I know you all probably thought I was swallowed up by In-lawland, or died in a fiery plane crash, but in reality, Jude and I got back to LA on Monday night, and I've been too fried by the whole reentry/back to school thing that I just haven't had it in me to write.
It was a strange trip. We had a lot of fun, and did many, many...many fun activities. But overall...it was kind of a downer.
I'm worried about the old ones. Mommy in particular. She just wasn't herself. I've mentioned before about her tendency to obsess on her various irrational fears. But she's usually so sweet and dear and loving, that her weirdness is charming. But not this time.
She fell down about 6 weeks ago, and it's affected her very badly. It shouldn't have, because there was nothing wrong with her. No broken bones, no concussion, no sprains. The doctor checked her out thoroughly, gave her an MRI...nothing but some black and blues and general soreness. She was incredibly lucky.
However, it has left her severely depressed and grumpy. She snaps at Pop and Aunt Grace, constantly criticizing and questioning everything they do. Using my advanced knowledge of psychology gained from my one semester of Psych 101 about 30 years ago, my diagnosis is that after the fall, she was completely dependent on them for help for several weeks, and she now resents her own inability to care for herself, and is desperately afraid of a time when she will be even less able to care for herself, and will become dependent on others. It must be very, very difficult.
I don't know what to do for her. I really don't. We're far away, and are unable to help her on a daily basis. We've talked about the possibility of converting the garage into an apartment and having her come here to live, but I know she will NEVER do it. She is too stubborn and set in her ways. I'm afraid the brunt of her future caretaking will fall to my brother-in-law Tony, and sister-in-law Niki.
And so I am choosing not to think about this right now. I'm just going to stick my head back in its hole, and focus on the good aspects of our trip to New York. Just the good...
Jude and Pop got in some serious bonding time. With Mommy so out of it, Pop really picked up the slack and had fun with the boy. Jude is finally at an age when he and Pop can sit and have long, meaningful conversations about life and such. It was pretty adorable. Pop kept driving him around the neighborhood showing him off- they bought their Lottery tickets, they got ice cream, they picked up the dry cleaning, they went to the beach. I asked Jude once what exactly he and Grandpa were talking about, and he said "Well Mom, it's kind of personal." Which put me in my place. I gather that they talked about manly things like how to treat a lady, the importance of family, being a man of integrity. We're talking big life issues here. When we were leaving, Pop gave me this envelope...
It's their tickets from the Long Island Ducks baseball game they went to, sealed in an envelope with a note. Pop has instructed me that Jude is to open it when he dies. This is very, very Poplike, the man loves melodrama. It's also terribly dear.
We are SO lucky to have our Long Island friends living only three doors away. They are just the most hospitable, fun, easy-going people. Ray is full of fun, kid-friendly ideas and is ALWAYS up for an outing, Jenny is game for pretty much anything and always has a cup of good coffee ready for me, and Jude and Mia get along super well, they're like cousins. And their pool is a godsend.
I truly adore my brother and sister-in-law. And they truly adore and dote on Jude. It is so good to have family who you really trust and know they've got your back. And your kid's back. And Niki and I can vent about the family to each other! It's a good thing.
I can't tell you how much I love that I've reconnected with Lannyl, my college roommate who lives with her family in Manhattan. One sad side effect of moving far away from where you grew up, is that you don't find many people who are just like you. Of course it's nice to be around a diverse group of people who aren't like you, but sometimes you just want to be with somebody who shares your sensibilities and likes and dislikes and upbringing. We're both Texas girls who have moved to big cities and put aside excellent and promising careers to raise their kids. We both love our kids and love being moms, but both have busy and creative minds full of ideas which must be expressed. We're both powerhouse doers - between the two of us, we could probably run a small country very efficiently. And we both love a good Sauvignon Blanc. The other day, she was telling me about a weird "sense memory" she has every time she smells this particular Lily of the Valley hand cream. She started to say the words "When I was a little girl, I had..." and I finished her sentence for her. "...a Little Kiddle Kologne doll!" And we were both kind of stunned that we shared this obscure pop culture reference, which we both thought of every time we smell Lilies of the Valley...
She's just like me.
Feeling like I'm not an orphan
With both of my parents dead, it's an incredible blessing to have old people who love and take care of and parent me. When Jude and I were leaving for the airport, Pop, Mommy and Aunt Grace each took me aside and secretly stuffed a wad of cash in my hand, each telling me not to tell the other two. I felt very cared for.
A million kisses
Mommy does this thing to Jude which she always calls giving him "a million kisses". She grabs him and gives him these rapid fire kisses right on the neck. This year, Jude marveled at the speed with which Mommy delivers these million kisses, it really is kind of amazing. And he decided "It's like Grandma is a machine gun of love!"
So those are all good things. Jude is back to school, which is also a good thing. I guess it's all good.