For a couple of early-90s-Summers straight, my parents used my sister's and my vacations from school as opportunity to haul us up and down the East Coast to see the Atlanta Braves play. We would stay in the same hotels as the players and get our baseball cards autographed in the lobbies before and after the games. I don't know. Some families go to Disney World; this is just WHAT WE DID.
On one of these trips - maybe we were in Philadelphia? This could have been the same week that I choked on a roast beef sandwich in the cafeteria of the Children's Museum and my Dad had to give me the Heimlich Maneuver? Not sure. On one of these trips I caught glimpse of a fat bruise on my Mom's leg while we were eating breakfast; I asked her what it was from and she told me, matter-of-factly, that BRUCE had been in town the night before. She'd gotten a ticket. The bruise was from falling off the seat she'd been dancing on.
The most important lesson my mother ever taught me had nothing to do, at least implicitly, with being a woman. Fuck proper mascara application; fuck how to cook; fuck social graces; fuck it all. My Mom would blast Metallica's Black Album while driving me to horseback riding lessons. She'd blow through AA batteries playing Aerosmith tapes in her Walkman while mowing the lawn. She'd venture out into an unknown city in a denim jacket - leaving her husband and two-children-under-twelve safely ensconced in hotel rooms - to sing along with THE BOSS until it literally hurt. That big purple bruise was an inadvertent education in American rock and roll. That bruise was an ethos. That bruise is in my blood.