was born on November 28th, 1973. It was a Wednesday, and since my family’s heritage is primarily of Swedish, French. Irish and English stock, she naturally decided to name me Domingo. (The Spanish word for Sunday.) She probably thought it was a pretty funny joke and…I guess … years later…I do too. (Much like how a boy named Sue learned to appreciate his own namesake in that Johnny Cash song.) I can definitely say I inherited my sense of humor almost entirely from her.
In any event, I had an AMAZING childhood, and it was all mostly thanks to this woman: Kristy Colleen Center. (No I did not misspell my own mother’s name. That’s the way she liked it.) I felt a little obligated to throw the “mostly” in there. After all my dad, my grandparents, and George Lucas all had a hand in the awesomeness that was “My Childhood” as well.
As I think I’ve mentioned from time to time in previous posts, I was sort of a “privileged kid.” and by privileged kid I mean a spoiled brat. My mom loved me more than anything in the world, and she would bend over backward to see that I lived happily and comfortably. Any trip to the grocery store resulted in some new addition to my growing collection of future collector’s items, whether in the form of a bag of plastic dinosaurs, a comic book. or a pack of Empire Strikes Back trading cards, I was never denied at least one item of my own choosing. Not only that I could usually be certain that there would be some delicious treats in the grocery bags being brought back home that were just for me.
For the first ten years of my life, we mostly lived with my Grandparents, who also helped to provide for me. My mom worked full time in a nursing home which meant I didn’t get to see her that much, and since Grandpa also worked full time installing carpets, it was mostly my Grandma who was my caretaker through the vast majority of my earliest years. My grandparents were also very good to me, but there was nobody on earth I loved more than my mom. I was sad when she had to leave for work, and it was exciting when I heard the crunch of the gravel in the driveway later on at night that meant she was home. Mom and Grandpa both worked hard to make sure I lived happily. We weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but if there was ever any hardship, I certainly didn’t know about it. The significance of this never really hit me until I was much older.
When it comes right down to it, I was kind of a little shithead. I threw tantrums on the rare occasion when I didn’t get things exactly the way I wanted them. The number of times that I was going to “run away,” “never talk to my mom again,” or “hold my breath until I died,” is incalculable but did I ever actually have any reason to be mad at her? Doubtful. And did I ever actually go through with any of these things? No.
The other infuriating thing I would do from time to time was play the “I Want/ I Don’t Want Game.” Throughout my adult life I have been haunted by a particularly vivid memory of me doing this. I was probably around 7 years of age. I was laying in bed reading and as mom walked through the hall outside my room I asked for a glass of orange juice. She of course brought it to me. I then said I didn’t want it, and she took it away. Then I whined about it and said I wanted a glass of orange juice. This went on for some time until she finally stormed out, practically in tears, throwing the final glass of orange juice (that I probably never actually wanted) down the sink. WHY DID I DO THINGS LIKE THAT!?!?! (I don’t know.)
In spite of isolated incidents such as these I was always very close to my mom while growing up. Even through my “Teen Angst” days, during which I was mostly a self righteous, entitled little prick, she stuck it out and gave me nothing but love, kindness and understanding, though I no doubt made life very difficult for her from time to time. When I got old enough to move out on my own, she did everything she could to help me. I specifically remember a time when I was 19 and had moved up to East Lansing with my friend Randy, that she drove all the way up there to that alien town, that she had probably never been to before, just to get me, drive me all the way back home for some reason ( no idea what) and then back to East Lansing ( a total double round trip of at least 200 miles) WITH several bags of groceries for me and Randy that she bought. Because she loved me. And she loved anyone I was friends with, just because they were my friend.
Throughout my early 20’s I moved in and out of my parent’s house (which had at one time been my grandparent’s house,) several times. My mom never cared. Never judged. I think, in retrospect, she was actually glad to have me back. It’s been close to 20 years since the last time I did that. My own life eventually stabilized and I moved out for the last time sometime near the end of the 20th century, though of course I didn’t realize it at the time; having yet at that time, to develop my precognitive abilities.
My Mom’s been gone almost six years now. When I found out she was dying, in March of 2009, I told myself I was doing my best to see her as much as I could, but it really wasn’t true. I was caught up in my own life. I had just gotten a new job. A new apartment. I had expenses. No car of my own. There were friends’ vehicles I could borrow, but gas was expensive. (Almost twice as much as it is now) and the trip to visit her was about 80 miles round trip. I think I went to see her 4 maybe 5 times from the time I found out in March that she was dying until June when she died. I could have went more often. Part of the reason was because I didn’t think I had time or the finances, but truth be told, those sorts of arbitrary details can usually be worked out. Mostly it was because I didn’t want to believe she was really going to die so I trivialized it, which is the way I handle everything I don’t want to actually deal with.
Now I have to spend the rest of my life dealing with the fact that my mom may have thought I was abandoning her when she was on her death bed, though I actually doubt that was the case. Mostly she probably just wondered where I was. What I was doing. She was always much more concerned with my happiness than her own suffering.
But this post was never meant to be depressing or morbid. It was supposed to be about how awesome my mom was! (And she REALLY was!)
She let me do what I wanted!
She let me eat what I wanted!
She encouraged me to create stuff!
She always laughed at my horrible jokes!
She read all my horrible stories!
She bought me stuff!
She let me read her horror books, as long as she decided they didn’t have too much sex or swearing in them!
She took me to movies!
She loved me!
Happy Mother’s Day.