Thursday, May 07, 2009

Careening Through the Universe, You're Axis on a Tilt, You're Guiltless and Free, I Hope You Take a Piece of Me With You*

Driving Lana to the doctor's office** on Tuesday afternoon, we were passed by three men on Harley Davidson's.

I was going 70 in a 65*** on the interstate, so the motorcycles must have been going at least 75.

"Mama?" Lana asked from the back seat.

"Lana?" I answered. (She likes it when I say "Lana" when she says, "Mama". I don't know why. Maybe she just likes the balance of the sounds.)

"Did you see those motorcycles?" she asked.

"I did." I answered.

"Did you know you could take a motorcycle on a big, fast road like this?" she asked.

"Well," I said. "You CAN take a motorcycle on a big, fast road like this, but I'm not sure it's a great idea."

"I don't want to ride a motorcycle on this kind of road," she said.

(Inwardly, I said a little prayer of thanksgiving for small favors.)

Lana recently told my friend Heather than she (Lana) and her mommy had ridden a motorcycle in Vietnam. Heather had gently tried to clarify if Lana meant that she had ridden a motorcycle with ME or with her foster mother, and Lana had insisted that she and *I* had ridden a motorcycle together in Vietnam, which is simply not true.

I decided that it was a good a time as any to explore what Lana had meant by that conversation.

"Lana?" I asked.

"Mama?" she answered. (There we go with the call and answer thing again.)

"Did you ride motorcycles with the mommy you had before I was your mommy?" (Ponder, for a moment, the monumentally small odds of the necessity of this sentence being formed under any normal circumstances. I KNOW. It's weird. It's a weird sentence.)

"Of course," she answered. "All the time."

She said this very matter-of-factly. As if this was not a conversation of extreme importance. As if everyone on the planet, at one time or other, had had another mother who rode motorcycles with them.

"Did you ride on big fast roads like this one?" I asked.

"No, mommy. We rode on bumpy, small roads."

"Oh," I said. (What else COULD I say? Really?)

"There weren't any big, fast roads like this, mom," she said.

"Oh?" I said again. (I'm predictable that way, I guess.)

"Vietnam is a very old place, mom, that's why. A very old place with small bumpy roads."

I tried very hard not to laugh at loud. I suppose I should have taken the opportunity to point out that it was a very old place with delicious food and a complex and fascinating history, or at least that it boasts fabulous beaches. Something she could relate to.

But I was a bit busy being gobsmacked by the idea that my daughter not only remembers the mother she had before me, but that she can also talk about her in the most casual way. That what my daughter remembers, of the time before me, is riding on a motorcycle, on small bumpy roads, in a very old place.


* Third Eye Blind, Motorcycle Drive By
**Because she has a UTI. Again.
***Please do not turn me over to the authorities.


Anonymous Elaine said...

Have you ever thought about asking Lana if she'd like to work with you to make a book of her memories of her time in Vietnam? I think it would be something she would treasure when she is older and the memories have faded.

Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:41:00 PM  
Blogger thecurryseven said...

I love how Lana is able to remember and talk about her past. Even though we talk about TM's foster parents and his life in VN before us, he doesn't seem to remember any of it. All the memories he talks about start with us adopting him in VN. (Granted that was a fairly traumatic couple of weeks and would be hard to forget.) But it's as if for him it doesn't exist. I'm sad that I have so few things to write down for him that he remembers.


Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really deep.
And like Elizabeth, I wish Zeeb had more memories to hold onto. For all I know he had lots of memories at first - but it was all in Vietnamese and I wasn't smart enough to get anyone to talk to him and write it down. And now he asks me to tell him about Vietnam - which just seems upside down and backwards somehow.

Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:42:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wow, Lana has a good memory. I really like Elaine's idea about making a book of memories. Maybe that would prompt her to talk about more of them?

BTW, totally unimportant, but Motorcycle Drive By is my favorite Third Eye Blind Song, right after God of Wine. I've always loved Third Eye Blind

Friday, May 08, 2009 1:42:00 AM  

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