The Final Curtain

 

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This is a true story that happened over 13 years ago.

 

“Say your goodbye,” the emergency room doctor suggested, his eyes brimming with compassion. But the deep wrinkles etched across his brow revealed the weariness of all the pain and death they had witnessed behind the hastily drawn curtain.

Say your goodbye.

The beeping of machines dissolved into the background. The relentless ticktock of the clock on the ER wall paused as if waiting for my response. I felt myself sinking into black nothingness. My fingers shook as I clasped her limp hand and traced her wedding ring, its sharp edges jolting me awake. The abyss beckoned me: Don’t be afraid! Lean in! Peer into the darkness!

Say your goodbye.

I leaned over to kiss her pale cheek for one last time. I knew my mother was minutes away from leaving her body, but never expected the stark coldness, the unforgiving finality, the emptiness lying beneath my lips.

I wasn’t sure what to do next. I never had the chance to say goodbye to my dying dad. How do you say goodbye? What do I say? Thanks? Thanks for raising me? For teaching me hard lessons? I’ll see you again someday? Catch you on the flip side? Don’t go? Don’t leave me here all alone? Fear gripped my heart, squeezing the air out of my lungs. I was suffocating right along with my mother. A torrent of tears spilled down from my eyes onto her face. My entire body shook as I held onto her hand.  I can’t do this alone. I can’t do this. I can’t say goodbye. I’m not ready.

“Mom…I love you,” I sputtered into the abyss.

“I’m…..fine….don’t….worry,” my mother gasped, her breath gurgling between each word. “I love you…tell….your brothers…I love them.” She closed her eyes.

This was it. I can’t believe she’s dying. My mom! Dying! It’s just not real. It can’t be real. An ER nurse gently ushered me away from my mother as the doctor closed the curtain around the stretcher once again. She walked me to a small windowless waiting room separate from the larger waiting room outside the ER. This must be the private room for family members waiting for someone to die? Will they move me to an even smaller room when they tell me she’s dead? “We will try and get her stable,” the nurse said. “For now just wait in here. I’ll come get you if anything happens.”

It was midnight. Only bad things happen at midnight.

Only a few hours before I was drifting off to sleep next to my snoring husband and one-year-old son in our upstairs bedroom. A heavy rain pounded on the roof of our house. Without warning, I felt the atmosphere shift; the particles in the air pulsing and bright. Something is off, the universe whispered. Something big is happening.  Electricity surged through my body. The only other time I’ve felt this way was the night my dad suddenly died in a hospital bed 3,000 miles away.

I sat up, listening intently to the steady thrumming of the rain above our heads. I nudged my husband awake. “What was that? Do you hear that?”

“What? I don’t hear anything,” my husband whispered. “It’s just the rain. It’s nothing.” He rolled over to snore again.

But the rain wasn’t right; the wind urgent. Something was wrong.

I crept down the hallway and stairs into the dark kitchen. I wasn’t sure why I was checking, but I knew I had to check. An unseen force propelled me to walk through the kitchen to the door leading to our attached garage. I slowly opened the door, the wind howling outside in response. A low grown escaped from the shadows on the floor. There was my mom, lying on the bottom steps below her in-law apartment above the garage.

“I…can’t…breathe,” she whispered, her tiny frail body wrapped in her nightgown and bathrobe. She was still clutching her phone in one hand. She had managed to make her way down the steps to get help, but didn’t have the energy to remain standing long enough to knock on my door.

Now I was in a hospital, with my mother and The Abyss hiding a few feet away behind a thin white curtain. Soon two of my older brothers arrived and we waited, the foggy early morning hours bleeding into each other. Finally, a nurse entered the “Waiting For Death” room where we had sat for hours like stone statues. “She’s turned a corner! She’s stable!” she informed us.

