Single-Minded: Conversations With My Mother

With Ms. Frances as a mother, life is a Bravo reality show waiting to happen. Except that she doesn’t have cable.

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Helena and her mother Frances.

This morning, my mother and I argued over whether to send my grandmother a box filled with lip plumpers/appetite suppressants. If this sounds ridiculous that's because it's supposed to. We are, my mother and I, a reality show on Bravo waiting to happen. But doing something like that would be beyond Ms. Frances' realm of understanding. She just got a cell phone on Monday and told me that I can't send her text messages, not because her phone can't receive them but because she doesn't feel like figuring out how to read them.
Just now, as I was writing this, her hair got in the way because she wants to see exactly what I'm saying about her. "Do you really think I can type with your head in front of the screen?"

"It's a possibility."

Anything is possible with this woman--and with this woman as a mother. On Tuesday, I celebrated the official launch of my book Bitch is the New Black, in which I write pretty extensively about what a "lovable eccentric" my mom is. Frances showed up late to the party because the man she sat next to on the plane told her a cab from the airport would cost $30. So Frances followed him to the metro and called me from the Starbucks on 13th and U, an hour after she was supposed to be schmoozing.

"Just so you know your mom was the MVP last night," one of my friends told me the day after in a G-chat recap. "You were like an afterthought."