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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mom Is NOT My Real Name!

Wait. It IS, though. Isn’t it? I mean, who was María Picasso y López —Pablo’s mother! Pauline Einstein? Maria Magdalena Keverich Beethoven? Amalié Freud? Aside from “the mom of,” they were nobody! Right?

This conundrum was staring me full-face when my kids were seven and ten and I felt: they’re completely using me up. What do you say when your kid comes down with head lice? “Take a seat, schatzie, I’m writing the 9th Symphony”? Nope. For all intents and purposes the bouncing ball stops at you, Mom.

So there I was, struggling to find Tina amid the cries of “Mom Mom Mom!” ... and, by the way, “wife wife wife” and “daughter daughter daughter” and “daughter-in-law daughter-in-law daughter-in-law” …

I was losing my mind.

Somewhere in the middle of some night, or while riding a bus, or jogging around the reservoir, I scratched out a lyric, my own cris de coeur: “There’s somebody else I used to be, with the name my mama gave to me.”

It stayed a scratch, a fragment, for three years, until it turned into this song in 2000. It kicked off my second Motherhood CD.

I love this recording of it — me playing on Bobby Short’s piano, and Everett Bradley, singer/songwriter extraordinaire, giving me his best Chaka Kahn vocals on “I used to be...” “Cleaning out lunchboxes” never sounded so sexy. Even the sous-chef cutting the special Mother’s Day filet mignon is boogeying in his tall white toque.

Although Bobby Short could have never, ever, sat at that piano and wailed out: “Mom Is NOT My Real Name!,” I’ll bet he would have dug how hard we were swinging it.

Come to think of it, Picasso’s mom — I mean, Maria — would have dug it too.

And let’s be real — I’ll give you one guess how I (proudly) sign my emails to my kids these days.

Love, Mom


Anonymous Barbara said...

Well said, as always, Tina.
Yes, you are Tina to me!

April 29, 2010 at 4:19 PM  

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