We were stunned. The ER doctor suggested many times to me that she would probably die that night as she was drowning in her own fluids, her lungs almost completely filled from the congestive heart failure. But now she was suddenly stable. “If you hadn’t found her when you did…” he said to me, his voice trailing off.

My mom almost died that night back in 2003. I said my final goodbye, but the universe had other ideas. They transferred her to Maine Medical Center in Portland and a week later she underwent a quintuple bypass and valve replacement surgery at the age of 69. After the ten hour operation, she emerged feeling like a new woman. “I have a new heart now!” she told me in recovery. The surgeon informed us the average lifespan after such a surgery was 10 years.

Of course, her Mainer stubbornness proved him wrong. I’m thankful to have spent an additional 13 years with my mother and counting. She’s 83 now and enjoys relatively excellent health. I’ve let a lot of things go since she almost died. Peering into the abyss will do that to you. Our once stormy relationship has softened over the years to one of forgiveness, respect, and love.

Often we talk about those final moments; the time she was almost pulled over the edge. I’ve asked her more than once if it hurt to not be able to breathe, or if she was scared to die.

“Oh no, not at all,” she insists. “There was no pain. It was very peaceful. I saw your dad, you know. He was standing at the foot of my bed with two really big angels on either side of him. I knew I would be okay. Not scared at all. I was ready to go.”

I’ve seen death up close before when I was 21 and viewed my dad’s lifeless body lying in a coffin. I’ve carried the burden of not being present when he left us. I felt cheated out of saying goodbye to him. Yet the years of guilt, anger and sadness gradually faded away, transforming into acceptance and gratitude.

I don’t know why I went out to the garage that night. But the universe has a way of balancing things out. Saying my last goodbye to my mom that rainy October night prepared me again for the final curtain. I know when the time truly comes for my mom or me, I’ll be ready to jump into that abyss with less fear and more love.

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It’s the End of the World as I Know It (And I Feel Slightly Uneasy)

As some of you are well aware, there are certain undeniable signs the End Times are near:

  • Oceans turn blood red.
  • Locusts! It’s raining locusts!
  • Leggings are a thing now.
  • Leggings! It’s raining leggings!

But recently I’ve witnessed another sign that it’s time to make peace with my maker.

My mom is on Facebook.

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Just to give you some perspective — she has never used a computer, doesn’t know what the Internet is, and once had a lengthy conversation with a robocaller about her bowel issues.

It all started when my extremely misguided brother bought her a Kindle for Christmas. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he installed the Facebook app and set up her account. Then — here’s what sent chills down my spine — SHE SENT ME A FRIEND REQUEST.

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Darla? ARE YOU THERE, DARLA?! I KNOW YOU’RE THERE! Hurry up! I could die waiting for you to friend me! Do you want me to die friendless, Darla?

My 83-year-old mother. The one who talks my ear off nonstop about gluten and loves Garth Brooks but thinks his wife’s chest is “too chesty and probably full of gluten”.

Now she can see all my stuff on Facebook. (gasp) She might even notice I have a blog. And that I’ve shamelessly used her as blog fodder for a few cheap laughs. Like this post. (ahem)

OH GOOD GOD! It’s like when the two worlds of George collided on Seinfeld. I need to keep things separate, people! Separate! Jeezum crow!

My husband tried to calm me down. “She won’t go on Facebook, trust me. She doesn’t even know how to turn on the Kindle yet!”

That night the phone rang. It was my mom. She wanted me to come over right away and help her “get on that page with all the people on it.”

Later, as I sat in her kitchen looking down at her Kindle, the smell of rice cakes burning in the toaster wafting through the 85-degree air, things got tense right away.

“Oh god! This Facebook is too much for my brain! I just don’t get it! And they keep changing the pictures on me! First there was a dog wearing a tie and now there’s a stupid video on how to make cereal! And they keep showing me a friend of a friend I don’t give a rat’s ass about! I mean, who in the hell IS THIS?! I wish I could get rid of them but I don’t know how!”

