I don’t think my mom reads this blog, because she’s easily offended by words like “fuck” and really doesn’t like much hip-hop beyond 2Pac and Nelly. For some reason, Country Grammar is her shit. I used to try to get her to move on, but the joy on her face when “Ride Wit Me” comes on is priceless. Whenever I’m visiting, I try to school her on new music. I play her some new song and say, “You know who this is?” Her response is always, “Is it Nelly?” Ugh. Shoutout to my mom though. If you’re reading this, I love you.
Hit the jump for a couple of songs that will always remind me of Mother’s Day…
When I was growing up The White Album was one of the most heavily played albums in my house. I always thought this song “Julia” was one of the more boring songs on the album. I preferred to dance around like a little asshole to “Bungalow Bill” on repeat. Some things will never change. My mom always used to tell me that John wrote this song for his mom. I never really got it, but from what I’ve come to learn, John’s mom (Julia) died when he was 17 and this song is a message to her, telling her that he’s fallen in love with Yoko. I’m sure you can find all kinds of dissections and explanations, but I was not the smartest kid on the block, so to me, this song will always just be a song that John made for his mom.
The Beatles – “Julia”
My mom wasn’t really close with her mother for many years throughout her adult life. She’d visit her every now and then, but my grandmother was never the type of woman to go out of her way to be a part of my mom’s life or the lives of my sister and me. I never thought about it much, and kind of just accepted it as normal, but as my grandmother got older and started having health issues I could tell how upset it made my mom.
My grandpa had died when I was young and my grandma lived alone in the same house she had been living in for decades. She was very stubborn about leaving, but after the health issues became serious, my mom finally convinced her to move closer. In the final year of her life, my grandmother spent time with her daughter every day. It was kind of a bittersweet reconnection – everyone knew that the time was limited, but the moments they shared in that final year seemed so precious.
I remember visiting home from college and seeing my mom and her mom sitting outside on lawn chairs, reading together. It’s one of those moments that made me see my grandmother in a different light. You ever know somebody your whole life, and then all of a sudden, some little snapshot of a moment changes your whole perception? All at once, it hit me, how my mom must have felt to finally have her mom there, with her, sitting outside in the sun, reading. In that moment, I saw my mother as a daughter.
My grandma passed away, and the next time I visited home, Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” came on in the car. It had probably been a couple of months since the death, but when this song came on my mom started tearing up. I asked her why and she just referred to the words “Sail on silver girl, sail on by,” saying that it makes her think of her mother’s passing. I still get goosebumps every time I hear those lines, and no matter what that song means to millions of other people, it will always make me think of my mother and grandmother, reading outside in the sun.
Johnny Cash – “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
I really had no intention of getting so personal about all of this. I almost went down the route of a “Dear Mama” + “Hey Mama” combo post, but this seemed more honest. I know everyone’s story is different and for some of you, this holiday might just be a bitter reminder of the lack of a relationship with your mother. No matter what the situation, it’s probably something worth reflecting on once in a while. If you’ve got any songs that remind you of your mom or anything to say, feel free to share in the comment box.
Happy Mother’s Day.