@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
An Open Letter To My Mother
My Mom and I write each other letters like it’s the 1800’s. To anyone I feel closest to, or that I feel I can trust, I find writing to be my more intimate form of communication. This is intended for my Mother, but not solely. However, if there is something in here that is lost on you, it’s because it is not meant for you. And if you think there is something in here that is meant for you, then it is. Not necessarily because that is my intention. But whatever meaning or message you get from my writing is more about what you need to hear than what I need to say. If that makes sense. If it doesn’t, oh well. This is mostly for my mom anyway.
Thank you for your letter. I am doing better since the last letter I sent, which was rather deplorable tonally, and I apologize to have alarmed you in any sort of way. This letter will be somewhat amended, since you are now reading it on a public platform, and there are other eyes on it as well.
Jukebox The Ghost’s “I’ll See You Soon,” is wonderful. And yes, I have inherited from you a deep love of music. Sometimes, I feel it is the only thing that keeps me sane. This is a quality I am most grateful for. On good days, a song can get me up and dancing in my apartment, and this makes me laugh at myself, when I’m a mirror copy of you, who often broke out silly dance moves in the house, on the deck, in a store. Even if a sad song makes me cry, it’s for proper reason. A song speaks to the soul, and many a beautiful song reminds me of you.
It breaks my heart when you say you feel you failed as a mother sometimes. I suspect this an insecurity many mothers feels, just as a child fears being a disappointment to their parents. Just because I’m struggling, or Mitch, or Lisa, it’s not your fault. All of three of us share memories of so much more than an ideal childhood. You lived to be a mom. Dad lived to be a family man. You say that sometimes as if it is not something to be proud of. We grew up in something better than the American dream— Your Dream! You don’t think that whatever it is that’s in us that glows is because of you? You don’t think that whatever love we’re capable of giving or receiving is because of you? You don’t think that every sick thing I laugh at isn’t because of you?
The very foundation of who I am, the best parts of me are because of you. You and Dad both created a stage and a standard for us built for success. However, this does not mean you are responsible for what we do now that we are grown. I guess that must be hard as a parent to see your child heartbroken, shaken, failing, or heading into murky waters. But we are on our own ships now. What happens to us out on the sea is on us now. You remain a lighthouse. A blinking light, a beacon and a staple of time not lost on us. It’s commonplace for a parent to want what’s safe for their kin, and not what’s best. The two aren’t always the same.
You say I’m brave, I’m not so sure. I think your confidence in me is somewhat blinded, but that’s a by product of unconditional love. It’s strange to me, often, how a darkness in me can become such a tidal wave. This is something that you are not responsible for. In fact, I don’t think there is anyone to blame, including myself, though I do fire guilt missiles at myself frequently. There is only how I react to it. It bogs me down, and I get blue from holding my breath beneath it for too long sometimes, but I resurface and I when I do I see the light from your lighthouse. It has steered me home more times than you know.
I want you to watch the (on Netflix) Disney Pixar movie, “Coco.” Not only is it an aesthetically beautiful film with really good music, I’m not kidding you when I say I think it’s one of the most important movies made in the last 10 years. It’s really a moving story not only from the perspective of family, aging, loss, and the beauty and dangers of nostalgia, I think it’s a film that anyone who loves an artist should see. Whether that artist is their parent, kid, spouse, close friend, or lover, the characters tell a story of the allure, love, guilt, and dark side of being an artist and pursuing show business. Please watch it, you will enjoy it.
It is one of the great blessings, I think, of my life that we have a big family with many (19) cousins. Such a group of funny, smart, and fucked up but good-hearted people are the ones I continue to miss, and look forward to laughing with. Our family is the crowd I was and am proud to be a part of. In my eyes, we have always been so cool, even when we clearly aren’t. The bonds the cousins have, on both your side and dad’s, runs deep and, perhaps, has rendered my need to make new friends rather useless.
Last week there was a fireworks show in Astoria park. I still love fireworks. Fourth of July fireworks shine light on family parties of the past that were looked forward to year round, and of course, summer itself, spent out on the sea with you and dad, Lisa and Mitch.
During that firework show, there was a middle aged man watching the show on the rocks on the East River just feet away from me. He was on a phone call the entire show. And he was complaining about how loud it was and that he couldn’t hear the other person on the line. For an hour. It was rude and ridiculous, but I couldn’t help but laugh at him. I laughed the whole show. A part of me wanted to throw a rock at his head, but bemusement triumphed over anger. People are insane. Life is so absurd.
So much of the best parts of life are like fireworks. Shining moments burn out quick. I think because of you, I am able to stop and enjoy them, but more importantly, if someone is watching a firework show and complaining about the noise, I’m able to laugh at them over getting angry. If you and Dad were there, we all would have been laughing.
As always, I miss you guys and think of you often. Kiss my niece and nephew for me.
Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For ever if I’m far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you
The only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again
Remember Me (from Coco)