My mom got to Vienna last week, and she's been wearing me out. She's been dining with crown princes, brokering Austria's economic recovery, going to all nite raves and gambling in some of the most dangerous casinos in town. I've tried reasoning with her but she just won't listen. I ask her, 'Ma, what are you rebelling against?' And she says,'Whaddya got?'
But seriously folks, I'm tore up. It's not easy keeping four women happy 24-7!
The best thing, the most important thing, is that Ma is getting to know V. And she gets the full-day view. Unlike the little old ladies on the strassenbahn who cry out,'Oh, susse Maus!' when they see V., Ma knows V. isn't pure sunshine. At the end of some of the past days, Ma has had this dazed look, and said, "She's quite a handful!" Or "It's hard work, isn't it?" Last night, Ma said, "You've got two very sweet kids. And you're very sweet parents."
As for V., she finally knows she has another Oma. At first, my youngest daughter just looked at my mother and hollered, "Wer bist du? (Who are you?)" Now V. runs around the house squeaking 'Mimi!' in the same way she would squeak 'Poppy!' or 'Adinah!' That is to say, for V. my mother has become another resource for satisfying her various needs, which include play, attention and the occasional stick of chewing gum. 'Kaugummi!'
They don't understand each other so well. My mom doesn't speak any German, and V. doesn't speak particularly recognizable English, though she understands it when I speak it to her. So this unfamiliar Texan lady speaks to her and V. burbles German back, and then the Texan lady says, 'Wha-?'
maybe this is okay. It is what it is.
My mom is 76 years old. It was so brave of her to come to this strange and foreign land by herself. She flew all the way from Pantego, Texas, to see V. with her own eyes for the first time. (I mean, she wanted to see the rest of us too.) Ma's not getting any younger. I know I don't have too much time left with her.
The other night, near bed time, we were all scurrying around in our usual chaos of goofing off, brushing teeth, diaper-changing and end-of-the-day exhaustion. Suddenly, Ma was in a corner with Adinah, teaching the girl how to sew. Deanie was fascinated. And both of them were giggling and talking quick like co-conspirators. My mom was so happy to be contributing something, to be playing a role in our little nut village.
It was something to remember.