Monday, July 30, 2012

More than a Woman: A Short Ode to My Mother (feat. Bob Dylan)

Press play.

I'll keep this ode short because there are more things to say about my mother than I can even think of right now. And self-editing is the worst. 

Today is another day that my mother must keep my family together, because if she doesn't, who will?

She moved here before she turned 23 to be with my father in Oklahoma. When I say here, I mean the U.S., sure, but I also mean a geographical location halfway across the planet from the country and culture she grew up in. Leaving her family, she also left a land soon to be torn apart by a revolution, by foreign invasion, missile misfires, cultural suppression and good ol' religious oppression of women.

Growing up, my mom wore mini skirts and knee-high boots. There's a photo I've seen of her standing in water on a shore of some sort. She wears jeans rolled up into clam diggers and a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. She stands arm in arm with several of her eight siblings.

My mother left a beautiful family (that I miss with every breath although I've only them a handful of times) to start a new family, or rather, a new branch of the Alishiri clan. And she got stuck with us --my nuclear: my dad, my sister and I.

My father's rheumatic fever as a child lead to his rheumatic heart disease now. His two mechanical valves force him to ingest handfuls of medicines every day, three times a day. I love my old man, and I don't want to see him like that. But that's the reality of poor health care and lack of health care altogether. Some people don't get to be healthy again.

Today my mother goes with Ali to Mayo Clinic for more, even more testing. This time it's because his primary doctors don't know how his medications are making his blood pressure drop very suddenly. If it drops too suddenly, his heart will stop.

Zari Alishiri is driving the four-plus hours to be with the man, the person, the human being that has been her family here from the moment she stepped off the plane. She was "fresh off the boat", married at 19 and ready to give her life a go in America. Now she's spent more time living in the U.S. than she in Iran, and you can tell by the way she gets mad when she sees some women in hijab. "We don't have to do that here," she says in some variation. "Some people are very old fashioned."

In high school when my music tastes really started to expand, I received a copy of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Volume 1-3 from the first guy I ever kissed. I don't know how many times she borrowed that set. She thought the songs were nice.
They are.

So here's to the woman that gave birth to me, let me eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while and still loves me. After all of it, after seeing the good and the bad, she's still down.

Mom, you're more than a mother to me; you're an amazing woman.

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