They come in different shapes and sizes, and they smell differently, and they all have different ways of showing their witchcraft slash love (it’s a thin line) but they will always haunt a woman until the moment she becomes one herself and inevitably joins the cult. We call them Mother dearest.
In my case, it’s mothers, as in plural, as in 3 of them.
I have Mommy who gave birth to me, raised me to become the person I am and inherited to me the female genes of stubbornness and compulsive obsession. The Queen Bee of my angst and keeper of my sanity, Mommy is the physical form of the term ‘outside the box’. She is either a super genius or retarded, I can never tell, which is always the case with these folk (i.e. Einstein and Mr. Rogers).
Conversation in her household goes from world issues to condoms to religion to dandruff to natural laxatives. Everything in life has a meaning for her, and all things have a spirit. She’s like Pocahontas but with a crew cut, John Lennon glasses and nasal congestion.
See, Mommy flies all around the world and helps people build cities and hospitals and has holidays with scary politicians and world leaders and artists but she still manages to take the bus everyday to work and back, which I never understood considering the standards of transportation in Jakarta. She owns no maid, no edible food in the fridge except for the can of cheese (yes, there IS such a thing as cheese in a can) that has been sitting in there since before The Passion of the Christ phenomenon, and no real shampoo in the bathroom. Speaking of which, she never closes the bathroom door when she does her toilet business in the morning so everyone in the house can hear the heavenly proof of her laxative usage. She doesn’t give a shit about taking a shit. Or about anything at all really, except that she’s actually doing something to change the world so nobody can give her shit either. It’s hard work having her as a role model and mother because she’s superhuman. And I’ve only inherited one fourth of the super.
Then there’s Bunda, who is my step-mom, married to my father, total opposite of Mommy and would fit very well in suburbia. She nurtures like Mother Bear and could give Bree Van de Kamp a run for her money. She’s a country sweetheart and supposedly comes from a respected lineage. My father chose the right woman to get him through his midlife crisis.
When she’s around, my father’s house is always coordinated and organized. The fridge is full, the thin wrinkly soap bar in my bathroom is replaced with sweet smelling bath foam, the rooms are ventilated in the morning and the whites stay white and the colors stay colorful. I can never hear what she’s saying because she talks in a polite whisper, no doubt the result of her ‘respected’ upbringing, but I always show her I appreciate her by nodding a lot. It was kind of weird when she suddenly brought home durian pancakes (why, Lord, why?) for me late one night and upon seeing the puzzled look on my face she said, “But you nodded yes when I asked you about it yesterday.”
I will never become a woman like her, I don’t think, nor do I aspire to be, but she tames a bit of the Courtney Love in my blood and that’s something.
And last but not least, there’s Ibu. Gave birth to my significant other and is a mixture of both Mommy and Bunda. She treats me like a friend yet like a daughter, a feat not easy to make for a mother.
Ibu is the epitomy of a MILF. She was a runway model back then when the grass was green and the girls were pretty. Being a world connoisseur and a former big city socialite, she always has tales to tell, and as a widower, she relates very well to my abandonment issues without all the drama, which is comforting. She laughs at my dirty jokes and makes jokes and likes to think up random inventions, like her patent pending idea of a titanium enforced fold-out laptop table that keeps the air flowing between your legs thus eliminating the discomfort of sweaty thighs. Brilliance.
Ibu shares a lot. From her Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails albums to her life stories to her latest issue of Vogue magazine, which is always nestled in her Bottega Veneta bag next to her Virginia Slims and Chanel shades. We wear the same size shoes but I could never fill hers.
These three women are what help me cope with being an insecure 23-year-old. They get me through the day without the waking-up-with-a-pounding-hangover side effects (no downside, yay!). They make me and break me but they will never shake me because if life is a gamble, then honestly, I have got the best deal in the house.
Tags: mother dearest