There are lots of Geminis out there, but few are aware of their potentials. My mom and I were born under the sign of Gemini, ruled by Hermes. Mom was a cultivated Gemini and poster child for the geriatric crowd at seventy-seven. I remember mom saying she had “healthy neuroses”. Being her healthiest and happiest self was the only thing that made sense to her. She maximized her best qualities and minimized her worst.
The luckiest thing mom ever did was to marry my dad. They met at a bus stop. He had just returned from WW2 as a hero. It was love at first sight. She was a twenty-one year old virgin princess. He was a twenty-five year old former bad boy turning good. She played Eurydice to his Orpheus and Persephone to his Pluto. I was conceived on their wedding night and born nine months and one day later. Mom wanted to have a natural childbirth, but after thirty-six hours in labor, I was cut out. She came within inches of dying and spent weeks convalescing. When I first discovered astrology, I sought an eminent astrologer for my first reading. “This is a death chart” she told me. “Your life is about transformation.” A person’s horoscope is also their mother’s transits at birth.
Mom once said to me, “Most parents make most of their mistakes on their first child”. That certainly was true in my case. It wasn’t easy being her son. If the definition of a genius is an average kid with a Jewish mother, ours was father, but that’s this story. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel loved by my mother, but I felt more loved when I was making her look good. Being my freedom loving mischievous self, interfered with mom being her very carefully cultivated self. My brother, Gary (four years younger), and sister, Jennifer (seven years younger), were spared mom’s inexperience and impatience. They don’t believe me when I tell them tales of my childhood trials and tribulations with their mom.
Mom considered raising her children one of her greatest accomplishments in life. I certainly did my best as a young child to make her proud of me. When I turned twenty, I confronted mom to tell her that we weren’t perfect and that she had made plenty of mistakes during my formative years. She replied, “Well son, I’m sorry for anything I did which caused you any harm. My mistakes were not intentional. I tried my best to be a good parent. You’ll understand when you’re a parent. You’re an adult now. You must grow up. Let go of what holds you back. You need to be as healthy as you can be.”
What could I say? She was right. Apology accepted. In the final analysis, my siblings and I turned out well in ways that matter most. Mom’s optimism and idealism, relentless frankness, and loving encouragement compelled all of us to be true to ourselves.
Although mom stayed at home during my childhood, she also stayed busy. Mom supplemented dad’s income by writing from home. One year, she won twenty-five contests by saying something in fifty words or less, finishing a sentence, writing jingles, or winning crossword puzzles. She published articles in consumer magazines like Redbook and Ladies Home Journal. Mom was a ghost writer for syndicated cartoons. The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Family Circus were clients who frequently purchased her gags. She worked with a local artist. Our family was the source of her materials. That’s me below and this actually happened…
One of Gemini’s notable qualities is true friendship. Mom attributed her ability to make friends quickly to moving frequently in her childhood. With so many changes involving multiple schools, mom learned to adapt and develop social skills to make new friends. If you examine the balls of thumb on her very Thinking hands (square palms with long fingers), you’ll see many long lines parallel to her lifeline. Mom maintained lifelong bonds from early childhood. She and her friends loved each other through Heart Attacks, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Cancer, and other diseases of old age. Mom’s friends were her riches. I too, cherish my friendships.
Gemini remains forever young. Hermes reputedly lived over three hundred years in the flesh. That means I’m an adolescent at 71. I do feel like it. Mom stopped aging at 39. Everyone joked, but no one questioned her decision to remain young until she was on her deathbed. In her last few days of life, mom’s intensive care doctor told us that in all his years, he’d never had a patient who was so sick and so determined not to look sick. Wheeling mom around the hospital, people thought I was her husband. She’d say “Thanks for the compliment, but he’s my father”. “Pleased to meet you”, they’d say. Even then, I was a potential embarrassment to mom. Some things never change.
Geminis are thinkers and communicators. Mom was one of the most well-read people I ever knew. She was interested in psychology. When I was ten years old, mom read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. It reinforced what she already knew and confirmed her most significant value in her life, which was the knowledge and understanding that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you have the power to choose what you think, feel, and do about what happens to you. When I went to Carnegie Mellon University to study industrial design, mom went to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh to get a master’s degree and become a psychiatric social worker at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. She was an innovator who was famous for her crystal clear case notes, ultimately becoming a matriarch in the hospital system.
Geminis have a unique sense of humor. While mom was lying in her hospital bed with tubes going in and out of her, she said to me, “What worries me is how nice everyone is to me. Do they know something I don’t?” Jennifer warned, “You’re not allowed to die until you finish raising my (teenage) kids”. She joked about buying mom’s casket at Costco. Mom loved the idea. Gary told her, “I’ll start worrying when you stop putting on your makeup”. He believes he prolonged her life by threatening to taxidermy her and display her in a corner of his living room. If you want a real taste for mom’s humor, you’ve got to check out this exercise ball video she made in response to my extremely health conscious sister giving her the ball. For whatever it lacks in quality, it makes up for in laughter.
When mom turned 80, she wrote, “Eighty years of age does not seem old to me. Old is when one is again dependent as we were in infancy – needing help as a constant to feed and care for oneself. I may die from an illness before I ever get old, then on to the next adventure.” I wholeheartedly concur. Mom was eighty-three when she passed. She continued to maintain her humor and to ponder the meaning of life until her final moments as she battled metastasized breast cancer. I promised her I’d ‘pull the plug’ if necessary. She let go on her own. I’m honoring our birthdays this year by asking anyone to contribute to her favorite charity ~ Southern Poverty Law Center