The Green Machine: It's Mean. (A Mother's Day Tale)


May 10th, 2020.

When I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, my family had just moved to a new neighborhood just outside of Toronto. We were riding Big Wheels (google it) down an asphalt path on a summer day and having a great time, when out of the blue came this kid on a Green Machine (google it) with trouble in his eyes. He T-Boned me, and I flew off and gouged my knee on something metal leaving a black-bean-sized scar that still exists to this day. 

I ran home crying and probably with an alarming amount of blood dripping down my leg - but I barely had time to choke out my story through sobs before my mother grabbed me by the hand and off we went. Where? I wasn't sure, but there was a fire in her eyes and a sense of purpose that made me curious in spite of my throbbing knee. This was not walking, it was marching. We stopped abruptly in front of the door of the kid who ran into me, and I watched my mother rap on it and give his startled mother an Irish tongue-lashing the likes of which she had probably never experienced or seen coming. And do I vaguely remember her son mumbling a half-hearted apology? I wouldn't be surprised. 

Fierce mama-love. I'm sure my mother did that or something like it a hundred times that I didn't remember or realize, but I sure am grateful for every one of them. When I came out to my mother as trans in my late twenties, she didn't blink an eye and became an instant ally. And I know that there have probably been times over the years where someone ran the verbal equivalent of a Green Machine (google it) into the Big Wheel of her trans daughter (poetic!) and my mother's Irish eyes flashed as she lashed into them for being less than tolerant. 

I'm so grateful to have had a mother who stood up for me and taught me to be independent. We're both Irish, and likely inherited the tendency to keep our deepest feelings bottled up - but acts of love come in many forms. Sometimes in tender, vulnerable moments of sharing, and sometimes in pounding on the neighbor kid's door and delivering a tirade of Irish euphemisms that they may not fully understand but clearly get the gist of. 

So thanks to my own mother, to all the mothers, and to those who embody the spirit of motherhood by mothering others. And thanks to Marx Toys for delivering untold hours of fun on a plastic bicycle that would probably never be sold in the present day due to a host of liability issues. Like you, I also just googled "Green Machine," and wasn't surprised to see that right there on the package it says "It's Mean" - practically encouraging one to use it aggressively. 

Do so at your own peril, though - moments later you may find yourself sheepishly apologizing to a woman with a heavy Belfast accent, and a small child with blood tricking down their leg who is now sporting - is that? The tiniest of grins.