Not Everyone Is Happy On Mother’s Day

Yellow tulips Deutsch: Gelbe Tulpen

Yellow tulips Deutsch: Gelbe Tulpen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother’s Day, like Father’s Day is not necessarily a happy holiday. Either holiday is miserable and sad for MANY people. My dad passed away nine years ago and I still head to the card section in June every single year. I miss him, it’s hard not to have a living or nice parent or a child on either of these holidays and people are often insensitive. So when I say Happy Mother’s Day, I include pet owners, aunts and uncles and women who love others.

For my Mother’s Day my daughter gave me a bunch of yellow tulips, a very sweet card and the stomach flu. I know she didn’t give me the flu on purpose but yesterday as I kept running for paper towels and bringing her buckets I figured I had a good shot at getting something. So far, my husband is safe. Our son is still in college and will be back this week, he sent a very loving card.

I took my mother to brunch this morning even though I felt horrible and could barely eat a bite. It’s not in me to cancel and I wasn’t feeling that bad in the morning. Mothers know, of course, and she asked me what was wrong, I just wasn’t hungry as I excused myself to the bathroom a couple of times. I didn’t want my mother to be alone on Mother’s day and the setting we had picked was beautiful. The food? So-so. The scrambled eggs were stone cold, (I admit it, I complained) and there were various breads, muffins, slices of turkey, pasta salad, fruit and chocolate and vanilla cake. I could eat none of it.

I dragged myself home in my car, not wasting time to get gas, which I sorely needed, headed quickly for the highway. I longed to put on my soft green v-neck  tee-shirt and crawl into bed. I e-mailed my husband to cancel the reservations (that I had made) at a local restaurant for my own Mother’s Day celebration. The truth of the matter was I felt so sick I didn’t want to go, my son was not yet home from college and there was no reason to force ourselves to go out because of the name of a day.

I’ve been in bed all day, my dinner consisted of an American cheese sandwich and a can of Diet Vanilla Coke. Mother’s Day can wait until I feel better and together. That’s the thing about Mother’s Day, it is a commercial holiday that I buy into every year for my mom because I want to acknowledge her, she deserves it and I don’t know how many more years we will have together.

Apparently, after I left, she was home alone when a mutual friend called her and she was sobbing and feeling “very sorry for herself.” You can’t make people happy all the time, no matter what; Mom missed my dad, she felt very alone and she is getting older. She made a remark about “how many more years would she still be my mother?” which concerned me but it’s natural too; she’s a young 85. For that reason alone, I wanted to be with her today.

I can’t solve all her problems, like she can’t solve all of mine. I could just attempt to make her morning a bit nicer, a little less lonely, even when I wanted to stay in bed. I’m saying good-night to Mother’s Day by sitting on the couch with my hubby, sipping on flat Coke with crushed ice and munching quite happily on ginger snaps watching the Survivor Finale.

Haiku Heights – Hour

An hourglass

An hourglass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The seconds tick-tock

Roar in my ears like gun shots

Fighting to stop time

**************************************************************************************

Tiny grains of sand

Sift, slowly, through a death trap

Laugh, turn it over

Carry On Tuesday – “Every Now And Then”

A Hill-Rom hospital bed

A Hill-Rom hospital bed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live in a world of darkness; light splinters in through occasional cracks in the white, plastic blinds. I would rather be in the darkness than in the light. When there is a hint of brightness I hide under my covers and lie still, squeeze my eyes tight. I have felt this way for a long time. Every now and then I try to picture myself in the past buying red tulips and iced coffee but it has been so long ago I can barely remember what it felt like. I now lie in a hospital bed, the IV dripping fluids into my wobbly bluish vein, pain medication scheduled every four hours. There is no silence in a hospital ward, it’s always too noisy; I can’t even hear myself think, maybe they do this on purpose for distraction.

When visitors come I put on pale, pink lipstick and try to sit up to give the image of energy. I attempt to smile and make conversation but really, what is there to talk about? We all know I am dying but nobody wants to talk about that, well, except for me. I bring up the topic from time to time but my friends squirm and change the subject. Since it is not happening to them I don’t understand why they won’t have a conversation with me about it, for goodness sake. Death is my future, it’s all of our futures, some sooner than later. It makes them feel uncomfortable to mention the word, I want to yell at them “man up, I’m the one who is dying here, not you!! ” but I don’t have the energy.

