I Want My Mom

I was so mad when my mom died and people around me still had their moms. I hated their big stupid mom having faces. My mom died 3 years ago today. It feels like 3 days ago.

Shortly after she was gone my daughter Hannah, then 7, walked in on me crying. I don’t melt down much in front of her, but she caught me in a moment where I was like an inconsolable little girl. “I want my mom!” I kept repeating through choking sobs. There was nothing I could do but let them run out while Hannah’s little hand patted my back.

All this time has passed and I still feel that phrase resting on my lips each day. I want my mom. I don’t want memories. I don’t want photos. I don’t want her “in my heart”. I don’t want the annoying dreams where I know she’s not real. I want her here.

As her time grew shorter, my mom knew I was afraid of being without her. She said to me, “You have everything you need in life to be happy. You know what to do.”

And so everyday I take what she taught me and try to weave it into our lives. What was once ‘Nancy & Jennifer’ is now ‘Jennifer & Hannah’.

I think of her when we laugh together.
I think of her when we admire the pansies.
I think of her when we marvel at the moon.
I think of her when we encourage eachother.
I think of her when we make her chocolate chip cookies.
I think of her when we watch King of Queens.
I think of her when sing a song.
I think of her when we take a walk.
I think of her when we create a craft.
I think of her when we lay in my bed talking.
Like she and I used to do.

And I realize. How lucky I am. To have a little girl to carry on the special things my mom and I shared.

But I still want my mom.

MomandMe002

I Dated the Invisible Man

Oh there we are decorating the tree, I thought, as I turned up the volume.

The past couple of years I had gotten behind on my home videotape to DVD transference, so I sent them out to a place this time. I’d just picked them up that afternoon and started watching.

It was Christmas 2009. My mom, my daughter, me, my sister and her son were decorating our Christmas tree at my house. After a couple of minutes, I noticed I was talking to someone else off camera. It was Ron*. I kept waiting for him to make an appearance but, in 23 minutes of footage, we never saw so much as an elbow or back of his head. I was annoyed. This was so representative of our relationship. I had dated the invisible man.

invisible-man

I tried for years to get him to settle down. Chased after him while he remained on the run. Avoiding commitment was his full time job. I’m busy. Can’t attend. Have other plans. Can’t make it this time. Talk to you later. I’ve go to go.

It must be me, I thought. Except it wasn’t.

We ended over a year ago and I had thought about the relationship a lot. Acknowledged the part I played. Fixed some things I needed to fix. And I had finally gotten to a place where thinking of him didn’t make me want to scream. I was in a space of indifference. I felt nothing anymore. Unless you count complete certainty that I would never settle again.

We saw eachother the other day and he shared with me how he had fixed the ants in his pants and his need to run. He wanted another chance. But sometimes we just know when too much bad stuff has happened. When there’s a wall there too tall to ever get over. When everything floaty and sweet has hardened like cement barricading you off from the past and you have no choice but to move forward.

And I’m happy moving forward. Sure beats being stuck.

*not his real name

There is no Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde here

Election season was rough, you guys. Signing on to Facebook was like walking into a field of landmines. So. Many. Memes. I couldn’t believe the bitterness that was happening between “friends”.

Meanwhile, I had a super close friend who I’ve communicated with almost daily for the past 12 years. We never have disagreements and act like fools, I thought. We’ve discussed everything there is to discuss, I thought. There’s nothing that we could possibly ever seriously clash over, I thought. Until we discussed the election.

All of our talks take place via instant message. So message by message this friend of mine, who was as close to the “perfect guy” as I’d ever seen, morphed into someone else. He started repeating talking points I heard on the news. The ones I turned off because they seemed to me to be coming from people from another planet. People who were super messed up. “Bad people”. But my friend had never seemed like a bad person. He couldn’t just suddenly be an ogre. What did it all mean!?!? Suddenly up was down. Down was up. It was all very unsettling.

This person I thought I knew suddenly seemed like a stranger as I realized it was more than just politics. It was a whole set of beliefs. How had I missed all of this? He was one of my closest friends. One of my favorite people in the world. There were few people on the earth I thought better of than him.

There was nothing I could do but to quit talking about it altogether and pretend it never happened. Except it had happened and it bothered me even though I knew it shouldn’t. And I tried to ignore it and push it away, but it still lingered in the back of my mind like that song you can’t get out of your head (Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey! ….What? I’m not old).

Several weeks after these exchanges, my friend asked me one day what I had brought for lunch. Since our conversations, I felt like he was a little more apt to get all Judgy McJudgerson on me. That day I had a meatless dish and I told him I didn’t want to say because he’d make fun of me. He didn’t understand that and said, “I’m not mean just to be mean.” It kind of jolted me back to reality and made me remember who I was dealing with. It was my friend, not a jackass.

So. It took me a little bit to realize that we are turning our friends into our enemies with the flip of a switch. One hot button topic and our friends are “unfriended”. They are still the same giving, loving, special people we have enjoyed all the other days of our lives, yet we let one certain type of disagreement change our view of them forever. Instead of looking at what they show us 99% of the time, we choose to take the 1% and blow it out of proportion.

I have learned that if my friend can be as wonderful as he is AND be a member of that party aka hold certain beliefs, then the people of that party can’t be all bad. Politics are polarizing. But we are all people with families and friends who are, for the most part, trying our best. We should see eachother as people first more often. I think it might help.
1840957_orig