Saturday, April 21, 2012
That's what I hear.
I got your message today. The boy and I were on the way to East Tennessee, but had stopped at the Dunkin Donuts in Cookeville to pee, get coffee, and get donuts.
I try not to talk on the phone when I drive. I'm so tired these days and my adult ADD makes multi-tasking effectively even harder, not to mention that cell phone talking and driving is rarely a good idea anyway.
We drove straight to Knoxville to the Tatarus gymnasium where Autumn was having her thirteenth birthday party, the first in her life that Mother could not attend. Mother and Daddy were at their house. Jeff and his family were there.
My mister was in Nashville at a job fair. I'd have been there too, but for not knowing about it soon enough to have registered.
Mother only had yet another test run at Vanderbilt on Thursday. They did not keep her.
Jeffrey drove Mother and Daddy over to Nashville from Oak Ridge in Dana's van. I literally saw them for a total of five minutes in the valet parking line, because by the time I'd raced there from school, they were done and headed home.
I can say unequivocally that Mother looked beautiful in her pink fleece pullover and her duck fuzz hair finally growing back a bit and her cornflower blue eyes sparkling. She rose from her wheel chair with the most amazing smile and reached out to hug me.
We won't know anything about the medical test for some days yet. Maybe Mother's spinal fluid is backed up.
Mother is so confused about some things.
In the short time we've been together this evening, she has shown me hand towels that are for "all the people who do not have any and need them."
She told me about how Jeffrey has been pushing her around on a tuffet with wheels for the last week and a half. I asked if she meant her wheel chair. She said, no, but it would be more like a wheel chair if it had more things. It was, she said, a tuffet.
She's been riding it everywhere they go, she tells me.
Mother tells me she is annoyed at everyone telling her to wash her hands with hot water, and to tuck "the girl" into the bed with her, "she's so warm." Generally, I just smile and hug her and say OK, like I did when she showed me her "morning coffee spot" where she will have "three cups of coffee." Daddy tries to correct her, but I just roll with it, unless it's something that will harm her.
There was a very long (as there usually is) soliloquy about her dental floss and threader, a device for cleaning under her bridges.
There is often a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of talk about shit and shitting. There are other strangely off color topics that come up now and again, so atypical of Mother in her "right" mind.
Tonight, as I was dressing her in pajamas for bed, she told me, "everyone tries to touch them." I asked if she meant her breasts and if so, who did she mean. "Yes, my boobs. And everyone in the world, I mean."
And then, when I'm telling her about what I'm reading, a memoir called Resilience by the late Elisabeth Edwards and I could not recall her first name, Mother first called up Eleanor, knew it was wrong, and came up with Elisabeth. So there's that.
And her sly sense of humor. Such as this:
Me: Mother, I try to keep all your cousins and nieces and nephews up to date on you. I talk to your friends, too.
Mother: Well, that's good that you're doing it, because I've been so poor at keeping in touch with people.
Me: Oh, but Mother! You aren't responsible for that. I mean, YOU're the one that's sick.... right?
Mother: That's what I hear.
Watching my parents age, aging myself, watching my boy grow.... life is moving along.
When I was here at Mother and Daddy's two weeks ago, Olen and I stayed in my teenaged bedroom on the wall of which hangs a La Grone family portrait from 1970something.... Olen pointed out each of us family members one night, including me.
"I always know it is you. I judge by the face and how it's the same except for the wrinkles and scabs and bumps." Later, he confessed, "I regret and retract the scabs."
A) How humblingly hilarious. and B) What kind of six year old "regrets and retracts" anything, let alone scabs?
We're reading a lot, you know. The boy is reading the Dragon Breath series, the Bone series, and as of today when we picked up the first book, The 39 Clues series. As a family, we're on book five of the Harry Potter series. So essentially, my kid is reading many of the same things my sixth graders are into....
Me, I'm reading a lot of non fiction (as per usual) plus some fiction here and there, including of late, a string of Jennifer Weiner novels. I need to read things about sassy smart plus sized women who might be, but are not, me.
I am glad to have work, as ever. I overwork. And yet, I will need a new job for next year, most likely. More on that some other time.
Not sleeping much these days, how about you?
I am having honest to Goddess night sweats. That, along with the stresses of life, keep me tired.
I wasn't much into the idea of walking at our graduation. Eric, sweet man that he is, would do whatever he thought I wanted. But I could tell it's important to him. And to his dear folks, too. So ultimately, I just decided that we should do it.
I'm still not crazy about the idea. I'll miss my mother not being there in particular, and honestly, it feels anticlimactic since I've been working as a fulltime teacher all year, and actually completed my graduation months ago, even though there wasn't a ceremony.
Presenting my electronic portfolio to an audience was sort of all I needed to feel done. But knowing that people I really love want this? Well, hell, I can put on a cap and gown and be part of the pomp and circumstance.
I wish we talked more. I wish we saw each other more. I wish I wrote more. As to each of those, time is at a premium, but also, to be frank, I can just be shitty company. And there's the matter of not typing a whole lot -- I spilled water on my laptop keys months ago, and messed the keyboard up. I use an external keyboard for it now, and that's kind of a pain. I fortunately have a work issue iPad, but it's not easy to type long on...
I'll do better.
Sometimes, I just want to stare out the window, or sleep when dreams are good. Or cry in the bathtub. Or get lost in doing laundry.
I've been a less than good friend, but I am fairly pleased with the kind of wife, mother and daughter I've been being, so while there's a lot of room for improvement, I know it's not all a wash.
You know my mother loves you, right? And so do I.
Let's make a phone date. There are so many things I want to ask and hear answers to..... The above is about all I've got on me and mine. I weary of the story. Give me some fresh news.
Love and love and more love.....