Daily Prompt: In Loving Memory and The Last Word

OK, it’s  kinda creepy to write my own obit but I used to write copy at a local TV station and one of my jobs was to call the county and troll the newspapers (way before the internet) to learn  if anybody “important” had died and write the obit so this is not a new concept to me. It’s also a device therapists use to prove some kind of point in couples therapy–I’m not sure what exactly, as I’ve never been to therapy, although many have suggested it! And I do mean many.

Princess Rosebud of Enchanted Seashells is dead. Her stupid ass tugboat captain husband went out to sea and never came home. She was polishing her ten-carat diamond purchased with the insurance money, took a good look at it under the loupe to make sure there wasn’t any dirt in the crevices, tripped over one of her many cats; the diamond flew into the air, her mouth opened to scream, good old gravity caused the trajectory of the diamond to end up in her open mouth, and she choked on it and died.  When her son finally called the police to make a welfare check, the body was unrecognizable because the   eight cats and six dogs had been VERY hungry. The good news is that the swallowed diamond was left intact and looked none the worse for wear.

I Am The Portion Police, The Food Nazi, Also a Member of the One Percent

I am the self-designated portion control policewoman around here. I really don’t like to use the word “nazi” to describe myself for obvious reasons, so I will now and forevermore be known as the portion regulator, which is prob more accurate. I am the one who doles out specific serving sizes and amounts to my family. Or as my husband calls me, herr field marshall. I’m not really sure how I came to wear this mantle. Maybe it’s because over time, I watched those around me eat bags of chips, unlimited cookie consumption, handfuls and jowlfuls of nuts, and I had to put a stop to it.  For my husband, it’s because I tell him he’s no longer 25 and his metabolism is not the same as it once was (nothing is). He simply can’t eat like he used to. None of us can. I dole out his snacks into the approved amounts; 2o almonds, 10 chips, 2 cookies–and tell him he needs to be satisfied with what IS there and not complain about what is NOT there. The day has long passed when he can have two ice cream bars in a row.

On the other hand, my son has that freaky metabolism that burns calories the minute he starts chewing. He can and does eat all day. I do hate him for that. I really do. It’s not fair. It really isn’t.

Here’s a true story. It enters potentially dangerous territory involving a MIL and a DIL but I think we both handled it in an adult manner. Well, you be the judge. I’ve had a gin-gin (Tanqueray and diet ginger ale) along with a glass of wine, so I might not be the best judge of anything. (BTW, all consumed at home; we don’t drink and drive.)

Once upon a time, my daughter-in-law was visiting. Since I only have a son, I never really had the fun shopping experiences with a daughter that I had with my own mom. When DIL comes to town, we always try to have a shopping day, which is a win-win for both of us. We shop, I buy. This particular day, we were in Encinitas on the 101, where there are a multitude of shops from a global marketplace to a couple of consignment stores and boutiques. We were in a boutique and each picked out a cute summery shirt. If I remember correctly, hers was a tangerine orange that totes complemented her beautiful skin tones, and I chose one in a peacock greeny-blue with birds all over. As I paid for them, S spied a dish of hard candies on the counter. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as her hand reached up to grab one, unwrap it, and stuff it in her mouth. Without blinking an eye, I finished the financial transaction, turned to her, and said, “Spit it out.” I said, “You most definitely do not need to eat pure sugar that’s going to go directly to your pancreas, empty calories that are not necessary and contain no nutritional value at all. Just spit it out now.” “But there’s no where to put it” (She kind of whined here, sorry S, but you did.) “Just spit it in my hand. That’s what moms are for.” We all know that moms’ hands are the repository for old gum and other gross stuff, right? And so she did, my Ph.D. DIL, I am so proud of her and so pleased that she really did spit it in my hand. I felt like such a mom! She’s also a real lover of “crisps”. That’s UK SPK for chips, potato chips, any kind of chips. When she was here a couple weeks ago, I watched her (like a hawk) open the Trader Joe’s Veggie Chips and thrust her freshly manicured hand in and commence consuming massive amounts of chips while we were chatting about whatever. I grabbed the bag with her hand in mid-grasp, and pried the chips (crisps) away from her. I placed an appropriate amount in a bowl and implored her to savor every bite and become conscious of the flavors so that she wasn’t eating without thinking.

