Friday, February 22, 2013


I was in bed last night thinking about this post, and I was going to get up and type it all out, but I couldn't because horizontal is the new black, and if you know me, you know I'm all about the fashion.

So I'll try to recall all my thoughts now that I'm awake and caffeinated.

My Mom has been weighing heavily on my mind, because as we all know, I'm a worrier.

Oh! And I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, because the other day Eight told me she's "just worried about stuff". I was all, what are you worried about, whether you'll like hot lunch, or if you'll find a way to avoid an emotional meltdown so your electronics won't be taken away? But either way, I don't begrudge her the worry. It may be small to me, but she's small too, so whatever it is must feel big to her. Like mine does to me.

And speaking of big, Ten asked me the other day "Mom, how come Moms like you all have such big butts?".

Let's pause for a moment so you can read that aloud and consider your own, personal feelings, should your firstborn utter those words to you one day. Yeah. Ready to move on? Okay.

On the one hand, it's nice that I'm not alone in my big buttness. On the other hand, too bad for you Moms Like Me out there.

Which takes me back to my Mom. (See? This is how my thoughts are when I'm falling asleep. They sort of roll around my mind like tumbleweed, bumping into other tumbleweed and getting stuck together.)

I've written before about her health issues. She's fragile. The lady has had some shit go down, let me tell you. Back surgery. Neck surgery. Blood clot in the lung. Heart attack. Another back surgery. May have been a hip surgery in there. She's been overmedicated in recovery. She's contracted MRSA. She's been in an induced coma so she could ride out some horrific pneumonia that was discovered late. And she has neuropathy, which basically means you're in pain all the time. Did I mention the breast cancer? Really, that's just like half of it. I can't remember the rest because babies. Also, if you'll remember, I worry just a touch, so there may be some blacking out of details happening.

Suffice it to say nothing is simple anymore. She'll go in for a hangnail and end up spending three weeks fighting an intestinal infection that I can't pronounce. Shit. Going. Down. Chicago tells me that my Mom is like a cat with nine lives, which is really how it feels. We figure she's only on life six or seven now, so we'll get a few more close calls out of her. Exciting.

The latest thrill is that her blood pressure has been unstableable. Is that a word? I'm no writer, but I think it should be a word. It's fun to say and makes me feel better about the fact that she goes from high blood pressure to low blood pressure several times a day. Because right now, it's about ME feeling better, obviously.

(What will make HER feel better about the fact that I'm blogging publicly about her personal health issues? I don't know. But the chocolate-covered macadamia nuts I brought back from Hawaii for her will be a great start.)

Back to that blood pressure. We need that to stabilize. Turns out it's not the medication or the dosage, it's a festive little blockage in the left side of her heart. Similar to the adorable blockage she had on the right side nine or so years ago. So she's going in for a "procedure", which in our family, given her history, could mean anything. (See note above about the hangnail leading to the indecipherable infection.)

So, I'm going to Vegas. I really wanted to leave on Sunday, so I could spend some time with the folks before she goes in for her infection-inducing procedure Monday morning, but you guessed it! The traveling husband doesn't get back into town until late Sunday night. So sweet boy that he is, booked me on a 6:00am flight, which drops me into Sin City about midway through her angio-whatever she's getting done. I'll grab some good, strong coffee for me and my beloved Dad, and head straight to the hospital, where I will charm the socks off the nice nurses and threaten the rude ones with their jobs.

(I got that fierce bitch gene from my Mom and I have absolutely no problem using it to her benefit. Don't mess with my people, people. I will cut you. Not really, unless my tongue is a knife and you're an asshole.)

And all this week, I keep thinking (and praying) about my Mom. I have a slideshow running through my head of pictures of her with my Dad, and with us kids. And I'm knocking on wood and crossing my fingers, and reminding myself that I'll see her in a few days because she is more than a slideshow. But in a moment of weakness, I reminded the traveling husband that if I lose her, it's not going to be pretty over here, because this baby girl will fold up and close shop for a while. Can't even write about it now without getting choked up.

She is the one I fought to separate from when I was a teenager, and the one I began to cling to again when I became a mother myself. She is the Mom who put on her son's baseball uniform for parent game day at Little League, and the Mom who put in hours at the snack shack. She is the face in the audience right next to my Dad at every dance performance I had over the course of 20 years or so. She loves doing laundry. She can type faster than anyone I know and always told me if she could type my costumes, I'd be the best dressed dancer around. She cooks with exactly three spices: salt, pepper, garlic. She loves lemon - from lemon cake to lemon kitchen soap. She has always told us kids that she loves us more than life itself, but Dad comes first with her (and she means it...and he deserves it). She loves owls and penguins and cats. She throws her head back when she laughs, and her crinkly eyes get even more crinkly when she cries. She's had one of the toughest upbringings of anyone I've known, yet she's somehow ended up with one of the softest hearts. On vacation she used to wear a muu-muu and a flower behind one ear with her hair pulled up and twisted into a bun, and I would do the same, so I would look just like her because she was so pretty. I have her freckles (the bitch gene wasn't all I got) and her love of family and her nose and her ears and I know I have a part of her heart and she has mine. She. My Mom. It's not just that I love her though. I need her. She's who I call to break news to, knowing she will always be the audience that gives me exactly the response I need and want to hear. She sides with me when I'm hurt, and then rebounds back to happy when I do. And more than she is to me, she is to my Dad. They are one, essentially. (If a Jewish secretary from the Bronx can be a Presbyterian engineer from Indiana, that is.)

The point is, Mom, if you're reading this, let's make Monday an easy day, shall we? Be strong, be focused, and be well. I mean, I will kick ass if I need to, but I don't want to have to kick YOUR ass. So get in, get 'er done, and get out. Then we can go home, and feed the cat, and do puzzles, and take naps in between watching bad TV. Deal?

I love you so much, Mom. And I'll be there soon as a personal reminder of all the good things you have to live for. I will kiss your pretty, freckled face and hand you chocolate-covered macadamia nuts when the nurse turns the other way.

I might even let Dad have one. But his life is sweet enough, because he has you.