Then my mom entered the room.

“Did ya get me on that face thing yet?” she asked, biting into a blackened rice cake.

So this is how it all ends. With my mom leaving messages on my wall for everyone to see.

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slide1The next day I was sitting in my car waiting for my son when it happened. A Facebook notification. My mom had “liked” a photo I put up on my wall years ago. Great — not only is my mom “liking” all my personal stuff — she’s a stalker.

Time to erase my entire blog after this post.

Mom for President 2020

 

 

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My 82-year-old mother is running for POTUS. She figured she’d kick off her campaign immediately because, as she put it, “I might die in my sleep tonight.”

Also, The View is on at 2 pm.

I think she’ll win in a landslide. After all, she came up with a pretty sweet slogan:

Nagging We Can Believe In!

(It was either that or Well, I Guess The World Is Pumping A Handcart To Hell, Now Eat Your Damned Veggies Or You’ll Get Buttlogged)

Some of the things she promises to do once in office (and only if I take her shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop later this week):

  • Redecorate. The more doilies, cat knickknacks, and miniature Elvis figurines the better.
  • Require all thermostats to be set at 80 degrees. If the temperature falls to 79 degrees — Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock get blown up.
  • All state dinners will be gluten-free and served at 3:30 sharp.
  • Deport all of the “Karbuncles” unless they “for god’s sake, cover up!” Same goes for anyone else showing even a hint of “chest crack” in public.

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    Kim doing her part for a kinder, gentler, less chest-cracky nation.
  • Make sure every vending machine in the nation carries rice cakes, prune juice and Sanka.
  • Vice President: Oprah.
  • Surgeon General: Dr. Oz
  • Secretary of State: Tony Bennett
  • Supreme Court justice: Betty White
  • Foreign policy: Sit up straight.
  • Domestic policy: Get a real job.
  • New national holiday celebrated from January 1st through December 31st: Happy Call Your Mother, Because You Never Know She Might Be Choking On A Rice Cake And Lying On The Floor Unable To Turn Up The Heat And You Don’t Want That On Your Conscience, Now Do You? Day
  • At every meeting, all world leaders will be required to wear a cat sweater. Because how could you possibly argue about climate change with someone who is wearing a cat sweater?

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So please, vote for my mom in four years. And would it kill you to eat some broccoli? Jeez.

Keeping Up With My Mom

I live next door to my 82-year-old mother. She has never driven a car, loves to read New Age books, and lives for the moment her mail is delivered. Five other notable things about her:

  1. She eats her hamburger in between two toasted (burnt to a crisp) rice cakes because she’s “probably allergic to gluten”.
  2. She once thought my late dad was communicating to her through her smoke detector.
  3. She firmly believes in the afterlife and brings up her own imminent death at least once a day.  (Then why bother with the rice cakes?)

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    My mom asking the waitress, “Yes, I’d like the hamburger but without the bun. Do you have any rice cakes? And could you turn this music down? How am I supposed to think about what I can’t eat with all this racket!”
  4. There is nothing she hates more than when I try to assist her in any way, especially when I try to help bring her groceries inside.  If I pick up her bag, I’d better be prepared for an onslaught of dirty looks and her yelling, “Jeezum crow, Darla! I’m not THAT old for Chrissakes! GOOD LORD! GIVE ME THAT BAG! GIVE IT TO ME!” Her normal speaking voice has the ability to cut through steel. So when she starts screaming at me, and wrestling the bag out of my hands, every neighbor within a five mile radius must assume I’m accosting a poor old lady in an attempt to steal her rice cakes. And she is always fixated on the location and condition of the eggs. Apparently, all hell would break loose if one were cracked in transit.  “Did you get my eggs, Darla? Did you bring them in the house? Which one is the eggs? Be careful with that bag! That might be my eggs!” I often reply with, “Oh, the eggs? I slammed that bag against the house a couple of times on my way in. Then swung it around like a windmill while pounding it onto the floor before I gave it a good stomping. I think they’ll be fine.” She never laughs at that bit of sarcasm.
  5. She thinks most female celebrities are cursed with “chests that are too big”. To her, this is something to hide not flaunt.

