My Mom, the Radio in My Life

Alpha with her mom

You are a radio.

What bandwidth? I say FM – all the FM stations rolled into one.

Like alternative pop, you try to resist the time, although you would eventually adapt to what sounds good. If you listen to Eraserheads, I bet you would say they sound like The Smiths. You would resist them on impulse, but I know that ultimately you would give credit where credit is due. Pretty much like how plates had to fly and tongues had to cross before you accepted a beau who was 17 years my senior.

You can easily abandon all resistance, too, and simply go with the ebb and flow. When the rhythm is right, you groove to the music. You spare me wary questions like, “Where have you been? Have you been doing any foolishness? Are you doing it with your boyfriend?” I guess you know RnB as much as Usher does because your movement is in sync with what my heart desires.

You’re hiphop’s big momma. Rounding up the posse – that’s what you’re good at. You raise your momma hand and they come bouncing. When something is brewing, you do not get burned. You just chill. I wish, too, that I could be the momma of my own gang.

You are also a classic – the bridge music in the orchestra of my life. You allow me my arias. You let me grow by my own pace – allegro or adagio – without your baton commanding the beat. You peak with my crescendos and exeunt with my fermatas. But you are always backstage with your tuning fork ready should I play off key.

You would crossover tradition and play by what you think sounds right. When I got pregnant and broke the news to you over the phone, all you could say was “Huh, really? Ok, come home safe.” But I could sense your voice cracking and your emotions welling. You’re a wailer but you calmly said that I should not marry if I will do it only for the baby. You let all others sing in counterpoint but your voice overpowered them. You made dad and the rest of the clan follow your rhythm. I bet, Anita Baker will bow and even John Coltrane will fall off his feet at how you managed that charivari.

Years passed and a second act ensued where I played off-key. Another baby bump made my voice hoarse and I was tone deaf for a while. Once again, you stood on an apple box, raised your right hand to pave the way for me to find the right melody while your left hand motioned all instruments, any noise to follow a diminuendo. This is your way of saying I can get my groove back.

Mother, you truly rock. It reminds me of Satriani ripping a slow with a wizard’s command of his guitar. You have saved me from every bad gig, pulling me aside from the crowd in order to protect me from ill-judgment and annihilation. You have maimed any detractor with the sheer magic of your strumming.

I am truly blessed to have your music close to my heart.

Leave a Comment