Written on June 5, 2012
today is election day. or, as i like to call it, the real mother’s day. election day will forever be associated in my mind with my mother. a staunch liberal to the very tips of her fingers and toes, she calls me frequently to make sure i’m watching rachel maddow, even though i continually remind her that i don’t have broadcast cable anymore. growing up my parents had a TV in every room, all of them on all of the time, even in the bathroom, even while they slept. now when i visit my mother she has MSNBC on in three rooms at once.
my mother has often returned from a dinner party to exclaim “can you believe i had to sit next to a republican? oy. . .”
making sure i am informed – and, she stresses, informed enough to vote democrat – seems at times to be her life’s mission. i got an email from her this morning at 8:24am. my mother never turns on her computer at 8:24am, and as she watches the news late into the night, almost never calls before 9am. her email said simply:
have you chosen who you’re going to vote for today? do you want some suggestions?
embarrassingly, despite my mother’s best concerted efforts, at 8:24am this morning i was still unaware that it was election day. like many voters i’m often more caught up in the difficulties of my own life than in the difficulties of the lives of politicians. like many, i pay attention to the big election every four years, and sometimes tune out the smaller local contests, ballot measures, propositions and whatnot that happen in the meantime. with apologies to my mother, i am sometimes a bad citizen.
i was surprised to get an email from her so early in the morning, but immediately i felt very proud of her. the truth is that even though her politics can sometimes make for uncomfortable situations i’m really glad she’s there sending me articles, calling random people in iowa for the obama campaign, keeping me (and anyone she’s in line with at starbucks) up to date on whatever is happening on MSNBC. i’m proud of her because i recognize her love of politics for what it is. while she loves the theater, the spectacle and the often unintentional comedy of it all, she also loves politics because of the power it has to positively affect the world we live in and the world we leave behind.
i took these pictures of my mother on the actual mother’s day that everybody else celebrated, may 13th. i was surprised she let me do it as she is, like me, much more of a behind-the-scenes sort of person. i’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the photographs since. i knew she would probably hate them, in the same way that most everybody who has any sense hates pictures of themselves. but with her email this morning, with the years of her cumulative insistent (nagging?) voice in my head, today – election day – finally seemed like the real mother’s day that needed acknowledgement. she will see them here for the first time, i’m sure, and may be horrified. i wanted her to know, though, without a doubt, that the lessons she tries to teach me are absorbed and understood and listened to and appreciated.
so, i’m sorry, mom. it’s the best way i know to acknowledge the things you work so hard to impart. today i voted, because of you. in doing so i realize that for the rest of my life every vote i cast will in some part have your voice and your energy behind it.
if it makes you feel any better, i voted democrat. that makes up for posting these pictures, right?
Filed in: family.