Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Such love for me

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

The photograph of Mom fell off the piano.

Yes, it really did. Without any obvious provocation or antecedent. No one bumped it. No one stomped through the room. Nothing fell over and knocked into it. It was a quiet, early morning, and Tony and I were moving peacefully and ordinarily through our get-ready-for-the-day routine, when we heard it crash to the floor.

What was that?! I asked, and scurried into the living room, tracking the sound, only to find the picture of my Mom on the floor.

Turns out, that same early morning, my Aunt Louise died. My Mom's best friend.


My friend Sarah says - when you think coincidence, think God.

I am so thankful for this dear woman. I am so thankful for my Aunt Louise. What an amazing woman. She was my Mom's very best friend, since they were young girls. When I was born, she became my godmother and we called her "Aunt." She showered me with love and affection all my life.  

She wrote me a letter every birthday. EVERY BIRTHDAY! I am not exaggerating. I was well into adulthood before I realized what a treasure this was, and I began saving these. How I wish I had kept every single one. 

Over the years, we became regular correspondents. I always looked forward to her letters, pouring myself a cup of tea and sitting down to savor her words. 

When Aunt Louise's daughter went through her mother's writing desk, one last time, after her death, she found an envelope marked "Maureen," filled with photos of me and my family, and my own mother's obituary. Who would've believed that anyone would be so organized, as to have photos and mementos ready to be handed out at their death? 

Who would've doubted that Aunt Louise would be?

In the days since her death, I have tried to slow down and reflect. My dear Aunt Louise is gone, less than one year after my mother, and I am all alone, truly alone, to mother myself.

I must try again today, and every day, to be loving of me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time for bed

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Here she is,
after a long day,
enjoying a bedtime bottle,
laying on Nana's chest,
head against Poppa's shoulder,
nestled between and among,
loving together.
Both hands and feet
in constant motion,
One hand holds Poppa's finger,
the other Nana's thumb,
Legs kick up, too,
feet reach for Poppa's arm,
toes close around his hand,
curling and hugging,
as if to say -
Are you there, still?
or is it -
Let's play!
or maybe,
Hey you,
you belong to me,
I belong to you.
All the while,
drinks the bottle,
her teeth
chew the nipple,
looking at Poppa,
clearing her throat,
searching for his eyes,
endless, caring movements,
the slow bottle.
Precious moments,
at the end of a full day.

We have all the time in the world.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

There are days that beg
to be paused,
so that one might savor
the blue sky,
the gentle breeze,
the praying mantis on the bush.

There are days that shout
to be ended,
so that one might never again
hear that cry,
feel that tension,
be surrounded by so many quenchless needs.

There are weeks
that combine the two,
where one wakes to
foreboding or cheerfulness,
depending on the day,
and making one
grateful for
fair to middling.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Scents of time

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Morning routine on autopilot - I opened the bottle of moisturizer and squirted a couple drops on my hands, rubbing my hands together, and then rubbed the cream onto my face. Oh. My. Goodness. I am immediately back in time, more than forty years ago, teenage me, in my grandmother's house. There we are, the two of us, in her bathroom and she is showing me how to put on makeup. Oil of Olay lotion is the first step, before foundation...I spent a couple weeks with her, the summer after my grandfather died...just the two of us, together, day in and day out.

Isn't it weird that a simple smell can take you back in time?

I have used this face lotion for years and years, because my grandmother recommended it, and because I'm a pretty simple person really - I just need a face lotion, and don't need to debate it much. Might as well use the lotion that my grandmother recommended years ago! 

I wondered, what was different this time? Why did I immediately think of Grammy, instead of staying in my early morning fog? I looked at the bottle - ah..."normal skin." I have for years and years been buying the "sensitive skin/fragrance free" version. I goofed and bought the normal skin version. 

There must be a perfume in the normal version.

What a fun mistake...I can see her, my Dad's mother...dressed impeccably, makeup on, hair beautifully styled and colored. I admired her energy, her self-care, her exercise and diet. She was meticulous about maintaining her weight, keeping the same size as when she was a teenager. I loved that she worked full-time, a saleswoman in a carpet store...so different than my own mother, who was mentally ill, and never had a job or hobby or outside interest.

She was SO different than my mother. 

This may be her greatest gift to me, allowing me to see another model of a woman - and therefore allowing me to imagine finding my own way, which, ultimately, has touches of both her and Mom, with sprinkles of unique thrown in. 

She tried so hard to 'feminize' me. 

That day, in her bathroom, she showed me blush, mascara, eye liner, lipstick, tweezers, nail polish...on and on, the lesson went. We talked and laughed and primped and posed in the mirror. 

She was so surprised that I wasn't "doing my face" every day, but that just wasn't my thing.

I wonder if Grammy would like 'old me'? 

I liked things plain and simple and still do. Back then, I loved wearing cut-off shorts and my brother's hand-me-down shirts; she tried to 'soften' me, suggesting dresses and skirts.

I still prefer pants and shorts.

I never wear lipstick.

I loved how much she loved me - her granddaughter. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The game of food

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

It's been awhile since I've shared about my grandchild, 'Frog'. 

These days, Frog is a foodie. 
At eleven months old, she has six teeth and can basically eat any food, if it is prepared in small and soft enough pieces. 
I love to watch Frog eat, and feeding her is a bit of a game. 
Though I think I am, she's in charge. 
She loves 'finger foods,' always happy to feed herself morsels from the tray of her highchair, picking food up with a delicate pinch of her fingers. She will also eat from the spoon I dangle in front of her mouth with some savory bite... and, ever so quickly, she loves to grab that spoon right from me, flailing it this way and that, trying to get it into her mouth by herself - and leaving me to pinch the food on the tray for her. I am always surprised by how she catches me off-guard, and I am left thinking - wait, how did that happen?!
She eats with gusto, big smiles, and sounds - "mmm hmm hmm!," she says.
Frog has big, squishy, lovable cheeks and she will often let a few stray pieces of food sit right in those cheeks, to savor a little later, after the meal. She loves to sit at the table with us, and she loves to try new foods - which means, she wants to eat what you are eating. She watched with big wide eyes as her Poppa ate corn on the cob - riveted by every munch and chew. She even banged her spoon in accompaniment. How she would have loved to have eaten that cob, herself!
We no longer eat while she drinks her bottle. We've learned - if we dare to eat while she is drinking her bottle, she will throw the bottle down with gusto and pound her high chair tray, indignantly.
She just wants in on this game of food, and wants in NOW.