Carefree Moments with My Mother

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… Laughing together with my Mom at some stupid comedy I think we’d all — my mother, brother, sister, and I — gone to when I was visiting Memphis once fifteen years ago or so, when my mother was in her 70s I believe …

… On another visit to Memphis, when, as I recall, I’d connected some speakers to my mother’s computer so it could have sufficient volume for the Skype — or was it FaceTime? — video chats I was attempting to have with her when I was in Japan, for she’d complained about the volume being too low … the sound of my voice, when I tested the speakers, blasting out so loudly somehow put us both in stitches …

… My mother, in her 80s, recalling blowing raspberries on my stomach when I was a baby and me liking it so much; me remembering her doing that; remembering laughing and laughing as she did …


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As a child and even into my teens, I had some very romantic, idealistic notions about marriage, or, actually, more about the act of getting married, in a very superficial sort of way – a nice wedding, a beautiful bride.

Our family’s home life was – due in large part to my father’s alcoholism and manic-depressive/bipolar mood swings, with depression and rage being the worst parts of these swings for other family members – full of a great deal of stress, gloom, sadness, and emotional/psychological pain, mostly emotional though there was the sexually abusive part as well, though I repressed that part until I was an adult, so I suppose my imaginative idealism about getting married may have constituted, at least in part, some sort of attempt on the part of my mind to provide itself with an antidote to or escape from all the negativity it was confronted with in day-to-day life.

Related to this, when I was maybe around seven or eight years old, I saw an ad in Time magazine for homes in Florida that had their own docks or piers in their backyards so a family could keep its own boat right on the water, which, as I recall the drawing in the ad, seemed to be some sort of well-maintained, well-ordered man-made canal or lagoon. The drawing, as I recall, showed a family having a happy time in the backyard as the father cooked steaks or hamburgers on a charcoal grill, the mother happily readied everything on a picnic table, and the kids played some sort of outdoor game – maybe tag or something.

So I started thinking that if our family could only move to Florida – or, in a way, escape into the “Florida” of the ad itself – then we could be happy. I actually suggested this idea of moving to Florida to my father at the dinner table one evening, but my father, who was in one of his depressive funk’s that night as I recall, rejected my idea with a summary glumness, albeit for the very practical reason that his work was in Nashville (Tennessee, as a professor in the Economics Department at Vanderbilt University) and so it would be impossible for us to move to Florida, and I think that even then I may have sort of realized, just by the way my father rejected my idea – without seeming to possess any understanding or empathy for why I might be attracted to such a fantasy – that even if we somehow could move to Florida it wouldn’t be likely to change things.

Diaper Love

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A completely positive, healing memory of my mother holding my ankles together and up with one hand as she changes my diapers, taking away the used diaper, cleaning my shit off around my anus, placing a clean diaper – they were cotton back then – underneath me, fastening it with safety pins , smiling down at me the whole time as she does so, laughing, talking baby talk – which, not surprisingly, I can’t remember – to me; talking this baby talk except when, as I recall, she places and holds the safety pins between her lips, the easier to grasp them without taking her eyes off me; me smiling back up at her, giggling, laughing … my mother so loving, doing such a fantastic job of taking care of me in this respect of diaper-changing, as I believe she did at this stage of my life in most other important respects, perhaps all other important respects with the exception of protecting me from my father’s sexual abuse, which for various reasons (her economic dependence on my father; a belief deeply inculcated during her upbringing that a wife should be subservient to her husband; her lack – at this point in her life as a young mother, and considering that the possibility of intra-family CSA in a middle class family was not at that time in American society a topic of public discussion – of CSA awareness, etc.) she was unable to do …

Weather Effect

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Such a beautiful day in Tokyo!  Blue sky, nice breeze, warm sun.
And though suffering can exist in the best of weather (and happiness in the worst), for now this weather’s got me high!

Park, Morning

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Blue sky, crisp, sun warm on my face; early-blossoming variety of sakura in full bloom; as I view the blossoms, the sun full on them, an octo-and-then-some woman, back thoroughly bent and off-center, walking beneath the trees with her husband, breaks into one of this country’s most famous song-paens to sakura, her singing voice quite beautiful … Life! Life! Life!!!