I had never thought to make a list of questions I don’t want to be asked in the presence of my mother. That is, not until my mother took me to a hometown ER for the first time in my adult life this past Saturday.
Upon my arrival in triage, the ER nurse spoke.
“What is your weight? Please step on the scale.”
WEIGHED IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER? THANKS DUDE-NURSE.
I wobbled in that direction–partly from illness, mostly from dread. I had been sick for about three days, but unfortunately my appetite for Christmas cookies was unaffected. My weight, a number carefully hidden from Mom, would soon be revealed. Continue reading →
“…so when you cry, the tears just get pushed around.”
“We were a mess…”
“…that’s probably why our lunch was comped.”
With Mom and me on either side of him at the table, Dad’s head swerved left, right, and back again. His wife and his daughter, talking about the lunch weeks earlier, at the same restaurant table, when they reluctantly considered the possibility of the future without him.
“But you’re here with us now.”
“We’re so happy.”
During our exchange, I watched hints of emotion flicker across Dad’s face. He seemed to enjoy being the center of our small family’s attention. But maybe I saw a trace of guilt too. Maybe. For making us worry? I don’t know.
My mother’s first breath after crossing the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn today was a sigh. She wishes I lived in Manhattan, I know. She tells me every chance she gets.
As Mom drove north on Havemeyer toward my apartment, I saw Williamsburg through her eyes: graffiti, old unpretty buildings, men with weird facial hair weaving in and out of traffic on bikes, more graffiti. I get it. She doesn’t see what I see and I have stopped trying to persuade her of my neighborhood’s charms.