Celebrity chests and death were (once again) the main topics of conversation when she called me on the phone yesterday to chat about the typical stuff: politics, TV shows, whether we’re a ball of light after we die.

My mom is a huge talker, so all conversations are one-sided. She’s been known to interrupt herself. She could break the world record for speaking the longest nonstop without pausing for even a single breath.

The great thing about my mom is she honestly has no clue that what she says is funny. I’m barely able to enjoy a good guffaw in response because she’s already onto the next zinger. She’s also gifted at dropping a funny observation, then following it up with a heavy topic about the nature of our universe and the afterlife some philosophers spend their entire lives contemplating.

Mom: And you know what show I can’t stand? That Karbuncles crap.

Me: The what?

Mom (exasperated): Keeping Up with the Karbuncles!
Slide1Everyone just LOVES that show! And you know why? It’s all about their big chests! Yes! And because it’s illegal to show the nipple area, they have to show the crack instead. I’d rather see the nipple. And there’s a whole bunch of chest crack on that show. The bigger the crack, the better. On some of those girls, that’s all you see! This long crack hanging down to their stomachs! It’s because they don’t wear bras, Darla. Remember: always wear your bra or you’ll turn into a Karbuncle.

Me (laughing): I’ll keep that in mind–

Mom (without pausing): I just finished another book on what happens after we die. What do you think?

Me: Well, I–

Mom: Do you think we’re just a ball of light? What do you think I’ll look like on the other side? Will I be myself or someone else? I’d better not be a Karbuncle! I think I must have lived lots of lives before. And once I’m dead, do you think I can I split up my energy? Be in more than one place at a time? I was thinking, I might stay on the other side, but I might come down here to haunt you. I’ll talk to you all the time from the other side!

Me: Uh…I don’t know if that’s a good idea-

Mom: The mail’s here! (hangs up)

I know I should come up with a clever closing line to this post that neatly ties up the Karbuncles chest crack phenomenon with the afterlife, but my mom has me stumped yet again.

And I have no clue where I get my sense of humor from.

 

Complications of the Flu May Include Extreme Deflation

I’ve been sick as a dog this past week. First my son was socked with a “flu-like virus” (which is apparently our pediatrician’s polite way of saying “you’ve got the flu”) Then he kindly passed it onto his little sister and she promptly responded by coughing directly into my mouth 150 times so I wouldn’t miss out.  Near the end of my week-long Influenzapallooza I also had the added bonus of developing bronchitis.

My husband? Not even a sniffle.

It all started when I felt a death rattle in my chest during halftime of last week’s Patriots/Colts game. I went straight to bed eager to begin spending my days writhing around in a delirium of fever, body aches and hacking cough. But at least I got to practice my moaning and groaning. I’m very good at it now.

Just yesterday the fever broke and I felt almost half-dead again. The mental brain fog lifted and I suddenly realized I had missed the ending of the Patriots game.

Did they win? Did I miss anything?

My mind still swimming in a delicious Nyquil-induced daze, I shuffled out to the living room, snuggled down on the couch in my bathrobe and clicked on the TV just in time to see my old boyfriend up there answering questions at a press conference.

635575448407943902-tom-brady-conference Aw, gosh darnit! Isn’t he adorbs in that hat? And oh wow! His chiseled dimplicious chin seems to be breaking news on every channel! Everyone must be super excited about the Pats going to the Big Game!

Then I turned up the volume.

Tom-Brady-DeflateGate-press-conference

“…when I pick those balls out… I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them.”

I looked down at the empty Nyquil bottle on the coffee table. Hmm….did I accidentally double the dose? I rubbed the cobwebs out of my eyes and tried to focus harder on what my Tommy Boy was yammering about in his super-cuddly gray sweats.

