The Hourglass

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Prudence Baird | 17 Comments

Prudence Baird paints a picture of mother and daughter—in roles rarely revealed

Two figures move as one under a hot January sun across the steaming asphalt of a medical building parking lot. This is the kind of day that brings hordes of winter refugees west following the televised New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

One of the figures is a frail old woman collapsed in a transporter wheelchair—a conveyance with four small wheels, made for transferring from place-to-place those whose self-propelling days are history. The other is a middle-aged stick figure; her veiny hands grasp the heavy rubber handles of the transporter, pushing her load gently in the unseasonably warm mid-morning air.

When the conjoined pair reaches an unwashed silver Volvo, the ambulatory woman expertly backs the transporter into the space alongside the passenger side of the car and stops. The middle aged woman—who, if you haven’t guessed by now, is me—rummages for her keys in a worn black backpack hanging by the handles of the conveyance. Read more

A Classy Lady

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Family | 12 Comments

Mireille Fabius at age 20

Mireille Fabius at age 20

Carine Fabius takes a good look at the person behind the role of mom.

It was my father’s birthday recently, and when I called to wish him a happy birthday, he went into a long and detailed account of why he and my mother are so lucky at this time in their lives. It mostly had to do with the great bunch of kids they had. (My father loves to make long, dramatic speeches with well-timed pauses for effect, and this was no different.) As he talked, I kept thinking about how lucky we kids are to have such great parents. And since I once wrote on this site about my father, I’ve been thinking about the classy lady who gave me life. You should meet her sometime!

My mother is physically gorgeous; always has been. Her signature scent is “Le” de Givenchy. She makes great cocktails. She is political, vociferously so. She thinks Haitian Vodou is for the uneducated masses, but she believes in spirit entities and channeled communication. She can cook up a mean batch of rice and beans. She belongs to a gourmet club. She is generous, generous, generous. Read more

Dear Mum

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Family | 6 Comments

A good friend’s mother died recently. I felt an immediate pang of sorrow for her, but in the days following the pang grew and deepened, and the feelings awoken by my friend’s loss have taken me into unexpected places.

My mother, who never once ventured outside England, died a few years ago. I had not lived in England for over 30 years, but ten months before her death I left the U.S. and returned “home.” I had no clear idea why I was returning. Read more