This Thing, That Thing, and Several Others…. not necessarily in that order

We took the Queen Mum for yet another doctor’s appointment today.  Now many of you know that I dedicated my little book to my precious mother.  In that dedication, I called her “the Queen Mum, so to speak,” and thought that everyone would understand that she is my mother, and not Queenie.  There is only the one of each of us, and one is quite enough, very probably.  I, your faithful scribe, am Queenie, and the Queen Mum is my mother, my one of a kind, broke-the-mold mother, who came endowed with perhaps the hardest head known to man.  And I must say, it appears that such a thing can be passed down from generation to generation.  A more sobering pause comes when I consider that other such things, the “Its” in life, are said to skip generations.  If indeed that is so, then I have to allow for what might be in store if I take after my grandmother, who to some would have been deemed certifiable.  I should know – I saw her in action.  Attention must be paid, and that bud nipped.  However, she was the beginning of the raft of redheads that came down the pike on the matriarchal side of my family, also artistically gifted, and now I have come along and derailed the bloodline.  I have no issue.  Once upon a time I thought I would, but that ship has sailed, and all the madness (and a lot of the fun) ends with me, I suppose.

But back to the Queen Mum thing:  I seem to have learned at the feet of the master about being hard headed.  Some have been known to describe such a condition as stubbornness, and I’m sure still others would have other less than complimentary definitions about how they might have “described” either or both of us.  We seem to come rather as a package deal, and it’s definitely an acquired taste – unless you happen to “get us,” early on.  And if you don’t get us, (and I assure you we’re absolutely wonderful on some levels, and admittedly, uh, let’s say, quirky on several others) – well, if you manage to get crosswise with my mother, it will be an interesting relationship.  She says little, but she’s very powerful.  And on the other hand, extremely fragile.  But she would never show you that, if there were any way she could avoid it.  It must be that “cold English” bloodline that she inherited.  I sure didn’t get it.  I must’ve gotten the warm-blooded devil-may-care Polack influence from my father’s side of the family.  Didn’t work too well for any of them, as much as I’ve heard about them.  They either disappeared or died young, or both.  It’s amazing to me that I’ve outlived my father by going on ten years.  If I had died at the age he died, I would’ve been dead over eight years now.  For some reason, I always find that interesting to think about.

But the Queen Mum, she’s of different stock.  If she ever says she doesn’t feel good, you’d better get ready to find medical help.  She’s just like her father, who had a heart attack at 81, I believe, and REFUSED to let his wife call 911.  And she was of such a mind and attitude to actually obey him.  He died, a couple days after that, in the hospital where she finally got him, too late, and he was gone before we could even get there to see him.  I would’ve liked to have told my grandfather goodbye.  He was, in my childhood, perhaps the most meaningful male figure in my life, and I’d say he set the course of it – in several aspects.  My father was, for a long time, maybe the most “influential,” but it was hardly in a good way.  I’m sure I am one of legions who grew up with an alcoholic parent.  In my youth, it was not talked about so much, except perhaps with the most intimate of friends, and they were not likely to believe it until they saw it happening before their very eyes.  The reality of that discovery was not a pretty thing to see shattered when they got to see that other side of my father.  He was the Daddy of the Neighborhood, the ones my friends thought was the coolest dad – he put on a great show.   Only he wasn’t really there.  Not for Real.

And now, may I say:  Oh my.  Because I realize I just wrote a perfect description of my ex-beloved, and what a series of events had to take place for me to come face to face with the fact that once again, unbelievably so, I picked “my father” in a supposed mate, looking to find that happy ending that I could resurrect from my childhood and heal, duh, only to see another exalted relationship crash and burn.  I think however, this time, the lesson was finally learned.  And what a lesson.  Damn near extinguished me for a while.  Very interesting, these lessons.  And painfully, so utterly textbook.  I couldn’t even come up with an original malady of childhood angst.

All this train of thought commenced when I started talking about my mother.  She has another whack of cancer, albeit this one is supposed to be very common, (something on her face), and treatable in an office visit with local anesthesia.  That’s all supposed to make me feel better, I guess, but I tire of fractured victories that still come with a price.  Do all victories come at a price?  Do we have to wage war against SOMETHING just to claim a victory?  Do we have to spell victory with a capital V?  Victory?  And yet, there are many things I choose to feel victorious about, so we’re back again at that place which often raises my hackles: It is what it is.  And sometimes it’s just a matter of subject matter, and not the wad I have often found my knickers in.

My mother is beyond getting old.  She seems ageless in so many ways – still funny, still hip.  Still something close to a best friend.  We can still crack each other up.  But the truth of it is, she really is “old.”  In her body.  But her mind is 110 percent.  At least with most things, like math and schedules and left brained stuff that makes my head spin.  Sometimes,though, she doesn’t remember so well where the car is or which way we came down the hall when we’re at some new or different place.  I hate that.  I don’t want to lose one iota of her.  Or see her slip away.  However it happens, it will happen, and I am certainly old enough, as is she, to know that it’s coming.  Sooner than all the years that I have had her.  And I will never be ready.  Never.  Simple as that.  Just never.

