Thoughts on Mother’s Day, by alt-photog Chase Lisbon

I really love my mom to death.

by Chase Lisbon, from his blog post at

[At right, Chase’s photo of his mother, 2009. Click to enlarge.]

I love the hell out of my mother. She got wicked upset with me the other day at one of those restaurants where Koreans make sushi that’s filled with pickled this and pickled that. You know the place.

Well I was there with my Mother, Apnea, and Hannah Rose. It hadn’t dawned on me that it was almost Mothers’ Day … or is it Mother’s day? I don’t get paid to know these things. I know that it is at least MY Mother’s day, so we’ll go with that.

As it was we were sitting around and she was talking about how she was really proud of the show and all. She said she once saw a line two blocks long. She knows what I do for a living, but -being a mother and all- I’m not sure if she was aware of my work reaching an audience beyond our friends and the various girls I bring around on every trip… We started talking about the group picture where she jumped on me and knocked me over. We were wondering what the crowd of people that had come through the doors that night had thought of her. I made the HORRIBLE mistake of saying that they probably thought she was some an “old Pornstar”. This REALLY didn’t go over well. the crazy thing is, she has no problem with people thinking she was a porn star… It’s just the old part. I meant it as in “Ex” Pornstar, you know?

Well, that happened, and she cried the next few times I talked to her. My sister never made it out that night on account of her car being in hiding from the repoman… So that was our early Mothers’ Day.

I really love my mom to death. When I was young I was very small. I always looked two or three grades younger than my piers, and we moved around a lot on account of my dad being in the music business.

Today on the farm I found my new baby chicken Penguin dead near the back of the coop. Penguin had one of her eyes pecked out when she was real young and we picked her out because she was the runt of the litter to begin with. Amanda was the one who actually picked her out, but I had already been eying her myself. I think both of us have always been able to relate with the runts.

I’m only bringing this up because I had about as much chance of surviving childhood as Penguin did. The only difference is my mom was there by my side all the time. When I was growing up I didn’t have a lot of friends for the most part of my childhood so my mom was my best friend, my mother, and my father. If a couple kids would jump me coming off the school bus and shove my head in the mud my mom would always find their parents and go totally Dolly Parton on them.

I can remember watching my mother crying when I went to my first day of school. Now that I’m older I can imagine how hard that must have been for her knowing what was going to happen to me once I had to really interact with the other children my age. Obviously she knew more about how the world would treat me than I did. I don’t remember that day at school, I just remember seeing her when I got off the school bus.

I remember when I was 18 I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of my house. I had a botched surgery when I was 18 and almost died, but I still moved out as soon as I could get on my feet. Everything had fallen apart that year. I think my dad had been caught in his third, forth or fifth affair. I remember sometime around January he left for a business trip but I could tell by the vibe and the way he told me to look after my mom that he wasn’t coming back. It’s hard to say but I didn’t want him to come back anyway.

I think that my father had just been instilled with too many demons at a young age and he wasn’t equipped to handle life on tour. There’s just too many opportunities for drug abuse and womanizing and I guess it’s just no place for a father to be. I’m only bringing this up because I had caught him having one of his affairs when I was ten years old. Sometime around 1986 I guess he had gotten the bright idea to start sleeping with my mom’s best friend who my sister and I referred to as our “aunt”- in the way that children do with their parents’ best friends. I was also there the day that my aunt’s husband came to the house and told my mom about it. I’m not mentioning any of this in relevance to me, I just setting the scene for some of the things I want to say about my mom.

This event would go down as the second or third in a long line of “final straws” and resulted in my mom picking up and moving my sister and me to Atlanta.

Again, this is a horrible thing to say, but I was happy to be living away from my father. My mother was really beautiful and it was good to see her meet up with other people her age in the apartment complex. I don’t know why but she seemed really happy. I had met up with a gang of skate rats and was getting introduced to a whole world of acid drops and street plants. My mom fell in love with a young millionaire and was engaged by the end of the summer. His name was Tim, he was also in the music business, and he was the first man in my life not to harbor some sort of unearned resentment towards me. Well somehow my dad convinced her to come back to him. I think a lot of it had to do with constant suicide threats via Fedex, and the fact that my mother seemed to harbor some sort of old fashioned belief that wedding vows were actually vows.

So basically the rest of my childhood, until the day I left that apartment in Maryland, was spent avoiding my father and pitying my mother. I was still too small and too strange for most of the rest of the world, so I think my mother and I kept a stronger bond than most children do as they grow up.

