signs and things unsaid...
am sitting in my kitchen right now. overhead there are one, two, three ladybugs perched on the ceiling. normally i find ladybugs charming, and consider them to be good signs (bunnies, shooting stars, rainbows, and wheat pennies also fall into this category -- things that the little girl in me finds too uncommon to be anything other than deliberate -- but, i don't believe in fate. no way. not me.). but three of them? on my ceiling? it's enough to turn a good sign into something ominous and unsettling. perhaps contributing to this is that in the past week or so i've had friends who have dealt with strange insect infestation issues (one friend with a freakish fly problem in her kitchen, another with icky bugs on his bike tire). but life is all about choices, or at least that's what i tell myself, and who is in control of how i experience life if not me? so i'm choosing to see this upside-down triple-threat as three-times a good sign. so there.
talked to my dad on the phone tonight. to my surprise, dad brought up the roberts supreme court nomination. typically, my father flat out refuses to discuss anything even remotely political with me, and if i bring something up, i get a standard "i'm not getting into this right now" response. and so i push and push and try to get something out of this man who has been a big influence on who i am, and who i've always considered to be very intelligent, very principled, very open-minded. however, i have this horrible fear that he voted for bush in the last election. my once liberal catholic hippie dad turned middle-aged catholic father of three (and step-father of three more) with concerns that no longer include those of his younger days. dad says that's what happens as you get older. i told him it doesn't have to happen to all of us.
anyway, the roberts nomination... as it turns out, dad's thoughts are in line with my own: that roberts is as good as we could expect; that he at least seems to have the intellect to warrant a SC seat; that the democrats are only hurting themselves if they put up too much of a fight in the confirmation process. it's odd how much i still want to have the same ideology as my parents. i've certainly had my share of differences with them, but i think they're both, to state things simply, goddamn brilliant. the older i get the more aware i become of the ways i'm similar to them and the ways i'm different. i'm comfortable in both sides of that. i could do much worse than to turn into my parents.
and this leads me, not quite gracefully, into the other thing i wanted to write about tonight...
i spent a big chunk of my day today listening to old "this american life" episodes online. the last one i listened to was entitled "what i should have said"
. it started out with ira glass talking about the last few times he was with his mother before she died, both of them knowing she was going to die, but not knowing what should have been said in those moments... this november will mark the decade point since my mom died. ten years. ten years! (suddenly i'm rather inappropriately thinking of jeremy piven in _gross pointe blank_) ten years...
i remember that morning so well, the last morning i saw her. it was a friday. the day after thanksgiving. i was a college sophomore. i had been home for a few days but was flying back to school that friday because i had work that needed my attention. it was really early in the morning, we were awake before the sun. i had to leave early to drive to new orleans to catch my flight. the house was dark.
god, those few days were so strange -- my mother was heavily medicated for much of it, and the meds made her so foggy-headed, so confused. there were little windows of clarity in which we could talk to her and she was herself. but once the drugs kicked in, her thoughts were muddled, she said things that just didn't make sense. how does one deal with that? i was nineteen, for all intents and purposes, still a child. although i'm not sure that it would be any easier now, or ten years from now. we're never ready to lose the people we hold most dear, even when we know that loss is inevitable. you can never be really prepared.
but that morning when i told her goodbye, her mind was clear. sitting here now i can remember so much of those moments -- how the room smelled, how tired her voice sounded, how her hand felt as i held it -- i always loved my mother's hands: they were graceful where mine are frantic, affectionate where mine are hesitant, strong where mine are fidgety...
i don't think i can write about this anymore... not now.
the point, though, is that ten years have passed and not a day goes by that i don't wish i could have one more conversation with her. what i would say to her in that conversation changes as i get older, but mostly i just want to know that she'd be proud of me, that she'd see that, although i've made mistakes, i've learned from them. i'm sure she'd be pleased to know that despite my better efforts, i've somehow managed to inherit her really corny sense of humor. and i'd like her to know that even though she made mistakes, too, i'm so proud to be her daughter.
okay. okay. so much for my tear-free streak on this blog! but it's okay -- sometimes it feels really good to miss someone. i'll indulge myself this right now. i'll miss my mom. she is, after all, goddamn brilliant.
and while the ira glass segment of the TAL show made me a little sad, the jonathan goldstein segment made me smile. it was all about wishing he could stop time to have a few seconds to come up with the proper response to all the moments in a day that need a little better than what he's able to come up with on the spot. as many of my close friends will attest, i'm quite good at putting my foot in my mouth, at inadvertently and unintentionally insulting people, at making a general fool of myself. that's definitely not something i inherited from my parents, who are generally pretty good at both tact and diplomacy. i, on the other hand, have a problem of speaking before i think, not exactly a good quality in an aspiring lawyer, but one that i'm learning to reign in when necessary. in the meantime, i will do my best to think big and speak little.
but to write as rambling and aimlessly as possible.