When my father died, many years ago, I had one friend who just let me cry, her name was Margo. I didn’t have to say anything,  I just needed to be able to be with someone I trusted, her arm around my shoulders and I could cry. No one else, even family, made me feel that safe with the exception of my dog. She would jump on the bed and I would cry and she would kiss my face and lick my tears. She was one of the most empathetic dogs I’ve ever known, her nickname was Buddha Dog.

I wear red “cowboy” bandanas in my hair, or what’s left of my hair, I look like a cross between a bad-ass motorcycle chick and a kewpie doll, that’s one hell of a combination but it amuses me. I’m not supposed to admit this but I really don’t like when my children come to see me, I’d rather they didn’t but my husband disagrees and lectures me on this. Why should they have to see me like this, thin and disintegrating and in pain? I would rather them remember me as I was, happily eating mango sorbet, laughing at my own jokes. I would scratch as many cars as possible and not be mad when they teased me about what a horrible driver I was if I could turn the clock back but I can’t. I can’t do a thing except lie here and wait; I am powerless.

Sometimes I ask for foods from my childhood, Wonder bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off with butter and Kraft American cheese or creamy Skippy peanut butter with honey and sliced bananas. These things are soft and don’t hurt the sores in my mouth as much as some of the other foods they try to make me eat. Even if I can’t eat them, I try to touch them and smell them and it makes people feel good to bring something. I’ve learned that. I will ask for simple things so they will feel better.

I don’t have much time left but time enough to know that this life is a short one. Enjoy, not each day, but each part of every day no matter how shitty it is. You are alive and you still have your future. I do not. Hold on to what you have, it is just a fleeting moment or two. Really, hold on to what you have while you can.

How I Define Romance

English: Front view - St. Francisville Inn, a ...

ROMANCE CHANGES, LOVE DOESN’T

Ah romance, it’s what the world needs to feed our young souls. What romance means to me does not exactly coincide with my life but that’s okay. To me romance are glances, warm, velvet eyes looking directly into yours, quickly looking away. It is a surprise weekend at a place you love best, for me it would be to the ocean on a warm, sunny weekend, staying at a cozy Bed and Breakfast. It would still be roses, delivered to the house, in a long white box tied with a red ribbon, for no special reason. Perhaps a surprise dinner in a famous restaurant when your loved one just says” don’t wear jeans” and smiles sheepishly yet triumphantly.

Romance, when you are young is very different from when you are older. When I was in my twenties I remember a tee-shirt printed with my secret initials, a tiny teddy bear magnet and flowers in one night. It was holding hands in the freezing cold of a Boston winter when there was no need for gloves. It was having someone watch you with admiration while you slept.

Now, after being married for 23 years, romance is comfort. It is knowing you are married to your very best friend. It’s always having someone in your corner; it’s the person that knows you best of all. It’s watching television together so you can hear the other person laugh, it’s the comfort of silence and the knowledge that you can always be yourself. Romance changes; love doesn’t.

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My Favorite Forms of Creative Expression

AgroBalt Vinjete

Image via Wikipedia

There are many ways I express my creativity even though I am the worst “arts and crafts” person around. When my daughter was little and in the girl scouts I would ruminate for hours on what craft I could and would do to entertain the girls. I write (as you would expect!) and I also take photographs. There have been many times I have made collages out of some of the photographs I have taken and pictures ripped from magazines. I use quotes, poetry, even things that have broken, cemented on to the poster board of the day. I find that it really showcases how I am feeling at that particular time. I never plan it out, I just collect a lot of things and put it together the way I want. There is no wrong or right way. I have missed making a collage, thanks for the impetus; I’ll start a new one very soon.

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What Is Not There

The Lower Manhattan skyline shortly before 9/1...

Image via Wikipedia

I was thrilled to be going with my family and in-laws on a 5 day cruise to Bermuda, courtesy of my very generous in-laws. It brought back all sorts of memories that I hadn’t thought about for many, many years.  I remember that 12 years ago my parents treated my sister’s family and my family for a cruise to Bermuda. It was a family vacation complete with my parents, my sister’s family and us, and most importantly “the cousins.” Four little fresh faces, all shiny with excitement, a boy and a girl for both my sister and I: 5, 7, 8, and 10 who love and adore each other. After that trip, they would always be connected and they still are very much so today.

