Tag Archives: gratitude

Tea with My Mom

My Mom.Photo credit:  k8edid

My Mom.
Photo credit: k8edid

My mother is sitting at my dining room table with a book and a cup of tea.  I remember that she loved to read, and loved tea.  Although, in all honesty, I don’t remember ever seeing her actually sit down with a cup of tea. Or a book, for that matter.  Eight children and mounds of laundry, cooking, and housework were what I remember.  I remember slurping the dregs from her neglected, cold teacups and getting into trouble for “borrowing” her library books as a child.

“Mom, what are you doing here?”

“Reading.  Having tea.”  She set her book aside with a smile.  She didn’t look tired, or sick, or any of the ways I remember her looking.

“I see that, Mom.  But…you’re…” my voice cracked.

“Dead?” she asked softly. “Yes, I am.  Grab a cup, sit down and join me”.

“Mom,” I am truly stymied. “Really, I have to get ready for work.”

“Pfft.  They can wait.  They don’t deserve you.”

“You know my employers?” I asked incredulously.  I take a seat at the table.

“Oh, of course I know them.  Certainly you know I’ve been there with you more than a few times.”

I knew exactly the times she is talking about.  Wait.  Hold on –  is she really here talking?  To me?   My mom’s been gone for more than 30 years.  But she’s at my table this morning and wants to chat.  Who refuses their dead mother’s request for a visit?  Not this gal.  I have wanted this for years – no, dreamed of this for years.  Work can wait. Work will wait.

“You were there when I told my students about colon cancer, and colostomies and screening and how you died so young,” I said, remembering one of many times I felt her presence in my classroom.

“Yes, I was there,” she said, her voice soft like I remember.  “ You weren’t going to tell them.  About me, I mean.”

“No, I…I didn’t think I could talk about you without crying.  I felt you there, though, and I didn’t want even one of them to know what it was like to lose a parent so young.  I wanted them to nag their parents if they had to so they would get screened for cancer.”

“I’m glad you told them.  They love to hear about your stories, about being a nurse and nursing school and your kids and grandkids.  Your surgical scare, your broken ankles.  Your concussion.  They just love your stories. ”

“I know,” I smile.  “I try to always tell them the truth – about how hard it is to be a nurse sometimes.  How saving someone isn’t always the happy ending you think it will be.  How dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.  How some patients fill your heart with joy, some with sadness, some with terror,” I laughed.

“They love you,” she smiled.

“Well…” I can’t think of anything to say.

“Did you ever want to have a job?  I mean besides being a wife and mother?” I ask her.  I am ashamed that I don’t already know the answer to this question.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter.  I was too busy with such a big family.  I wanted to get my high school diploma someday, and would have if…” her words trailed off.  “Women didn’t have careers so much then, you know. They were expected to stay home, care for their families.  I really did want to finish raising my kids though…” her voice trailed off again.  We are both silent.

“But look at you.  A college professor and all.  A nurse,” she changed the subject brightly – and I remember her doing just that, always deflecting the focus away from herself.

“Mom, “ I start slowly, not sure what words would come next.  I remember her playing along with Jeopardy on television – keeping score and for an uneducated woman, knowing so very, very much.  I remember seeing her standing at the stove, silent tears streaming down her face, stirring another pot in an endless stream of meals.  I remember sitting beside her on the couch when she told me, without looking at me, that I could leave if I didn’t feel safe but that she hoped, no – prayed, that I would stay.  I remember her pain and her terminal illness.  Her wasting away before our very eyes.  Her selfless, shy ways.  The wit and humor which never left her.  I remember her hands, so much like my own, with short puffy fingers and soft, flimsy fingernails.  I remember her hugs; her soft arms and cushiony warmth.  The way she smelled of Jergen’s cherry almond hand lotion.  And, sometimes, like onions.

“Mom,” I close my eyes and start again.  I want to ask her so many things – how she managed so much sickness and pain in her 42 years on earth.  How she managed abandonment, infidelity, cruelty, and disappointment without anger or bitterness.  How she forgave so easily.  How she asked so little for herself yet always had so much love to give.  How she could bear to leave her children.

