Sunday, November 2, 2014

"It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here."

my mom with her birthday martini last month

Holy shit.
Sugar hangover.
Jet lag.
Bad tempered at the rudest drivers in the world who sit on your bumper despite the fact that you are already going 10 miles over the speed limit, and when you don't speed up, they roar around you like what they'd really prefer to do is crush you to bits. Not just one or two assholes. It's everyone.

I drove my mom down to my cousin's house where she used to have an apartment in his basement, and for the second time in two years we wandered around opening drawers with dozens of hats, and scarves, and gloves and talked about how we didn't want them. We fingered books, and crochet patterns, and cigarette lighters, and stood there overwhelmed with how much stuff there was.The one thing I did want--a tall and thick brass candlestick--I left behind as I carried the shopping bag of stuff my mom chose.


This trip back to the apartment was the first for me and the second for my mom since her twin sister died. Gone just over a year, it's just plain weird to be back here with my mom, but without her sister. It's weird to be here too without Dan to phone at night. With the time difference, I'd lie in bed here in my brother's dark and quiet house and call Dan and whisper about my day. Today I would have told him how I missed my turn on the way down to my cousin's, but found a good route anyway. About how the way home was much easier until my exit two miles from my brother's house where I found myself in a newly constructed wedge of suburbia that is so fresh that Google maps knows nothing of its existence. Make u-turn. Make a u-turn. Make a u-turn. Uh-oh.

My mom (on the right) and my aunt in September 2013
many years ago

But here I am. In the bed where I've slept dozens of times when I visited my mom here. Tomorrow I take her back to California with me. While it's been hard these past two plus years to be so completely responsible for her so far away without any support from siblings, it's okay. I'm happy to be going back and to have her back. Thrilled actually.

Both she and I have agreed that we're not doing this again. It's hard for her. She needs to pack so many things that the average not-90-year-old person can do without. She has her zip-lock bag of toiletries AND a gallon size zip-lock of over-the-counter stuff and take-as-needed meds, and a shoe box of the must-take meds. She has hearing aids to keep track of, essential medical paperwork, her cane, her this, her that. Tonight she stood in her room here staring at her stuff, paralyzed. I stood staring at her stuff. Which was the stuff from California we'd packed for the trip, and which was the stuff that we left behind here on purpose. Wait. Are you taking all these pajamas? Wait. These don't have pockets. You hate pajamas without pockets. That's why we didn't take them to California in the first place.

We all have stuff we need on the plane. She has stuff she NEEDS on the plane. Do I have it all? I hope so.
California, I need you. Cue the Joni Mitchell.

My mom in action on our patio. Binoculars. Good for watching birds, boats....and neighbors.


Elizabeth said...

Safe travels to you both. You'll be home soon, and we've got the nip of fall in the air.

37paddington said...

I am happy for you both that you have your mother back with you.

lily cedar said...

She is a beautiful woman, as was her sister. Have a good flight and take care.

Ms. Moon said...

You sure do come from good stock.
And won't you be relieved when you're both home again, settling down into the sweet familiar?
I hope the trip goes easy.