If I could, I’d Miss Him.

img_69265 years old:

I stood and stared, for hours, out of the window of our New York apartment building waiting for my father to show up. It was my birthday. He never showed up. I don’t remember much about New York, but I remember looking out of that window for a long time. I remember waiting.

6 years old:

We moved to Georgia. My mom, my two sisters, and me. I only think about my father when people ask. We have a step dad, but I don’t know where my father is.

12 years old:

I’m pretty good at not thinking about my father. Years have gone by, and he doesn’t cross my mind. I don’t even remember what he looks like, and I don’t care. He obviously doesn’t care about me. I don’t care about him either.

17 years old:

My sister asks, “Have you ever thought about finding your father?”

No. Why would I try to find him, he’s never cared about me.

She asks, “What if he did find you?”

It doesn’t matter. It’s too late. Why would he care now? Why should I care?

28 years old:

Maybe I should find my father. I, at least, need my medical history. Nah, forget it. I don’t care.

36 years old:

My sister finds my father’s son, my half-brother, through Facebook.  My sisters remember him. I don’t. I guess I was too young.

I learn that my father died when I was about 9 years old. On his death bed he told his son and daughter, “you have a sister, find her.”

I learn that his wife, their mother, didn’t want him to have anything to do with me. I get her disdain. I was a reminder that my father cheated and had a child with another woman. My father had to sneak to spend time with me. Sometimes he could show up when he said he would, other times he never showed up.

Mom didn’t know why he was sneaking to come see me. His sporadic visits, sometimes unannounced, worried her. She feared he was going to try to kidnap me. She got a job offer in Georgia and left without leaving any contact information.

41 years old

It’s Father’s Day, and I’m trying not to think about my father. . . again.

It makes me cry to think that I spent so many years angry at him. I wish I knew more about him.  I try to understand my mother’s fear and her decisions.

I wonder how things would have turned out if he’d communicated a bit more. If mom wasn’t so scared.

All this is pointless. He’s gone. This is all past. Why cry over the past?

I try not to think about my father again.

Relationships Like Checking Accounts

Piggy bank

Recently I heard someone explaining the key to having good relationships and friendships, and they compared it to a checking account.

Once you’ve established an account, you want to make sure the account stays in the positive and that it grows over time.

Your account grows by making consistent positive deposits, and always depositing more than you withdraw. I think in a relationship deposits would be time spent together, making time for lunch, laughing together, nice gestures or gifts just because.

Think about it, if you withdraw or take and take from an account, with rarely any deposits, eventually you will be overdrawn and you will suffer serious negative consequences.

We’ve all known a taker. Someone who never contributes to the relationship, but just needs, or wants something from you all the time. Or someone who’s always close to over drawn. It never ends well.  We don’t tend to stay in relationships like that very long. Sometimes constant withdrawals become more than we can recover and its time to end the friendship.

Thinking about the friends I’ve had over the years, I can see it. My most special friends consistently make positive deposits into the friendship account. They remember birthdays, listen when you need an ear, drop what they are doing when they see you need a shoulder to lean on. They deposit more than they withdraw.

I wonder how they see me as a friend. Am I in the positive or am I overdrawn.  I wonder how I can make more positive deposits with those who mean most to me.

Mom’s Obsession With 3-D Glasses

My mom is easy to make happy. Brunch, dinner, shopping (window shopping), a movie or  a new plant will usually make her day. Every now and then we make time some of this and have a mother/daughter date.

Her favorite thing to do is watch a good movie. You can count on her to go watch a movie with you when no one else wants to go. Especially if it’s 3-D. She loves everything 3-D so much that  she is always planning for the day that we get a 3-D television.

By planning, I mean she hoards the movie theater glasses. I cannot for the life of me get her to put those glasses in the recycle bin. Her first argument is that we paid for them so we need to keep them. Her next argument is, “Mí híja! We need them for when we get a 3-D TV!”

“But mom, if we buy a 3-D TV, it will come with glasses.” I try to reason, “They don’t all work the same, just put them in the recycle bin.”

