I got bent the night before Mother’s Day, hoping that I’d drunk-sleep through it all. It didn’t happen, and I spent another day surrounded by “holiday” gestures that I don’t care for. I got my Grandmother a card and a pack of Newport 100’s. Also, who keeps stealing Grandma’s Tramadols?
Last night I raised glasses and water bottles filled with sauce to my lips; it was a routined exercise. The night came to an end, and I crawled into my bed, hoping to stay sleep for the remainder of the day. I woke up around 8:00am, having to witness another motherless-Mother’s Day.
I went to the CVS on the corner of Wolfe and Fayette to get Grandma “something.” Getting people gifts, sending out texts, and making phone calls on holidays is a full time job. Also I know way too many mother’s, and it is impossible for me to get everyone a gift and to tell everyone Happy Mother’s Day. So if you’re a Mother, and we know each other, don’t take it personal, I wish you the best.
I found a nice card for Grandma. I wanted to get flowers but all of them were dead, just like this “holiday.” I needed something to add flavor to the card so I went on Glover street to the corner store and purchased Grandma a pack of Newport 100’s. Grandma doesn’t leave the house, she doesn’t wear jewelry anymore, and the clothes that I’ve bought her in the past, she doesn’t wear. All she does is glue her body to the couch while clutching a bottle of Pepsi, fastening her eyes to her Android, watching Netflix, or ESPN, with a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. Some people might say “OMG why would you buy your Grandmother cigarettes?” Because, if I would’ve gave her money, she would’ve bought them anyway, it’s what I felt like doing, and I know that it would make her happy. I walked into the house and said “Happy Mother’s Day,” handed her the goods, and just how I pictured it in my mind, her smile was longer than Wilt Chamberlain’s arms. No, her smile was longer than Wilt’s body count.
I’m not sure where you are from, but this is how we celebrate and show appreciation, around here. Drug and alcohol distribution are rituals when it comes to showing love, around here. We were raised different, around here. I remember a few years ago, I was posted on the corner of Montford and Monument; Nextel chirp clipped onto my Rock & Republic jeans and a wife beater showing my scrawny tatted up arms and chest. I was slangin dope, and the strip was bumpin like acne. It was Mother’s Day and I wanted to show my appreciation for the mothers in East Baltimore. I told my homie Roc, “Yo let’s do something nice for the muvas today. Anybody that’s coppin, let’s charge em $5 a pill instead of $10. And if any of em wanna get drunk, we can give em like $3 to a bottle or sumth’n.” Roc agreed, and that’s what we did. The smiles we put on people’s faces were unforgettable. All of the beautiful women, with their decaying teeth, bad breath, missing limbs, and raspy voices, all were telling me the same thing. “Your grandmother raised a nice young man, I know she is proud of your lor handsome-self.” Little did they know, my grandmother would’ve dug in my ass if she knew that I was out there hustlin. Nonetheless, we did what we did and called it a night.
Back to today: I was sitting on my living room couch and out of the blue, Grandma got upset, and started mumbling to herself. She then told me that someone stole her Tramadol pills from out of the living room that was for her aching leg. And along with the missing pills, “someone” took her debit card while she was asleep, and withdrew $20 and added a $3 surcharge. Whoever took the card, wasn’t even smart enough to go to the actual bank machine that the card was associated with. I swear people get stupider by the hour. It’s only two people in my household that steal, and one of them, who is my mother, is away in rehab. The jig is up! there is only one culprit left, and it is none other than my little brother. You know what though, maybe it wasn’t him. It was probably that sticky-finger-ghost who’s been haunting us for the past 20+ years. That muthafucka has probably finnessed me out of thousands of dollars worth of stuff, alone.
Seeing Grandma sad and in her feelings, always catapults me into depressive moods. While in these moods I wonder, when will the bullshit end… I bottle my frustration by displaying smiles, and of course writing. I went out to the county, crashed a bar, and had a bitter-sweet moment as I watched families enjoy this “holiday.” I took my focus off of them with an, “Excuse me, can I get a Absolut and pineapple, no ice.”
Maybe I don’t know how to celebrate Mother’s Day the “traditional” way, because people who grow up in poor conditions, are far from American’s definition of “traditional.” Or maybe because I never celebrated with my mother. Or maybe because…I don’t know. I’m still young and I’m learning.
I might not love like you, look like you, or act how you want me to, however, my emotions, feelings, and thoughts, makeup who I am.
In the movie ‘Fences,’ Rose said it best. “You can’t be nobody but who you are.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all. And to all of the children who lost their mothers to the streets, drugs, death, or whatever else, keep ya head up. We gon be alright. The broken are the more evolved.
By Kondwani Fidel