TAKE IT EASY MAMA

1-31-19

A man once rolled down his car window and shouted to my mom across lanes, "Take it easy mama!" It can read somewhat cordially here, but he was clearly very upset at some aspect of my mother's driving— she does have a tendency to drive below speed limit here and there, especially if she’s thick in conversation mode.

 

I remember sitting in the passenger seat so offended on her behalf. His shout was snarky, unnecessary, and that he took the time to roll down his windows to shout such a lousy comment just irked me. My mom was definitely taken aback too, but thinking back I’m not sure she was even remotely upset. In fact, she recounted this “funny story” to my dad that night and all I remember is the conversation ending in laughter. He changed her caller ID to “Take It Easy Mama” for a good period of time after that.

Watching my mom make these bags sometimes make me want to shout even louder. TAKE IT EASY, MAMA! It upsets me how devoted she is— to my most flippant remarks and unconvinced ideas, the ones I refuse to take seriously in fear of failing my own creative ambitions. I get lost in my thoughts, but she gets lost in the nature of creation. Her devotion catches me in a foreign space where a casual and lighthearted gratitude collides with the immense weight and discomfort of love. I usually block this space out because as is often the case with family matters– or anything worth fighting for– it’s heavy, uncomfortable, and hard to find words to make sense of.

 

Yet in the simplest ways, I’m seeing this space of weight and discomfort give way to firm resolves and relentless pursuits. One night, she stayed up trying to find the best way to entwine the bag handle and would not sleep until she did. Many nights, I don’t see her in action, but I can attest to her relentless hands because she continues to send me photos of new bag iterations. Some of the stuff she sends are real wildcards, and I’m reminded that wildcards make everything more fun.

 

The goods keep on changing. Most of these changes are unseen, but each new version adds a deeper consideration of form and function that only this light and weighty relationship with my 50-something, first-generation immigrant, Californian mother can add. I don’t know if the goods will ever be finished. Or if I’ll ever not find this space a little bit awkward. Or if I will ever not be annoyed by slow drivers. Fingers crossed I'll be found taking it easy like my mama next time I'm driving next to one.