…cuz we’ve got a lovely life to celebrate. :)
I’ve got a bunch of emotions rollin’ around in me right now. I normally do on this day. I called my brother earlier, left him a voicemail. I told him he was handsome. Who does that? Who randomly tries not to cry while admitting her love and devotion to her little-big brother? This girl. I don’t remember the last time I got to actually talk to him. It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen him. It makes me sad, sometimes. I miss him… If you see that guy, tell him to call his sister!
Facebook tells me what I did this day last year. I was 6 months pregnant and caring for my 93 year old grandmother who’d broken her hip in a fall. I couldn’t get any doctor to understand the severity of the situation. They kept telling me she was “fine”, because they missed reading the fracture. She was completely bed ridden. She also had rapidly declining dementia. It was undocumented. I lived 6ish hours from her. I saw her in April when she had a mini stroke, and she appeared to be fine. Noone knew how bad her memory had gotten. It was really sad for me to discover her overdosing herself and under medicating herself. She’d wake up really disoriented in the middle of the night. It was all so very confusing and difficult for her to understand. She admitted she felt like she was going crazy. She felt like a burden on me. Thankfully, she mostly only has short term memory loss. So, basically we had the same few conversations on repeat all day long. I was also caring for a toddler in a non toddler proofed home. This was immediately after my ex had financially abused me and stopped paying child support. I was lost, and confused, and about to have a baby, and had to let my big girl live with her dad, just so much fucking transition.
Oh, and it was my mom’s birthday…
So, that was last year.
I’m in a really good spot in comparison… It’s all about perspective, right?
Today, is my mom’s birthday. Well…today would have been her birthday. I’m not so good at math, so it took me a small eternity to figure out that she would have been 59 today. Ya know, had she lived.
59… God, I can’t even imagine. Part of me tries really hard to visualize that. The greying hair. The wrinkles. The little, old, tall lady set in her ways. And part of me tries so very hard not to. Because with the extra 11 years. Fuck. 11 years, guys. I’ve been without my mommy for 11 fucking years. I was just a baby at 19. I don’t even think my boobs were done growing yet. We had just started our adult relationship. I was just starting to learn to trust her again(you know, from childhood dramas). She was gloriously human. Amazingly, angelically, poignantly, human. So to get back to the point I was trying to make, with 11 years added onto an ailing, lupus ridden body, she probably would have been in a lot more pain than I even remember her being in back then. I don’t want to think about that.
I wasn’t lying when I said I have a bunch of emotions going on. Not only emotions, but sometimes my mind goes into overdrive, and I just start playing out these scenes and possibilities and pretend conversations that would have taken place had she lived. Sometimes it sucks to be so creatively inclined…
Like, more than once today, I imagined her scooping Skylar up to love and sing and play and dote on him. I teared up while cuddling with him, seeing this make believe scene play out. And then I cried even more because I know he’ll never get that opportunity. I realize he’ll never feel that loss. But he’ll never know the joy of having a Grandma Nancy, and that brings me sorrow.
I pretend she saved me from getting together with assholes. And I pretend she wasn’t dating a pedefilic asshole when she died. I don’t make those claims lightly. He tried to fucking hit on me at my mother’s funeral, and I later found out his TWO previous marriages failed, because he’s perverse. And I pretend that I didn’t learn those loose boundaries and self worth standards from her. But it’s not like she intentionally taught me those things. It’s a cycle. I get that. And different things manifest in different people. And we all look at the world from a different view, a different lens, a different perspective. It’s all about that damn perspective, and goddamn if I don’t want to just be able to talk to her about perspectives! She saw the good in every one. That’s what she chose to see. It’s what kept her sane. It’s what kept OTHERS sane. Her light was so fucking bright, it blinded the dark in others. I remember my dad talking to me about stuff like that when I was way too damn young to understand. When she didn’t have a dollar to her name, she’d scrounge for change in order to send me off into my own entitled teenage world with whatever it was that I was wanting…probably candy or a soda at lunch.
