I just crawled into my own bed. Ginger and I took a whirlwind trip home yesterday to see mom after more than nine weeks.
I wasn't surprised when I saw her. She's frail and definitely missing her glasses (and some other things) a bit more than usual, but I'm hopeful she's improving. What's a little hard is the MIA gusto. This morning I made her breakfast (a pathetic one, at that). Last night, I went in and questioned her cough well after bedtime. Ya know, the pizza doesn't order itself.
Don't think we didn't get a few glimpses. She yelled at me for trying to pay (twice). She let (willingly invited) Ginger invade her bed this morning for early cartoons, giving me another hour of sleep. She confessed to having made biscuits and gravy the night before at 3 am; she was hungry. Today, she and G whipped up a bowl of frosting for sugar cookies, which they decorated together. Indeed we drove away through the plains with a tub of sugar in tow. That felt about right.
Last night we lazed around while dad and I talked serious and mom untangled Ginger's messy post-bath hair. It was pretty normal. Today was stunningly sunny and quite warm. I was hesitant to come back to my real home until I got here. It's so hard leaving.
Because I can't sit still, I began the epically overdue task of cleaning my old bedroom closet. It's a smorgasborg of books, notes and papers from college, prom and bridesmaid dresses, Ginger's toys, ski clothes, graffiti, and a few too many ghosty slits into my life. When I moved to New York in 2001, I basically came home and stashed all my stuff from college. Then I got on a plane. And, I never came back.
I found two shoe boxes of bills and handwritten notes from story leads and phone numbers of contacts I may or may not have called. I found my parents' wedding album. I found postcards and news clippings and jobs I applied for in L.A. (wha?) and a horrifying eighth grade promotion dress. I still have a Jim Morrison poster tacked up next to a dozen swimsuits from lifeguard days and my dried wedding bouquet.
I saved the good photos and boxed up the books I clearly meant to keep. Threaded across everything -- from a fifth grade rubbermaid tub I still believe will endure to high school and college madness captured in photos to letters from my much missed Grandma Esther (instructing me to not go out at night in NYC) -- there she is: my mom. She either bought it or shot it or posed in it or made it or intended to make it or fought it or planned it or sewed it or questioned it or walked me through it.
As they say, she's all over it.