March 11th, 2014 — 10:11pm
There I am, in a time before I can remember. Chubby and cheery, with an awesome hat, hanging out with my mom. Life didn’t get much better than that. (Thanks, Sis, for sending this picture to me.)
I feel unreasonably cheerful today. Cheerful, hopeful, sure of something and I don’t even know what it is. Could be the sun and mildness: it’s something like 30 or 40 F. Above zero. I haven’t minded the winter at all–I’ve loved it in all its drama and extremity–but also it was thrilling to walk to the hardware for masking tape (twice) wearing just a down vest over shirt sleeves for a coat. And shoes. Just shoes, not swampers. Thick soled clunky shoes, sure, but shoes. And I saw pavement.
What I kept thinking as I looked at this photo this afternoon, contemplating today’s out-of-nowhere cheer, is–again–how lucky I am. I had a happy childhood. My parents wanted kids; they devoted their lives to me and my siblings. For me my childhood has always been a well I can go back and drink from. It’s a stable base to jump from. I learned how to be happy in childhood. Yes, I did also learn (in childhood and on my own) how to be unhappy, but I had lessons I don’t even remember in security and cheer. There’s that cowboy hat being clutched with such panache to prove it.
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March 9th, 2014 — 6:05pm
A strawberry waffle with bacon and a Mexican omelette.
Today’s specials were so good-looking, I had to take a picture. (Thank you Nikki and Craig, for letting me photograph your breakfasts.) I’ve been serving plates like these out of Rick’s kitchen for twenty three years, and the artistry of it never gets old to me. Each Mexican omelette isn’t just an omelette. It’s the omelette.
I was thinking as I took the photo that my mom would’ve loved either of these meals. If she could see this blog, she’d say, “Oh! Yum! Send me one of those!”
I appreciate the many condolences and kindnesses given me since her unexpected death early in December. I remain in many ways wordless. I’m in here; I’m thinking; I just don’t know what to say. As I told one friend, I believed I was a thoughtful adult and have found out I’m a foolish orphan instead. A lucky orphan, though, I know that. My mother was a fantastic parent. She was stable, judicious, and loving. I had her for a long time. Forty seven years. Old enough to grow up, you’d think.
I mourned my dad’s death deeply when he passed away sixteen years ago but was still unprepared for the depth of my confusion in the wake of my mother’s passing. Not only general metaphysical confusion–because my mom was such a linchpin in our family; because she was something of a medical miracle in so many ways and kept surviving things pretty handily; because women in her family live to be not just old but really old: 95, 100, 102–but also basic physical confusion. Forgetting things I don’t forget. (Payday; tax day; the bills.) Putting my clothes on inside out or backwards. Notes or emails received, letters sent, phone calls made or neglected. It’s true that mourners live in a different country than the unbereaved. Communication between the two lands is often faint and confused.
Some days are flat, some are sad, some are fine. Some are fine. My mom would’ve wanted that, approved of it. And some are not, which she would have also understood and appreciated.
“my feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping
I shall go on living.”
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