Sacred Viewings

Growing up with my mom I became exposed me to a variety of shows. Soap operas were a given in my household. I started watched ABC soaps when I was in elementary school as I did my homework in the afternoon. This left me primarily watching General Hospital unless my mother had recorded All My Children and One Life to Live. Over the years, this made me a fan of One Life to Live and General Hospital. Some of the other shows she was big on were Little House on the PrairieGunsmoke, and Bonanza. My mom and I also started watching Grey’s Anatomy together when I was in college because of Patrick Dempsey. However, out of all the ones I’ve listed, there’s only one I cannot watch anymore without her.

Every time I am changing the channels and hearing the Bonanza theme song or seeing a Cartwright, I immediately change it. The only episode I have watched was when my uncle first arrived here because I did not have the heart to ask him to change it, and it felt strange. Part of me expected to see her bobbing her head up and down and tapping her foot. Oh, and let’s not forget, she sang along with the theme song. I’m positive she did this to annoy me, and I used to tell her I hated the show to annoy her. I would prove my own words wrong with my actions by watching the episodes with her, so I think she knew I was lying.

Despite the show being off the air long before she passed, there’s something about this show that makes me feel weird watching it without her. General Hospital was never my issue, but I remember thinking how pissed she would have been when they took off All My Children and One Life to Live. I know she would have been livid about them killing off Derek Shepherd, but I think she would have kept watching it much like me. Although that one was almost one, I could not manage without her for some reason either. Bonanza is where I draw my line. I’m not even sure why it’s that show above any of the others. Something still going would make more sense.

I felt normalized by my lack of watching this show when talking to others about it. They quit watching shows because that parent could no longer see them, so why should they? And we get stuck in that mentality for a long time. I know I did, at least! It’s why I quit creating for a long time. The desire, the urge, and the thoughts were vanquished in a way because my mom would never get to see them. So I think for me, there was this disbelief that my mom would never get to see one of her favorite shows again. I still refuse to watch The Time Traveler’s Wife because of this. It was the last movie she wanted to see, and it feels wrong watching it without her.

I’ve been thinking about this more lately because mother’s day is coming up. I wonder what she would think of Grey’s Anatomy now. I wonder how she would feel about the newer characters on GH and the characters they’ve brought back. And lord knows there have been characters brought back I have needed her help with because I’ve had to Google a few. A lot of the time, I’ve turned to my dad and said, “You know I could ask mom, and she would give me their whole backstory right now, right? It’s not right.” To some degree, it will never be right. Not entirely.

There are so many moments throughout my day I want to share with my mom. The random stuff that makes me realize that without a shadow of a doubt she would care about ranges from a new drink I tried to the fact that TJ has a kid now, and she would want to treat that kid like her grandchild. I think about these things, and it’s hard not to. I think some of the things I wonder over are the same things my mom would have worried about at times. The older I get, the more like her personality-wise I become. Yes, I have traits of my father, but I’m mother written all over.

Maybe that is why yesterday, the temptation to watch Bonanza instead of changing the channel occurred. Either that or it has taken almost twelve years to realize she isn’t going to sing that theme song to me. However, I think it soon might morph into whatever everything else has morphed into overtime. Bonanza might quickly become just another way to connect with her again. Hoss, Adam, and Little Joe are getting called home by Ben, but in my case, it’s Little Michelle getting called home by her mother. We will see if the temptation is alive and well next time I happen to pass across a station playing the hit television show. We will see. 

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