Updated: Nov 11, 2018
October 03, 2018
During this weekly gathering, my guests and I watch Handmaid’s Tale. This show derives from a book by Margaret Atwood, and much to Atwood’s work is set within a dystopian world full of horrors, masochism, and a new regime that turns over all progressive ways of life. Within this bleak universe (one that does have a foothold in reality, Atwood is adamant about only depicting events that have happened in history, and happening again is not so unheard of) there a moments, and there are a few of them, that are completely beautiful and that little white light has the ability to bring you to tears.
This past week we were first introduced to the main character’s, June’s, mom. She was portrayed as an outspoken activist who knew the world was going down the tubes. Naturally, as most mother/daughter relationships, these two collided with their expectations towards June’s life. Now, this whole scene hit me really heard. June was remembering a moment with her mom, one that was carefree, raw, and beautiful. They were simply driving, June behind the wheel and Mom’s bare feet propped up on the passenger side dash fiddling with the radio. Out of all the songs that could make this moment complete and fuzzy, mom settles on Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani and sings (terribly) to her daughter. After a few seconds of being embarrassed June joins in and the moment is perfect.
I have a few precious memories like this with my mom. Ones where I was sure I would die of embarrassment only to step back, realize that this is life and throw my cares to the wind. Particularly when she was dancing. She would just be in our living room, in the backyard, at someone else’s house and a song would come on where she needed to get up and dance to it. She mastered the slow twirl, eyes closed and immersed in the song that moved her. All the way up to my teen years I was amazed at how little she cared if this appeared out of place. She wanted to dance damn it and she was going to do it. How can I not admire that looking back, why stop yourself from how you want to express your feelings at this moment just because it is unorthodox?
June narrates her memory with an important realization, one that plowed into me and still sits within my heart,
“No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But, despite everything, we didn't do badly by one another. We did as well as most. I wish my mother were here, so I could tell her I finally know this. So I could tell her I forgive her.”
This hit me like a freight train. Especially since I did not get to experience my mother as a person while I was an adult, kids and teens are selfish and categorize their parents into a specific box (a pretty shallow and uninteresting one at that). However, once that child matures they are able to look at their parents in a new light, that box gets a few more rooms and their view may change. My mom still tends to sit in the box I created for her when I was 16, I never had the chance to understand her as an individual and not just my mother. I may not be able to create an entirely new vision but I can try to piece things together to better understand her.
I unintentionally paired this heavy emotional episode with a dinner that was completely nostalgic to me. I come from a Polish and German family and it felt right to make Loblaws (potato pancakes) with Caramelized onions, Kielbasa, and paired with the most childhood flavor of all time a PB&J Cocktail. Mark prepared and apple crumble and melody came with this lovely colorful fall salad filled with beets, carrots, and apples.