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“Everybody has a preference. Some guys like them round, some guys like them thin, some guys like them tacky, some guys like them brand new, some guys like old balls. They’re all different. … It’s a very individual thing.”

Okay. Well. Time to head back to bed. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow things will be back to normal? Or at least, less tacky-ball-ish.

That was when my 81-year-old mother (her birthday was just yesterday!) called me on the phone to give her expert take on things. (Needless to say, both of us are huge Pats fans and have been since the pre-Doug-Flutie-On-The-Wheaties-Box days.)

angry_old_woman “Did you see that damn ball thing? Jeezum crow! I mean, just who on the Colts team suddenly said, ‘Hey! I’m gonna start checking their balls!’ Yeah, like just out of the freaking blue he’s suddenly fascinated with their balls! ‘Here, let’s touch the balls! Everyone squeeze their balls! I bet their balls are soft! That’s why we’re losing!’ Why not squeeze your own gol-darn balls, huh? Why not leave the Patriots’ balls alone? We all know it’s the cold air that did it! Cold air makes them shrink! What, are they gonna have to touch every friggin ball before every friggin play now? I’d like to see that! Balls? Balls my ass!”

And there you have it, folks. Balls my ass. The final authority on this whole shrinkage catastrophe. My mom does know her balls. After all, she raised five boys.

Jeezum Crow! I’ve been Freshly Pressed!

Or as my mom would say:

You’ve been what now? Is this that evil computer thingamabob? You really should pick up a phone more and call me. I could be lying here dead in my rocking chair after having a heart attack while knitting your afghan. You know the one I’ve been working on for months in spite of my arthritic fingers. Oh how they hurt so! And this is all you care about? Freshly Pressed! I’ll give you Freshly Pressed! Jeezum crow! Where’s my friggin’ coffee?”

Not my mom, but pretty damn close.

Forgive me for writing a post about how I was Freshly Pressed, but I couldn’t help myself.  It’s been an eternity since my last FP. Why, I can’t even remember how long ago! (2 years, 3 months, 4 days)

And to know a post about my cranky  80-year-old mother and her dark cutting edge humor would be featured up there on the front page is somehow fitting. After all, I got my obnoxious sense of humor straight from her.  While my late father had the dry slow-burn wit, she has always embodied the brutally honest, in-your-face Mainah charm.

So I’d like to take this moment to thank her for letting me know life’s way too short to worry so much and almost everything in life can be funny, even death.

As we all know:

Tragedy + Time = Comedy

Or in my mom’s case:

Tragedy + Time – Sanka = Endless Blog Fodder

Love you Mom! Thanks for giving my blog so much material. I know you will never read this but I’ll be sure to tell you about it tomorrow while I’m “fixing” your remote again so you won’t miss the upcoming Dr. Oz Show on colonoscopies.

My mother. Yes, I was the daughter of Laura Ingalls.
My mother. Yes, I am the daughter of Laura Ingalls.
As you can see, the plaid apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (my beautiful mom and gram)

Thank you WordPress for featuring her, my extra-sullen grandfather and his depressed dog in the post, Happy Impending Death Day! 

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I’m still on my summer bloggy break and hopefully will be back to posting more once the hellions are back in school. In the meantime, here are a few more “Mom” post gems if you’re interested and like to take frequent guilt trips:

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk, Mom

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk Again, Mom

I’m So Sorry I Missed Your Call, Mom

I’m So Glad We Went Out to Eat, Mom

I’m So Glad You Read That Book, Mom

 

Why Tony Bennett Never Calls My Mom

My 80-year-old mother has a very full, active life. She knits. She reads. She waits for the mail.

**crickets**
**crickets**

Oh — and she constantly complains to me about receiving prerecorded scam phone calls.

“He called me again the other day!” she scowls at me over her coffee mug.

