Moms and Mermaids

Saturday, May 7, 2011

First of all, if you haven't seen the film "Mermaids" (or haven't seen it in years) go immediately and do so.
This movie hits me right to the core.  It gives me such incredible and sweet nostalgia that I can't believe I wait about every five years or so to watch it again.

When I caught it on cable this last time, I had to TiVo it for just the right moment when I could sink into my sheets with a cup of coffee, (why are stolen mid-day movies in bed so blissful?) a bag of  Newman-O's and the iphone turned OFF.  Isn't it crazy how certain movies reach you in a way that other's don't?
Perhaps because I'm reminded of my own blossoming adolescence, hormones and emotions raging (that Winonoa Ryder's "Charlotte" displays to perfection) where the struggles of becoming a woman are reluctantly tied into the girl you are, the woman you want to become, and the mother who's leading the way.
I can say with an open sadness that the relationship I had and still continue to have with my mother is lacking in a kind of understanding between two women that I have always desired. Certain parts of my upbringing were beautiful, but all too often, and for several reasons... they were not.  And just like Charlotte, struggling to coexist with someone she might not have chosen, would she have had the choice, she continues to do her damn-dest at fighting to break free, be nothing like, and effing up royally in the process.
But looking back now I realize that I was the one who didn't understand so much of it.  How could I have? I was ill equipped in my youth to fully comprehend the complexities of womanhood. And by the time I got here myself, I had a whole slew of my own issues to deal with. (Why were we always in such a rush to get here?)

My mother was just a girl herself (she was 24 when she had me) searching for her very own womanhood and happiness, stuck in a beautiful shell with a broken heart, broken dreams, and a whole gaggle of children.

I can't watch Cher in this film without thinking of my own mother - the similarities in personality conflict between mother and daughter are spot on, not to mention my mother could have quite possibly been a lookalike twin stand-in for Cher. (I haven't mentioned Christina Ricci as the adorable baby sister Kate - so darling and reminds me of my younger twin sisters I looked after in the exact same way...)
Just like most Hollywood endings, these lonely girls find the good man who makes everything alright, and I have to admit, I've purchased a ticket for that cinematic fantasy from time to time... but the reality staring me back in the face is my very own little girl and how I consciously and openly want teach her so much more than that.

I want to teach her that I'm here no matter what, no matter what failure or fault or difference may come between us. 

I'm here. I'm never going anywhere. 

I want to teach her that finding a good man is a gift, but it doesn't complete her existence. 

I want to teach her to stand up for who she is, and what she feels. 

Even if those feelings and thoughts are different than mine. 

Especially if they are. 

I want to teach her to be open. To pay attention. To say sorry. To listen. 

And to forgive. 

I want to find that tiny spark of the woman she dreams of being, and help her find the most peaceful, slow-paced path at getting there. (A mom can dream, can't she?)

But more than anything... 

More than anything,  I want her to know and feel that she is loved. 


For Stella, and the woman she was named after. xx

All images but the last via imdb & google image search