I’m writing this with the sincere hope that my mother never reads this. She doesn’t know it, but she is a Jewish mother. Maybe not the kind you see in sitcoms, but underneath the Santa Fe, new age, sunset watching, pot smoking, sakki drinking, hippy skin lies the heart of a Jewish mother from Merrick, Long Island.
Last week she crashed my party with Grandma Jane. When she heard I was heading out to Arizona to visit the family matriarch, she bought tickets and said she would try to coordinate her arrival with mine so we could share a cab. “You don’t mind waiting an hour or two for your mother- why spend money on two taxis” (do you see any question marks in those quotes?). Once she arrived, she asked me if she had intruded upon my weekend with Grandma. If you ever hear a Jewish person say “OY”, now you know from whence it came.
“Mom, I’m a nice Jewish boy from New York, there is only one answer to that question: of course not, you’re my mother, and Grandma is you’re mother. The doors to our family should always be wide open to each other”
I knew once I said the word “mother” what was coming next. It amounted to ‘was I a good mother?’. It comes up almost every time I see her, especially if she is feeling blue. We were in the car, going on an obligatory shopping trip in search of that nice shirt she saw in a Gap add. For the first time in ages I did not want to follow the script.
“Mom, you’re asking what my wife calls “do these make my ass look fat” questions. There is no right answer. Say yes, and your calling her fat. Say no, and you are not being honest. It’s just not fair to put anyone in that position. I’m not going there any more”
“You really like shopping with me, though, right?”
“Mom, does this question make my ass look big?” 
 Just for the record, she arrived a day after me, and I was able to spend almost twenty-four hours with Grandma Jane (see my last post Jane’s Choice). In fairness to Mig, these are not direct quotes- I am taking liberties here to make a point (and making footnotes to cover my ass in case she learns how to use a computer).
 In fairness to me, this is a direct quote.