I remember the day that I left the house to move to New Orleans on my own as well as I remember the day I went to school for the first time. My mom had the same tears and the same feelings. Once again she knew more about how the world would treat me than I did…she knew that she would no longer be able to go Dolly Parton on people for me. I think I found that out my first night in New Orleans as I watched my neighbor named “Whip” beat the shit out of his girlfriend in the parking lot in front of my apartment.

So you have to understand I didn’t leave the first chance I got because I wanted to get away from my mom, I’m just the type of person that had to get moving and never really stopped too long.

My father fucked up the family enough so that my mother never got remarried or fully over him. A couple of years ago she got contacted from Tim again. Time was still handsome, still rich, and still in love with my mom. He’s the only other person in her entire life that she ever had feelings for. The feelings came back, and I finally saw her happy again. He was flying her out to Arizona every other week. I was really happy, and amazed to see that side of her again. The summer of 1986 side. The side of her that spent evenings on the front porch of her apartment drinking wine under heat lightning listening to DOUBLE on the tape deck.

One day Tim didn’t call. I was up in New England on a shooting spree. My sister called me worried. My mom was worried. She didn’t get on the plane that weekend, and within a few days my sister had found his obituary on the internet.

We’ll never understand why Tim would come back for those few months only to die like that. You’d have to know my mom. She’s such a fucking good person. She’s never done a thing wrong in her life that I know of. Seriously. She’s beautiful inside and out.

She was a model for a while, but my father destroyed that for her. The details are vague, but his jealousy somehow stopped her from her a national billboard offer and other national ads.

She was abandoned by her mom and raised by her Grandparents. She was raped twice before meeting my dad. Once was the result of her older sister bartering her to a speed dealer when she was 13.

Maybe this is too personal for you, or you might feel I’m divulging more than I should about another person’s life. I’m not telling you anything that she wouldn’t over a glass of wine.

My friend Petes said that some people weren’t meant to be happy in life. It’s their job to help other people, and to live in pain themselves.

The worst crime of all of this is how fucked up and divided my family has ended up after all of this. My mom is single. I mean I can’t even understand this. There must be a million men her age that would be willing to give up their Tivo for her. I’m 34 and childless… fucked to all hell. My sister is about to turn 30 and in the same boat, except she’s also hiding from the repo man. My dad finally sobered up. He started driving long haul trucks and then mysteriously stopped. He then told me he had a job at Walmart in Arkansas, but that didn’t last two weeks. Now he’s in Oklahoma with a woman he met on the internet… something about a “Plan not to die alone”.

So it was heartbreaking to be at my mom’s the other day. It was maybe 60 outside and 50 inside. She told me she hadn’t turned on the heat all winter, because of the price of the heating bill. It’s just so fucked to see how things ended up. I feel like I should be able to help support her by now, but I can barely support myself. I’m pretty sure that this is due to many years of underlying self hatred and the feeling that I don’t deserve to get ahead. You know. Some people think too highly of themselves. Some people think too little. The Bi-polars get it from both side, and some people just need to make enough money for a good psychiatrist. I’m sorry, but this has always been my way of dealing with things. It’s easiest to talk to strangers, and a computer screen is a great listener. It’s also easy to assume that anyone who would read this far can relate at least enough to get something out of this.

She always had faith in me. She still does. When you love someone so much it’s hard to know that one of you will have to be around for the others death. I’m sure that she’s the only reason I’ve made it through some of the times I have had as an adult alive.

If I didn’t know her, I would never have believed in people enough to find others like her… if even only two or three. I’m sure I would be a rotten bastard.I’ll never understand how my father could have done that to her so many times. To all of us. He must have hated himself even more than I do. Self-sabotage is a hard thing to explain to someone working with a straight head.

Well. For everything a reason, and the reasons are not always revealed. I hope everyone gets to at least meet a person like my mother, and I hope my mother finds happiness again. I hope one day I can take care of her if no one else can.

This song always makes me think of my mother’s broken dreams. It’s a Julee Cruise song, and the lyrics were written by David Lynch. He must have known her story:

“Shadow in my house.
The man he has brown eyes.
She’ll never go to Hollywood.
Love moves me.”

Man… Mother’s day just got a little heavy. Lil’ bit.

I love everyone that’s been there for me over the years. I will forever be indebted to my mom for watching over me and making sure I didn’t end up like little Penguin.


Chase Lisbon.

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