She has been the best, but certainly not always the wisest, thing in my life.  She saved me too many times.  I know that.  She still saves me.  Probably daily, one way or another.  It took her a long time for her to save herself.  Now I need to learn how to save myself.  And I would save her however I can, though she would want to tell you she doesn’t want, or need, saving.  Or even help.  Last thing you could ever get her to ask for, is help, no siree.  But now, she takes my arm if I’m there to offer it as she gets herself from place to place when we go out, which isn’t that much, except to appointments and she STILL goes to the grocery store – and hurts afterwards.  She still gets up and feeds the deer every morning and evening, and the neighborhood dogs come to see her always, like she’s the Pied Piper of dog cookies, which indeed she is.  The Queen Mum is not without her minions, not at all.  Birds, deer, squirrels, dogs, cats, a peacock, raccoons – they’re all on her list.  We even had a skunk for a while, but he got to looking bad, coming around less, and then I found him dead in the garage.  So I took him and buried him under rocks beneath my favorite oak tree in the Back 40.  I thought it as befitting an end as I could muster.  Of course it was summer hot, and I hadn’t considered the prevailing, persistent Southern breezes we get in the summer months, and I placed him to the South – upwind.  About a week later, it started.  And we were skunked for weeks.  Not directly, but most of the time.  It sure wasn’t the sweet, intoxicating scent of the Agaritas in bloom that wafted over the ranch.  Not such a swell move for one who is always attempting this sacred connection with Nature.  Well, I can’t say as we weren’t connected for a while.  But I digress… like I’ve said before, I do that a lot.

My mother actually said something to one of my previous boyfriends… (And may I interject here that a woman of my age is entirely too old to have a “boyfriend.”  It is just not a personage I care to have around me at this point – a boyfriend.  There’s just something – hell, I don’t know what –  something almost silly about it,  Now when I get to my 80’s, I imagine I might well be downright thrilled to have a boyfriend.  And maybe I’m just too lately smarting from the last one – the thought of one doesn’t appeal to me yet.)  Anyway, one of them said something idiotic enough to her to inspire her to joke about hitting some deserving man upside the head with a frying pan, (evidently that’s what they did in her day, or threatened to), and I swear, he was forever afeared that she might do just that to him.  Hilarious.  That was two boyfriends ago.  He’s usually referred to as HeWho #1.  As in “He Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken.”  Actually I think it spells better as HeHoo.  We have, alas, at this point made it all the way to HeHoo #3, previously referred to in these parts as TG.  Calling him TG is still affording him some manner of courtesy.  When I regularly start calling him HeHoo #3, I will know that I am healed.

There were, I must say, several other participants before the HeHoo Series, but this isn’t supposed to be that kind of a blog.  However, at this point I can’t say as I have a total concept about exactly what this blog is to be about, so anything’s fair game.  I’ve already done a movie review, so I suppose I am journalistically sullied.  Oh well, better to have gotten that over with early on.  I can now proceed untrepidated.

I rather fancy myself somewhat similar to the heroine in Something’s Got to Give.  Holy damn, another chick movie reference, I know…. But it’s just too similar to what is transpiring in my own life.  The “he” doesn’t exactly matter – exactly – but the “she” is a talented playwright, somewhat long in tooth in Hollywood standards, (not as long as I am, dammit, but in the ballpark), and she falls in love with a charismatic lothario,  (which I just looked up to make sure, and it means:  handsome, seductive ladies man), who when he met her let down his guard and actually fell in love with her, and she him, but he couldn’t own it and he fled and broke her heart.  Quite similar to my own latest story, except that we kept taking turns fleeing each other.  He solidly mounted the first flight, the second was my doing, but I suppose we’d both claim the lowering of the last and final curtain in order to be able to live with our respective selves.  There were both major and minor kerfuffles throughout our long running non-union, but they were off Broadway productions and didn’t last.  The show kept going on, and on, and on, despite tepid reviews by the truthful critics.

But back to our movie….. Our heroine proceeded to process her grief, crying copious amounts, for a long time, until she finally started writing about it and sure enough, laughter started to creep into the words, and then a laugh might actually spill out of her, only to be quickly replaced by the sobs.  In due time, the sobbing subsided.  In the movie, this is when the enlightened, suave and ridiculously handsome younger man, (a doctor, mind you, so you know this is a movie), reenters her life and proceeds to, apparently, sweep her back off her feet, again.  He, at least, is WILLING and HAPPY to love her.  Should I tell you the end of the story – perhaps not – for that’s not what my analogy is about.  Prince Swoonworthy has yet to cross my path, and I’m not sure what I’d do with him if he did.  (I know, just like she did in the movie.)  What I want to do, in my personal little movie here, is concentrate on the writing part, and see what comes of it.  It is a gift, I know it, and I must honor it.  Well, I say it’s a gift – I feel like I open a present every time I get a comment – a connection – on this blog.  I’m not sure what I’m aspiring to, only that I aspire, and perhaps, at this point in time, that is enough.

Oh dear, dare I think to entertain by adding more of the pithy parts of my personal life?  My private (?),“personal” life?  Think about it.  How much of ourselves DO we share, really?  How much do our friends really want to listen when we have serious stuff to impart – that we NEED to talk about – and it takes a patient and willing, and caring listener.  Maybe that’s all it really boils down to – perhaps all we’re really looking for, as much as we care to own it, is someone who CARES.  Then there’s the caring and the doing, and that’s where the rubber meets the road.  That ACTION thing.  But sometimes the action is something as simple as shelving our own BS long enough to listen, and to care, about somebody else’s.  And that, my friends, is LOVE.

I wish all of you times full of such things, and lovely, caring people in your lives.  May we find beauty in the fact that we are – alive.  Let us do our lives justice, for indeed they are gifts.  And remember what you say when you get a gift – Thank You.

And now I get it – when “they” say it’s all gifts – even the ones we don’t want.  Eventually we have to get to Thank You.  Even when it seems impossible.  I’m not quite there yet.  I’m still in frying pan mode when it comes to thinking about TG.  When he finally makes it to the ignominious ranking of HeHoo #3, I’ll lay my skillet down.  Then I can get on with the business of Forgiving – both of us.

But right now, I will say, Thank You for my mother, one of the best gifts I ever got, hard head and all.  She’s a keeper.

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