Her granddaughter Jessica calls her “the old bid” and “cropsy.” My sister Lani and I call her hus (short for hussy because no matter where we are, if there’s a man in the room he’ll end up isolating and talking to mom); we all call her “Two-Two,” short for “Twoyee,” how a childhood friend with a speech impediment pronounced “Suzie.” When Robert, my stepfather, bought a boat, he christened it Twoyee. Twoyee is a person, my mom’s three-year-old alter ego when she’s feeling ornery. My brother Stephen calls her (not my mom, but Twoyee) Two-chia, not because of the Chia pet bushy blonde hair that makes it thankfully so easy to find her in a crowd, but to keep her on par with two of Robert’s Australian cousins, Lucia. Although Twoyee turned three for the 67th time this year, mom turned 70, and it was quite a celebration. Robert got a box at the Phillie’s game and my mom’s two sisters came, some old friends, all her kids and grandkids, and even the Phanatic showed up to wish her a happy one. When entered the box you’d think George Clooney would have walked in naked the way everyone was carrying on. My Aunt Darth–60–jumped up and down like a crying Beatles teenager. My Aunt Catherine–78–pried the Phanatic off my mother and inserted herself between them, hugging him ferociously. It was hilarious. Which brings me to the real point of all of this: age.
My mother is now 70, but in spirit she is ageless. I say this, because sometimes she really is 70, walking slow, forgetting things, not hearing us to the point of “oh, Jesus Christ, never mind.” Sometimes I have no idea what age she is, blaring Jay-Z out of her car, ziplining in Hawaii, going crazy for Taylor Hicks. Yes, the Taylor Hicks thing makes her seventy, but she looks fifty, so in his crowd she looks amazingly out of place. I’ve inherited my youthfulness from her. People are usually stunned to find out how old I am (thanks mom for the staying out of the sun lectures and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize), but inside I am a thirteen-year-old girl, still decorating my office with Winnie the Pooh, giggling in amazement when a man makes some unexpected flirty flirty. I’ve seen so much, been through so much, but like mom, somewhere in a tiny space on the inside I am completely innocent and untouched by the world’s crap. Although this space makes up maybe 10% of who I am, I am so in touch with it, some people actually think I am that naive, carefree and happy. My mom has that spot, too. Only close friends and relatives know the struggles my mom has been through, the pain, the life lessons crammed into seventy years. My mom goes through life quick with a smile and a dance, making song lyrics out of sentences, laughing at fart and dick jokes while still managing to blush. Hus, you’re not fooling anyone over here.