Mom gets angry every time I try to get her to give up those glasses. She bought them and she’s keeping them.

Now if I were to tell my friend Kaye Kaye about the 3-D glasses issue, she’d say, “Come on Sylvia, if it makes her happy, what’s wrong with letting her keep the glasses.”

Kaye Kaye always makes good sense and it’s the advice she gave when mom wanted to fill the house and yard with fake plants a few years ago. I gave in on that one, and surprisingly she got tired of the fake plants and learned to care of real ones. So maybe 3-D glasses won’t be a problem, right?

One day, we headed out for one of our mother/daughter outings. As soon as we left the driveway, our usual conversation began.

“What are we doing mom?”

She drives and shrugs, “I don’t know, mí híja, what do you want to do?”

I decide, “Let’s eat first. What do you want to eat?”

Another shrug, “What do YOU want to eat?”

If you’ve ever been on a date you know this conversation. It’s not one I expect to have with mom, but maybe this conversation is not limited to just boyfriends and girlfriends.

This time the conversation was different, though, because mom kept getting distracted from the normal script with complaints about her eyes.

“I think I need to see a doctor mí híja. My eyes are hurting me today.”

I ask “How so?” As I stare out the passenger window looking for a restaurant that might appeal to our different tastes.

“Everything looks different. Do you see something you want to eat?”

Not yet.

“What about a buffet?” She asks. Mom loves an all you can eat buffet. She’s 4.9 inches tall. A little tiny woman, but a buffet is like a challenge to her. She’ll put down 3 or 4 plates in less than an hour, and somehow still stay tiny. It may be that she grew up so soon after our country was recovering from the great depression, but mom was raised to get her money’s worth out of everything. At a buffet, that means you get your value by eating way more than what they expect you to.

“No, I don’t want to eat that much right now.” I say and then I listen to another complaint her eyes.

I’m not sure if it was the third or forth complaint about her eyes that finally made me look at her, but when I finally turned to really look at her… I yelled.

“OH MY GOD, MOM! PULL OVER!”

“WHAT?!? What? What’s wrong?” She yells.

“Mom, these aren’t sunglasses! They are 3-D glasses!”

So fixing mom’s vision was pretty easy. We just had to take the 3-D glasses off. We still go on mother/daughter outings, and I still can’t get her to recycle 3-D glasses. I don’t even argue anymore, I just make sure I’m driving, and if she’s about to drive somewhere alone we just double check those glasses.  Hopefully, she doesn’t confuse them for shades again, but if you ever find yourself driving around in the Georgia/Florida area—Be careful. She’s out there.

Be nice. Your Life Depends on it.

It seems that I am not the nicest person when I wake in the morning or when roused from sleep at anytime.

While most people need a few minutes, hours even, to get their thoughts together when the first rolling out of bed. I’ve learned I have to work on being nice–I’ve learned, from my mom, that my life depends on it.

One morning, after a long and restful sleep, I walked outside to find trees fallen across the road, limbs and branches littered through my yard. It seems that a heck of a storm passed through while I slept. I was amazed at the damage. When did this happen?

I walked back into the house and asked mom if she knew that there’d been a storm last night, and she flooded me with details of the night:

“Oh, Mí híja! I was so scared. The thunder was shaking the house, and there were warnings for the tornadoes.  I prayed and prayed and when it got really bad, I took the myself and the dog to the hallway. You know, where you said to go if there is ever a tornado. I was on the floor, hugging the dog and praying.”

I didn’t remember any of it. “Mom,  I guess I slept right through it. Did I say anything when you tried to wake me up?”

“No, mí híja,” she shook her head. ” You are angry when you wake up. I let you sleep.”

I looked at my mom for a few seconds, “So you’re saying the storm was so bad you were frightened for your life, you got yourself and the dog to safety, but you let me sleep because I’m grouchy when I wake up?”

“Yes, mí híja, I am not waking you up. If it’s your time to go, then it’s your time time to go. I will just pray for you.”