Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Mothers of Mothers

Today was Mother's Day. It's a day I don't think about much in the commercial-sort of way. I don't do baskets or extravagant dinners or go to a spa. What I do is say a little prayer of thanks for my mother, without whom I wouldn't be the person, or the mother, that I am. Since I think I turned out pretty well, I'd say she did a good job.

She also took my son to spend the night with her on Saturday night, leaving Darling Man and me to be people other than parents for a night. We are always so enmeshed with parenthood - after 8 years, sometimes I wonder if we have anything to talk about when there is no child involved. We do. As it turns out, we revert to pre-baby people. We called out for Italian food and watched World Combat League Playoffs on DirecTV (I actually picked this package specifically for that channel!). It was a quiet night alone at home, celebrating us.

Darling Man had to go to work Sunday morning, so I had the whole morning to myself. I drank my cup of coffee, read the paper, watched some bad movies on tv... then got up and tidied up the downstairs because my in-laws were coming for Sunday dinner. It was FIL's birthday this week (he turned 80) and of course it was Mother's Day for MIL, so we invited them over for fried chicken, real mashed potatoes, steamed zuchinni and had angelfood cake with strawberries, guava jelly and whipped cream for dessert.

My brother Matt delivered Z-boy back to the house after having lunch with the parents and Z, then went on to whatever he had going on today. Brothers John and James both called to wish me a happy Mother's Day. They're so sweet.

Since our diningroom table hasn't made it over from the old house yet, we ate out on the back porch and the smoke from the forest fires was incredibly dense. It wasn't so bad when we started out, but as dinner went on, it got thicker and thicker. We adjourned to the house soon after eating, but for me, the smoke had done its damage - I felt quite nauseous. Finally, hours later, I'm starting to feel normal again. I do wonder though... if I were still smoking, would it have bothered me as much? Probably.

Z-boy was ready to go do something, which we normally encourage, but with all the smoke outside, we were pretty much confined to the house. We watched some tv, Z and Darling Man played video games, and I came upstairs to get on the computer. We have another TV up here and I was flipping through the guide when I came across "Saturday Night Fever."

I have never seen this movie. About all I've ever seen of it was the bridge scene where the guys were faking out Annette by "jumping off" the bridge. Not much to go by. When I was in high school, I dated a guy who absolutely adored this movie. He had the soundtrack and it was always played in the background when we were on the phone or in the car. Perhaps this made me a bit rebellious (one can only take so much of the Bee Gees in one sitting) and I never actually saw the movie. Until today.

I won't bore you with a rehash. It's quite dated, but when I was in high school, all the girls had hair like that, all the boys wore pants like that and they taught "The Hustle" in gym class. Wide lapels and polyester print shirts were all the rage. Fun to watch.

It was interesting seeing John Travolta young again. And it made me think of another mother. One who isn't here anymore, but is still missed. My grandmother was a HUGE John Travolta fan.


This is Grandma. She died in August of 2001 at age 84. Several years before she died, we went to a movie together - Michael. She sat at the edge of her seat and was totally absorbed with this movie. Afterwards, over ice cream, she sighed. "I just love the way that man moves."

Huh? I looked around but didn't see any men... well, none that were moving.

"What was that, Grandma? What man?"

"John Travolta. He's so beautiful, but I just love when he dances!"

So what was Grandma's first JT experience?

Was it Saturday Night Fever? Grease? Look Who's Talking?

JT Saturday Night Fever

JT Grease

JT Talking

He dances in all of those.

JT and Diana

Was it the dance with Diana that captured her imagination?

JT Michael

I already knew she loved Michael - but I didn't know why. Was it her hope that an angel would come when it was time to take her to the next place? Or was it merely that this good-looking guy who could dance was hanging out with Jean Stapleton and danced with her at the end of the movie?

Or was it, as I have come to believe, that John Travolta had beautiful blue eyes and a dimple in his chin like this man?


This is my grandfather. He was a musician and a sail-maker and swept my grandmother off her feet when she was a young lady. It didn't work out and they divorced when my mother was an early teen. But Grandma never remarried. I don't know if she ever even went out again. Not that there weren't offers. But she didn't accept them. See, I think that in spite of all that happened, she still loved my Grandfather, and her heart wouldn't let someone else in.

Not long before my grandfather died, he and his current wife came to visit. Grandpa had had a series of strokes by then and didn't know exactly who my grandmother was. He did know that she was a nice lady though, and turned to his wife and said he thought they should go live with her. Grandma remained remarkably composed, while Grandpa's wife gently explained that it wasn't possible.

After that dinner, I think Grandma felt a little more at ease with herself. More sure that she'd made the right decision after all. But it's hard to let go of a love you've held on to for so long. And this was when she confessed her enjoyment of John Travolta.

JT Hairspray

In a way, I'm glad she didn't have to see this.

I miss you, Grandma. Happy Mother's Day!


Kim Ayres said...

It was Mother's Day in the UK back in March.

My wife has grown a liking for John Travolta that she never had when he was younger. And I think it was "Michael" that did it. She too kept saying about the way he moved.

I kept thinking of that point in the movie where he's in the bar and starts dancing and all the women flock and move around him while all the guys are scratching their heads wondering what this middle-aged, slighly overweight guy has got that they haven't.

Sayre said...

The joy of life, Kim. Even though he's not alive, he enjoys life. He ate pie with relish, danced with joy and fought the bar patrons earnestly. I have a feeling that my grandmother wasn't always very happy and she loved seeing "Michael" so immersed.

nikki said...

John Travolta kind of grosses me out.

I never met my mother's father. He died when my mom was 11. My grandma never really dated or remarried. Grandpa John was the only man for her. I wish I would have had the chance to have known him.

Me said...

That is lovely.
I never met my mom's father either. He died when my mom was a teen. And my grandma never married either. I think like your grandma, she held on to a love.
Lovely post Sayre.
And belated Happy Mother's Day!!

Anonymous said...

oh, I had only seen pictures of him when he was much younger (your grandfather, my great-uncle). I never noticed how much he looked like my Grandma. They have the same eyes.

He got me in trouble at Thanksgiving Dinner one year when I was very small, because somebody was whistling at the table and my parents assumed it was me. Apparently, I'm not the only one in the family who could whistle sideways.


Jocelyn said...

OMG, you're killing me with this stuff about your grandparents. How wonderfully told this all is.

You're a lovely person, for sure.

ablondeblogger said...

Awwww, Sayre, that is so sweet. True love never dies!

ablondeblogger said...

Happy belated Mother's Day, btw. :)

Oh, The Joys said...

Happy Belated Mother's Day to you Sayre!

(I want a picture of my pal your real mom!)

Stephanie said...

Oh, I run hot and cold with John Travolta. Sometimes I really like him; sometimes he just creeps me out.

But I loved the story about your grandparents.