“Ma, sit down!”

If it wasn't so late I would photoshop my mother and Ciocia Felicia's faces over Laurel and Hardy.

My mother would coal mine if you gave her a pickaxe. Actually, she owns a pickaxe. Probably, the only thing stopping her from coal mining is not having an elevator shaft to bring her a mile below the kitchen floor. My mom is not afraid of hard work and she has the hands to show for it.

In my imaginary mineshaft, I picture her doing a little vacuuming and bringing the miners some ham sandwiches before she picks a good spot in the solid earth and chips away. Black lung, be damned.

I have seen her in action with the pickaxe. Not coal mining, but digging up a gigantic tree root and stump in the backyard with Ciocia Felicia. Did I mention that they both have heart conditions and at the time were in their 60s and 70’s respectively? Snow shoveling is also high on their list of fun and relaxing activities. There is particular tell all excitement in the house afterward if the snow was wet and heavy. Even when my brother hired a snowplow to come and take care of the driveway, my mother grew impatient waiting one morning and shoveled anyway.

I’m always trying to get my mom to relax.

“Do you always have to work so hard?” I ask.
“Yes.” She nods.

We have tried to pamper her, usually against her will. Like the time we brought her in for a French manicure for my brother’s wedding: our great idea.

“How people work like this?” she said, tapping the acrylic white tips of her fingers on the counter. She grabbed things like she didn’t have opposable thumbs. So much for future manicures for Christmas.

“Ma, you need to relax.” I say.
“Relax?” she repeats, as if I just spoke in Mandarin.
“I take nap.”
“A NAP! You need a vacation. A massage. Go out to a restaurant!” I plead.
“I am not that kind of people.” She replies.

And I realize I am that kind of people. Stress? Rewards. Working hard? Rewards. Things go my way? Rewards. Things go badly? Rewards. This seems like a fine way to live if you ask me. After all, life can be long and more so, too short.

7 comments on ““Ma, sit down!”

  1. Anne Zimmerman says:

    I love your words, my friend. LOVE. another cup of coffee on a sunday morning thoroughly enjoyed. xxoo annie

  2. Genoefa says:

    Odpoznaję cocię Halinę i Felę.

  3. liz says:

    I think we wouldn’t enjoy our leisure time half as much if we didn’t have our parents’ generation’s work ethic to compare it to!

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      So true Liz! I stand on the shoulders of my parents. The view up here is pretty amazing. I think it feels good to them when their kids can do things they could not, doesn’t mean there isn’t a little tension along the way!

  4. Young B. Kim says:

    My mom does something similar. She can’t just sit down and enjoy a movie. Within 10 minutes she’ll get up and start cleaning the floor, or organize the fridge. Well, except when the Korean version of Dancing with the Stars is one. She can’t miss that.

    • Jannett Matusiak says:

      Young, I wonder if we put our mothers in one room, if they’d have a clean-off? Then I imagine they’d sit down to watch TV. My mother and Aunt often watch the Spanish channel, so I think they would be very amicable in choosing to watch the Korean version of Dancing with the Stars.

  5. Majka says:

    Jannett! I absolutelly love your blog from now on!
    Wow! what a great sense of humor! As I was reading about our familly, I felt as I was there, just next to you, seeing your mum and Ciocia Fela! Thanks for that. You’ve got an incredible feeling for calling the things as they are to called.
    I can’t wait to read more…

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