“Who? Your boyfriend Tony Bennett?” We both laugh. This joke never gets old for either of us.

He's quite dreamy.
He is quite dreamy.

“No! The ro-but!” she yells.

“Oh! You mean you got another robocall?”

“Yes! The RO-BUT!”

Greetings, earthling! This is not Tony Bennett.
Greetings, earthling! This is not Tony Bennett.

“So did you tell him off?” I giggle because I already know the answer.

“He says to me ‘Good morning Senior Citizen!’ First off — how in the hell does he know I’m a senior citizen?! UP YOURS BUDDY! That’s what I told him too!”

“I’m sure he learned his lesson then.”

“And then he has the gall to say, ‘Congrats! You’ve won an all-expense paid trip to the Bahamas! All you have to do is press number five on your phone!’ And I says to him, ‘Oh yeah? How ’bout you press THIS buddy! Huh? How do you like them apples? Is there a number I can press to tell you to go to hell? Jeezum crow!'”

Phones have always been a source of aggravation for my mom, and not just because Tony Bennett never returns her calls. Yesterday she told us a story about how when she was a child, her family didn’t even have a phone. My stunned kids asked how they communicated without texting and she explained how they had to actually walk to the neighbor’s house to talk. This blew their little minds. People used to talk back then? My little mind was blown as well.  People used to walk back then?

“Imagine! When I was a teen, we didn’t even OWN a phone!” my mom said to my kids, a look of sheer terror spreading across their faces.  “If I wanted to get together with my friend, I had to walk three blocks to her house and hope to God she was home! And heaven forbid if there was an emergency, we’d have to walk all the way over to my aunt’s house on the other side of town because she had the only phone! She was always so smug about it too. Oh how we hated her and her stupid phone!”

Such a bitch.
Such a bitch.

Back in the 1940s, my mom’s father was an accountant for L.L. Bean — the actual man, not just the store itself. My grandparents and my mom lived in a house right next door to the famous hunting store. It was the same old house I grew up in as well. We were so close to the retail floor, I was able to sit at the kitchen table, eat my Cheerios and tell the New York tourist trying on the camouflage flannel long johns she should probably go up another size.

But I’m sure my grandfather didn’t think living so close to his workplace was such a good thing when the poor man didn’t even have a phone to screen calls from his pesky boss.

“And get this!” my mom continued.  “Whenever my dad was home on his days off and L.L. needed him to come in to work? He’d just throw open his office window and holler at my dad across the yard, ‘Hey Daniel! Get over here! I need you!'”

“Wow, that’s just insane,” I said. “You had windows back then?”

“Darla! Yes we had windows back then. We weren’t cavemen for god’s sake.”

“So Mom — why do you still phone me all day long when I live right next door to you?” (We currently live in a side by side duplex house and she calls me approximately 15-200 times a day to tell me her remote’s broken.)  “Why don’t you just yell at me through the window like L.L. Bean did in the good old days of yore?”

“Good point. Makes sense. Well, I’ll have to start doing that. And maybe that gall-darn ro-BUT man will stop bugging me. Then I’d free up my phone in case Tony calls!”

Never give up hope, Mom.
Good plan. Never give up hope, Mom.

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I’m So Glad You Read That Book, Mom

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It’s the weekend and I’m driving my  79-year-old mom around town on some errands.

Me: Ooh!  Gas prices seem to be going down!

Mom: Heh? Gas surprise and you wanna roll the window down? Well, be my guest.

Me: No, the gas PRICES are going DOWN.

Mom: Oh, don’t even get excited. In about 50 years, the world will end and let me tell you, the last thing you’ll be worried about are gas prices. First the earth will heat up so much, we’ll all have to live under domes. Trust me, you don’t want to be on the outside of the domes when that happens. Jeezum crow! You’d be toast!

Me: Domes?