I have a photo that I cherish of my sister and I that shows our happy faces and wind-swept hair. Our brown hair blends together and although we look completely different, this photo just smiled “sisters” and love.

I remember 12 years ago we were all on deck as the boat pulled away from the dock.  There was yelling and whistling and waving, and total excitement; sometimes I wish life could have stopped at that joyous moment but we go on anyway as time wills us, forces us to do.

Twelve years later, my husband’s parents (who felt sorry for us) treated the four of us and them to a 5 day treasure of a vacation, again to Bermuda.  What a difference time makes and it passes so quickly you barely have a moment to stop and think. This time, when we pulled away from the dock, I went outside to look and cheer, and I couldn’t. I didn’t even think of this as a factor when I went outside but as soon as the boat started moving, I felt sad. It was so emotionally charged for me that it was surprising to me and so unsettling.  I couldn’t speak, couldn’t even cry, I just felt numb yet able to feel this horrible and powerful feeling of complete sadness. I went inside as fast as I could, not walking, not skipping but running as fast as my aching body let me. The skyline looked empty with the devastation of the twin towers. How could I enjoy the view when the twin towers were not there?   They were in the background of our first trip; there was nothing now.

It also reminded me in a painful way that my dad was not with us; he passed away 9 years ago but the pain felt fresh and raw  and stabbed me at different moments, like it did years ago. Time does not change that type of pain, it hides, it tries to fool you, but once someone dies that is special to you, life as you have known it, is gone forever.

It’s been a long year, of unemployment for my husband and the pain of Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for me. Add narrow angled glaucoma, TMJ, chronic pain, and a connected tissue disorder and other unresolved medical problems and that has been my life for the last, long, 4 years.

Back home now, we are enmeshed in back to school errands. Our son is a Senior in HS this year, our daughter is a Junior in HS. Next year there will be another change, that will be wonderful and heartbreaking and empowering and positive. Our son will leave for college, our daughter a year after. I am cherishing every moment that we spend together but I know that there will not be enough time for me. This vacation created new memories for the four of us, ordering room service, having dinner together every night, laughing. These are the memories I will cling to, in my heart, forever. Time goes by and I with it, looking forward, looking back, trying to ride the waves as they rise and fall, rise and fall.

A Single Moment In Time

There are many moments in our everyday life that we forget about. That’s not good. I know we are all looking for good days and good months but sometimes if you remember a special moment it makes all the difference.

Yesterday and today I feared that I had “writer’s block” after a fight I had with my mother.  Writer’s block?  Me?  Giving it a title just made it worse because one tends to repeat it over and over again in one’s head. I stopped worrying about it and assumed it would go away soon.

My son, Tim, this morning went to buy bagels and cream cheese (vegetable tofutti in my case) for the 3 of us. Jillian, still sleeping, has a bagel with butter to look forward to when she wakes up.  And when Tim sat in my room and we talked it made me feel happy, connected, delighted. It REALLY doesn’t take much to make me happy, I’ve always been happy with the little things. In this case it was about 8 minutes of talking with my son before he starts his incredibly busy day.

He volunteers for CVAC (Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps) and he is on call today. Sometimes I wish his pager would go off because I see the look on his face when he does get a call and it is a thing of  beauty: strength, altruism, hope, diligence and the ultimate desire to help people in trouble. (In case he reads this I apologize for the word “beauty.”)

I cherish the moments with my children, I really do. Last night Jillian and I watched “One Tree Hill” that we bought on iTunes, amongst the guffawing and ridiculing from Dan and Tim.  I don’t care, she and I love watching the show together and I see things from her world and it’s time, albeit with a tv show, that we spend together. Sometimes, since she knows I am an absolute baby with scary things, she will pause the video to fill me in.  That’s sweet and thoughtful and I really appreciate it.

My husband, kindest man on earth, is on his way to pick up our dog from the grandparents. In preparation, Dan put out a sheet to cover the bed, because he knows I love Callie on the bed. This is a sweet, loving man. He hates having the dog on the bed and I love it; we have learned to compromise.

I am blessed for my family, not the everyday occurences, the bickering, the occasional shouting. I try not to focus or dwell on those. That happens in every family, especially a family that has two teenagers, 21 months apart. This year, I will keep making lists of the special moments that I have with my family, with my friends and will appreciate them more, instead of complaining that they are happening less. Here’s to 2010, for cherishing what we have and accepting  peacefully what we don’t. Cheers!