I miss cuddling with her. I miss talking to her on the phone. I miss her self righteous, always right attitude. I miss the gift of hating that same attitude. I miss the boisterous laugh I was always so embarrassed to hear. I now own that same cackle. I used to be embarrassed of my own, unadulterated laugh, but now, at 30, I finally fucking own it. It’s me. It’s her. It’s real, and it’s beautiful. We’re loud… We’re quiet. We’re intense, and we’re passive. She was such a humble goddess. She could bring chills to anyone with her gift of song. She was such a fucking diva. She rocked any stage. Bella gets that from her. I sure as fuck don’t. I have the gifts, but I also have the anxiety, and I’ve learned finally, I can’t just wish it away. Anxiety doesn’t work that way.
I wish she were here to argue mundane stuff like me cussing, or me choosing not to spank, or me using woowoo medicine before pharmaceuticals. God, I would have taught her so much(and vise versa of course)! And she would have been defensive, because it would have challenged her prior ways of thinking and doing. She also would be so, so, so, so proud. Because I learn, and I admit fault, and I challenge myself and others to destroy the fucking box. I live in my authenticity. And I value others for theirs. And she’d see and know that with all of her being. She’d see my gullibility and love me because of it, and not make fun of me for it. She’d be so proud of me. Not the fake, “Oh your mother would be so proud.” kind of comment I get in passing, cuz really, looking from the outside in, just, no. But she’d see that I grew up on canned and processed foods and how now I eat mostly real, homemade foods. I have my 1st garden ever! She’d get me. She raised me. I’m a part of her. She’d be fucking proud…and still hate my love of the word fuck, and my weird hippie ways. And we’d both be ok with that. She’d be a right wing conservative, and I’d be a liberal anarchist, and we’d find middle ground. We’d fight and argue and not talk and then we’d make amends, because we valued each other. I still value her. I even giggle at the imagined disdain she’d wear for my love of tattoos. I can see the disgust and misunderstandings she’d have about them, but I also imagine them growing on her. Maybe that’s just because I now have her permanently, symbolically tattooed onto me. I’m rocking the canvas she co-created. <3
She’d be such a radiant grandmother. I.miss.her. She’d be that quirky woman with self confidence who quietly still battles self image issues, who wears outfits that are a bit outdated, who keeps a birds nest in her hair, because it takes too much energy out of her to brush through her long, thick locks. I’d massage her cracking, dry hands and feet. I’d pray her scoliosis would stop causing her pain. I’d pray her arthritis would disappear. I’d pray all of these things for her. And she’d pray for me. And we’d pray together. And together we’d be made more whole.
I’m left with all of these what ifs, and I’m left with all of these memories. I’m left with a lot of goodness and a lot of sadness. I want to be able to yell at her for some of the decisions she made, and I want to hug her for others.
I can’t do any of that.
So, I pretend. And, I wonder, and I believe what it is that I believe when it comes to the afterlife. I don’t know what the fuck it is that I believe, so I continue to talk to her and ask her for guidance and help. It may be crazy. It may be insane, but it’s what gets me through both the good days and the tough days. I realize it’s a coping skill, but it’s one I’m comfortable with.
Tonight, I sang Happy Birthday with Skylar with one lone pink candle on a slice of german chocolate cake. He was pretty into it. The singing, the anticipation of devouring the sugary goodness, the process of extinguishing the fire, yeah, all pretty perfect for a 2 year old. I started this tradition last year. We got cupcakes. I made an asian fusion meal the other night and texted my brother, “For as much as mom loved Chinese food, she never cooked it, did she???”. Chinese was her favorite. When I introduced “in bed” to end her fortune cookie’s phrase, she laughed and laughed and laughed. That’s one of the last memories I have with her. Someday, I’ll be in a position to take my loved ones out for Chinese in honor of the amazing woman they’ll only get to hear about in stories. So until then, I’ll just tend to my memories, and wallow with them for a bit.
Happy birthday, sweet Nancy Sue(I never called her that. She was always just Mom or Mommy.). I love you.