Oh, and she’s beautiful, in great physical shape, very strong, lots of endurance for hiking and biking and surfing; it’s simply that I’m very health-aware and want everyone in my family to function at their peak performance level. Plus, I admit I’m a bit of a bossy pants… I’ve also been told I’d make a great drill sergeant. Hmm. Not sure what to read between the lines on that one. 

I can’t imagine what you’re thinking right now. Do you have similar tales to tell, or am I on this rock all by myself?

Maybe it’s because I’m only five feet tall, but I find a high level of tolerance, like a Pekinese or Chihuahua that barks at a St. Bernard or a German Shepherd and the larger dogs just look at the tiny one in astonishment, like they can’t believe what they’re witnessing.

1%

I am now in the one percent club. In a moment of weakness, the captain revealed to me that he listens to only about ten percent (10%!!!) of what I say and I disagreed, telling him he actually listens to only about 1% at the best of times, so now I am officially a one percenter.

On that note, have a great Friday evening, and don’t drink and drive.

Being a mom is forever

The horrific tragedy in Colorado got me thinking about being a mother.

Before I even had my son, which was more than thirty years ago, a friend told me that after having children, “your life is not your own”. Ever again. And that is so true.

You are forever changed. Your job isn’t completed at the arbitrary age of eighteen or twenty-one, or even thirty-one.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my baby boy, what he’s doing at that exact moment, if he’s OK, and I wonder if there’s anything I should be worrying about.

Right now he’s in Berlin, teaching a summer immersion course in German. (Have I mentioned that he has a Ph.D. from Yale? Yeah, I’m an obnoxiously proud mom.)

I wonder about the young man’s mother, did they think that as long as he was in a Ph.D. program that they could now be finished with parental duties, breathe a sigh of relief, feel their work was done?

Having a child is a never-ending process.

Maybe this is a call to action for more attachment parenting, more involvement–not less. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I was probably a helicopter mom, probably still am, and now I feel even more certain about the rightness of my own parenting theories. Validated. My reward is hoping that if my son ever did have a psychotic break like this poor boy so obviously is suffering from, that I would have been aware of it, I would have felt it—somehow.

That’s not too far off.

I remember a few years ago I awoke from a bad dream where my son had broken his glasses and was wandering around, scared because he couldn’t see where he was. (He’s got pretty bad vision, thanks to me as it’s a cross-genetic recessive gene). He was on vacation in the UK at the time, and I emailed him as soon as I woke up, “…are you OK, had a bad dream, etc.”

When he called, he told me that same day he had fallen and broken his glasses and they were taped up, and he wished he had listened to me and brought an extra pair of glasses in case something like this happened.

The rest of the scenario is that his girlfriend’s (now wife’s) sister had taken him pub crawling and he was not a very experienced drinker and had more than he should have (I’m still upset about that!!)

Regardless, I knew he was in trouble and if I had not spoken with him, I would not have let it go, I would have made calls, not given up, and there is a real possibility that I would have even gotten on a plane.

I’m not kidding. I think my motto as a mom is to be “ever vigilant”.

This was not a one–time telepathic experience. I have these “feelings” every so often, and I’ve learned to not ignore them.

I don’t think I’m all that special, I think I just pay attention to things that a lot of people dismiss.

Anyway, I’m not diminishing the ghastly violent crime and the pain he caused so many families, not to mention the whole gun ownership debate, but I think there is a very sad explanation, and the young man who did it needs help.

He was once his mommy’s little boy and something went horribly, terribly wrong.