Monday, March 06, 2006

Mom's visit to whoville

My mom was in whoville for a few days so I've been busy doing all the things we usually do when she visits. Mostly she vanity shops because she never gets a chance to shop in Montreal. Without getting into a long story it's enough to say that several years back she was in a serious accident and her leg was so badly damaged that she spent months in hospital and now finds it difficult to get around. She walks without a cane, but her leg and foot get tired or achey easily. We live close to a mall and it's perfect for her. Every visit we make a trip to her favorite stores and she gets what she needs and is thrilled. After the shopping is out of the way, we usually just spend time around the house, cook, eat, watch a movie maybe. Now that I think about it she usually comes for an event, a birthday, a graduation, a play or whatever. This time however we decided to go to the gallery without knowing what exhibitions were on. We just got on the streetcar (another treat for her. She loves taking the streetcars because it reminds her of a time when Montreal had streetcars. She often tells the story of when Montreal first switched to buses how the diesel fumes made her feel sick because she wasn't use to them). Anywho...she's an artist (not professionally, but art has always been central in her life) and knew David Milne's work which is being presented at the gallery now. From the first painting on, I was completely taken with his work. I fell in love with certain watercolours.

His growth as an artist and the techniques he devised as he progressed was all so interesting for me. It has been a while since I'd been to the gallery and it was fabulous to go with someone who has a real understanding of painting.

We had planned to see the Gehry exhibit as well, but mom found the Milne was enough. She does tire pretty easily after standing for so long. We did manage to take a break and sit on one of those benches in the middle of the room and take in some of the paintings from a distance. The biopic offered was awful and offered nothing. It took away from the brilliance of his work and made it seem less somehow, although the filmmaker certainly did intend to do that. The film just had a elementary school "education film" feel to it. Unfortunately, the film did ruin some of the exhibit for me. It took a moment to reconnect with the paintings themselves. We were at the end of the show by then so we headed out back into the crisp air and sunshine, back on the streetcar, back home.

I wouldn't say that my relationship with my mother is the easiest. We are pretty close and I do respect her and appreciate all that she has done for me and continues to do for me as a supportive parent. She did most of the parenting for most of my childhood. She's always supported my choices in my life with my education, my career, my relationships, as long as it meant I was happy. Support was never an issue. We've been close, distant and close again. We've always been in touch and I've always had problems with my conflictual feelings for her. We both change and evolve as people and I think I find myself searching for ways to maintain the best of our relationship. The mother/daughter relationship is a continual negotiation, but I think this is how it is and how it should be. I would rather have negotiation than patterns of negative behaviour that continue on and never are addressed by one party or the other. I would rather negotiate my place in the relationship than not have one at all.

I sound so mature about it all don't I? Don't be fooled. This doesn't mean that I don't fear becoming more like my mother as I age. Who wants to turn into their parent? This also doesn't mean that we don't have our moments of horrible tension and conflict. This doesn't mean that we spend our time together as if it's a precious moment. Because the dynamic is not simple I like the idea of negotiation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've just learned how to use this blog properly. So I thought as the "mom" in question I might make a few comments. Firstly, I learned more about my daughter through this blog, not just this entry, but all, than I do in conversation. I suppose part of it is we don't want to worry each other, and sometimes approach problems with care. I am somewhat in awe of my daughter because of the skills she possesses that didn't come from me, and perhaps I wish I possesed. I've just written a play that will be in the Fringe in Montreal and I sent it to her for help. I am indebted to her for her clarity of explanation and directness with me. It's changed my way of structuring everything. The other thing about my daughter, is no matter what is going on, I always feel she's on my that I mean, she really cares about what's affecting me in my life. And as I come from a different generation, at one point a person with a very feminist agenda, I've learned, partly from her how to stand back and rationalize. So, thanks to you daughter dear. Going to watch the NCAA basketball tonight, so must get my marking done. Talk to you soon.