Monday, June 30, 2008

Because I Haven't Shopped or Shipped

Dear Mom,

It's your birthday! Happy! Happy! If it was my birthday, you'd have already shopped and shipped, (you've such a knack for forethought,) and I'd have a fabulous birthday package waiting for me. But it's your birthday. And I have neither shopped nor shipped (I've a tremendous knack for procrastination,) so you won't have a package waiting for you this afternoon. I feel bad about that. But I also feel bad about the fact that I spent the bulk of last week trying to keep vomit from landing on carpeted surfaces and scrubbing the evidence of irritated bowels from the insides of my toilets while you lounged on the veranda and floated in the tropical lagoon of the Sheraton on Kona. Hopefully your week in paradise will keep on giving, thereby easing the sting of the no-gift-from-Emily disappointment.

I have been thinking about you, though. I'm always thinking about you. How can I help but think of you when evidence of your love lies in my closet (those "perfect T's" you just sent -- I'm wearing one today, stretched amusingly snug over my gigantic belly.) My cupboards (the crock pot, the dishes, the recipe book you sent me to college with.) My child's closet (the cowboy boots, which are now too small for Henry, but which he insists on saving for his baby sister -- funny!) On my bathroom counter (the yummy soap.) Atop my nightstand (that fabulous book; I'm almost done with it.) I think it's safe to assume, from these many kind tokens, that you're often thinking of me, too? (I know you are.)

I'm sorry I woke you from your birthday morning slumber with a question about online Schwab transactions. I couldn't help it. I was thinking about you (see above.) I seem to have acquired something of a Pavlovian instinct, here's how it works -- Stimulus: Anything (a problem, a question, something wonderful, a panic.) Response: Call Mom. And I do. Even when I know it's your birthday and the call will wake you up. And you always have just the right thing to say. And, better still, you know when I don't want you to say anything. And you just listen 'til my rant about nesting, or the c-section nightmare, or how I said the "S" word at my husband, is over. And then you help distract me with a brighter-note question, like: "So, what do you have to look forward to this week?" You're so clever like that.

I told you on the phone this morning about all of my anxieties surrounding my upcoming life-change (i.e. birth of child number two.) And the list is not short. But do you know what is my twinkle of cheer? My little patch of azure in all the heavy clouds of impending change? My you-can-do-this token that shimmers at the bottom of the murky pond of change? My something to look forward to?

It's you.

It's the fact that you'll be here. To help, to talk, to watch movies, to cook, to shop, to clean, to sit, to love me and help me love my babies (TWO of them!) -- and that you'll know, without me even telling you, just how I want everything done. And you'll do it better and faster than I ever could.

And you'll do it all with a happy, willing heart (even in spite of the fact that I didn't regale you with a timely birthday package.) And then you'll go home, and between your online classes and sundry responsibilities, you'll fill your time with thoughts of other people--kids, strangers, friends, dad. Reading to the old ladies, helping strangers get their teeth fixed, rescuing young mothers from impending insanity, feeding friends, hosting parties. It's what you do best; you dazzle at selflessness. And somehow, even with all that giving, in a way that is quite paradoxical, you are remarkably whole, balanced, and sure. A real life example of one who has lost her life (the self-serving and vain parts of it) for many peoples' sakes -- and has (hopefully) found it anew -- brighter, fuller, deeper and better.

In this way, and in all the ways that matter, really...I want to be just like you when I grow up.

I love you, mom.
Happy Day,


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