At Home With Mom

fizziesComputer and cell phone by my side, I’ve taken a long weekend and flown east to spend the weekend with my elderly and lonely Mom. As I sit here in my little office at Mom’s, she is shuffling cards at the next table over. She sits under one of her marvelous colorful and windy trees-by-the-sea paintings. It’s wild and the greens and blues and yellows in it are wild. Others have said they don’t like my Mom’s almost chartreuse green and blue living room, but I do. It looks a little worn out these days, and Mom, who matches it quite well (in more ways than one) is dressed in pretty blue slacks and sweater and fits in nicely. This is her space. I’ve been thinking as I watch her under this painting that Mom must have something very colorful and wild inside. I mean, wax bottleswho would have a chartreuse and ultramarine blue living room? I mean color is “in" now, but it wasn’t around thirty years ago. Mom has painted dozens of rather peaceful flower paintings, but her abstracts, and paintings of the sea suggest a wild side that goes beyond, I think, just the nature of the subject. That is, what could be wilder than the sea, but something about the way she recognizes it smacks of something else. She gets angry when Long Island Sound is all riled up. I’ve always thought that to be a strange reaction. I love the angry sea, the power, the beauty of it. It frightens me, so I have a healthy respect for it, but I still love it. There is something in Mom that has never been allowed to happen. It has been kept under wraps. I wish she could have let go and experienced something, I don’t know what, that might allow her now to have less anxiety.

Mom’s inner volcano comes out in strange sort of restricted ways these days. Her paintings have become greeting cards and show mostly appreciation for the world around wax lipsher, and a lot of humor. But in other ways I experience the volcano she controls underneath. It takes the form of anxiety, and a desperate attempt to control—hold on to, attempt to maintain, life now without Dad, and with a caretaker that wasn’t exactly of her choice. She’s lucky, however, as her life comes as close to her choice as life ever does. She has a hard time dealing with my life. Why don’t I choose to live hers, for instance? Why on earth do I own a real estate company in New Mexico? Why do I work so hard? Why? Why? Why? Well, I love my life Mom. It’s exciting, unpredictable, fraught with problems, negotiations, interesting people, art, politics, love and beauty too. I’m anxious and controlling like you. I’m trying to find a good safe healthy way to use or diffuse it. Mostly you do. Mostly I do. I guess that’s okay.

Lucy Noyes is co-founder of La Puerta Real Estate outside Albuquerque, New Mexico and has a million stories in her head, just waiting to get out.

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