I am suddenly ashamed.  Mortified by my whining and bitching and the definite lack of grace I have been exhibiting lately.  Ashamed of my pissy attitude and ungratefulness.  I am embarrassed by my incessant irritation with my first world problems; by my impatience and unhappiness.  Ashamed for not appreciating the health and bounty and opportunities placed before me each and every day.  For not appreciating that I am given, undeservedly, a new and beautiful chance at happiness each and every day.

“Mom,” I open my eyes to try again.  She is not there, of course – but she is not really gone, either.  I get up from the table and go to the kitchen to start my morning coffee.  I stop.  I reach into the cupboard and take down the tea instead.

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There’s Good News…..And There’s Bad News…

First the good news.

It’s National Poetry Month, people – get your rhyme on!!!

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)

I am Blogger of the Week over at The Byronic Man.  How about that!!  I won his  contest – “Question of the Week – best band name plucked from the headlines” with the delightful band name “Tainted Meat”.  They will be making their debut soon, I am sure.  Pink Slime (thank you, Lenore) is the opening act, of course.

 

Text logo of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Text logo of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

My honey really, really liked my poem “Give up the Peanut Butter Cups and Nobody Gets Hurt” which was an entry in the group participation “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” event organized and masterminded by the legendary blogger, baker and chain-saw wielding Peg0leg.  It was so much fun, and the King Sized Peanut Butter cups waiting for me this evening after work was a example of delayed gratification (it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, kids – get your gratification while you can – instant gratification whenever possible).

 

Today I am guest blogger over at The Monster in Your Closet.  Deb’s “For This I am Thankful” series has presented us with deep and thoughtful posts by very talented writers – make sure you read some of them if you haven’t already.  I have written – what else? – A POEM!!  Yes.  a poem.  Deb has the very cutest little boy, a tender heart filled with amazing strength, and an ability to write heartbreakingly beautiful words.  I am in awe of her amazing writing abilities and quite envious, if the truth be told.

 

Now for the bad news…

 

Oh, to hell with the bad news – let’s worry about that another day….Party on!

 

 

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It’s My (Pity) Party and I’ll Wallow if I Want To

 

Welcome to my pity party.  Strap on this goofy party hat and a frown and let’s get down to it.  Great.  How about some appetizers?  I made these delicious unhappiness chips – they go great with this self-loathing dip.  It has melted crankiness and shredded self-esteem, with a pinch of bad attitude tossed in.  Yummy, no?

Oooh, how about some party games.  First we’ll play I Hate My Body, then a round of My Friends Live Too Far Away, and we’ll finish up with I Miss My Kids and Grandkids.  Wait, wait!!  How about “Pin the Blame for My Shitty Attitude on Someone Else”?  My all-time favorite.

Then we’ll have the requisite party conversations.  In the living room there is “They can’t figure out what’s wrong with my stomach/heart/psyche/back” talk.  Here in the kitchen it’s “I’ve Gained Too Much Weight” but I continue to shove cookies/candy/chips/anything not tied down into my mouth.  Over at the card table there is the “I know I’m lucky to have a job, but…..” discourse.

 

A nine-pointed star piñata.

Image via Wikipedia

Then there will be the pinata.  Nothing says fun like bashing the hell out of something.  Here, I’ll take the first swing.  Ahhhhhhh.  It feels good to smack that sucker.  Look at all these goodies falling out…….Noooooooooooo.  Not goodies.  This is MY PITY PARTY, remember?

Crap.  This damned pinata is filled with goodies.  Like pictures of gorgeous sunsets, reminders that I have a good job, a devoted husband, a great dog….enough money (yes!!!), a comfortable home, dependable transportation.  Healthy children and grandchildren and the means to visit them.  A relatively sound, although sometimes forgetful, mind.  Talents, skills, and abilities.  Fabulous friends (real and virtual).  I have so much more than I deserve.  So much more.  Dammit, what a buzz-kill.

Kenny vs. Mr. Bill (109/365)

Image by JD Hancock via Flickr

So here, let’s take off that silly hat, here’s your coat.  Party’s over…thanks for coming….move along…take this tray with you…nothing to see here…nothing but smiles, blue skies, sunshine, and the realization that I’m only as miserable as I want to be – and I don’t want to be.

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Filed under General Mumblings, humor