May is motherhood memoir month

Being Called Dottie

Escape from the murder hornets with me for a moment on this first Monday of May during the sequester and let’s write something fun.

Does life feel crazy? Do you have a crazy mother? All good subject matter…

Last spring I wrote this:

Two men sitting on a bench waiting to play pickle ball greet me as I walk up.

You look like Dottie, one says.

I was thinking the same thing, says the other.

I smile, then laugh. That’s my mother’s name, I say, surprised by the amusement in my voice, the lightness in my heart. She died about six months ago, I add.

Oh, I’m sorry. We’re in a group now, all heading out onto different courts calling for players.

Well, we all die some time, I say, wanting to keep it light. I don’t want to be comforted by these men I don’t know. Actually, I don’t feel in need of comforting at all.

I lost my mother years ago, but for the first year I just couldn’t stop thinking about her, one of the men says. The first year’s the hardest.

I do think about my mother much more than I did when she was alive, but I attribute this to the memoir I’m writing on her death and our lives as mother and daughter, my life as a mother of three daughters.

Later, after some fun games of pickle ball in this new outdoor venue, I leave about the same time as these men, who I never end up on the same court with.

I think we’re just gonna call you Dottie, the one man says, and the other agrees.

Great, because every woman wants to be mistaken for her mother, I say with some humor. You know, in the UK “dotti” means crazy… And it fits.

Well, the other one says, we’re learning lots about you- now we know you had a crazy mother.

Good-bye Dottie.

I walk to my car feeling comforted by the humor and laughing at myself for how crazy good it feels to be alive by any name. And still be in the game.

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