Mom: Oh, yeah! But domes wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe they could keep a few people on the outside…y’know [makes quotation marks in the air with her fingers] accidentally… like criminals…[scowls] or Randy Travis and that god-awful, just terrible, awful woman, Rachel Ray.

Me: Rachel Ray? What in the hell has she done?

Mom: Oh, you don’t want me to go there.

Me: Oh, okay, I wo–

Mom: God, her voice!  It’s so deep! Like a man that smokes! And she’s always flapping her lips and running back and forth to the fridge. She thinks she knows everything about cooking. Well, here’s a tip, missy–put all the food you need on the damn frickin counter before you start babbling like an idiot and running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off. There’s the first rule of cooking, Miss Rachel Ray. [speaks slowly, overemphasizing each word] Take. Out. The. Food.

Me: Okay. So–

Mom: And her chest is too small. [shakes head] Oh, no, no, no. Just too small for those revealing blouses she wears. Trust me, when we’re thinking about food, we certainly don’t need to see that.

Me: So what’s this dome book you’re reading called? [My mom always has a stack of New Age/Inspirational/Biblical books on her night stand] Is it The Apocalypse and You: A Practical Guide to the End Times?

Mom: It’s true, it’s gonna happen. Pollution will be so bad, we’ll have to live under domes just to breathe. But I’ll be long dead! [cackles smugly] But you, oh you’ll be dealing with it. And I say, good luck!

Me: Mom! That’s not very nice!

Mom: The Earth is going to end and we’ll have to go to other planets eventually. Uh-huh. But it won’t be all bad. We’ll have a new world filled with peace and love because we’ll all be on a new spiritual path. This is how it will be.

Me: Was this book written by Oprah?

Mom: Yep, this world is pumpin’ a handcart straight to hell. It’s too late to save it. Maybe if people would love and take care of one another more, we could survive as a human race. Ha! I ain’t bettin’ on it.

Me: Gayle! Oprah’s best friend! This book was written by her, wasn’t it?

Mom: We might be able to live on as a human race if we move to other planets. Sylvia Browne says there are already aliens living among us now. Maybe they can help us. Y’know… [leans in and raises her eyebrows] even someone like Oprah could be an alien!

Me: I could see that.

Mom: But anyway, I’ll be on the Other Side when it’s all over, living in my mansion up in the clouds, eating all the ice cream I want. But don’t worry, I’ll haunt you and try and help.

Me: That’s very reassuring, Mom. Thanks.

Mom: You’re welcome! [sighs softly like she’s just discussed the weather] So…what’s for lunch?

I guess I could live with this.
Yeah, I guess I could live with this.

Any other people you think should be “accidentally” left outside the dome? Maybe my mom can have it arranged.

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Happy Mother's Day, Mom
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

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Like this? Want more?

I’m So Glad We Went Out to Eat, Mom

I’m So Sorry I Missed Your Call, Mom

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk Again, Mom

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk, Mom

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This Mom’s Wish

Dear Kids,

This is all I want for Mother’s Day (and beyond):

  • That you realize half-eaten tuna sandwiches don’t belong in the far corner of your closet buried under three tons of toys.
  • You learn to fight less and love more.
  • Hands are not for hurting but for helping — also for helping Mom by picking up all your stuff off the floor. Here’s a tip: open your hand, pick something up, put it away.
  • R – E – S – P – E – C – T Find out what it means to me. And to anyone else you’ll meet for the rest of your life. I’ll give you a big hint: it’s probably the single most important thing, other than love, you can feel for another human being.  It will carry you throughout life and help you learn from others, shaping you into a positive force that can move mountains.  If you give it, others will return it to you.
  • Silence. Just ten minutes will do.
    OK, five is fine too.
    One minute?
  • A hug. A real one. Not the kind where you wiggle away in horror like I’m trying to pull the teeth out of your head.
  • That you help one another. Always.
  • If you ever see someone down, try to help them. If someone needs a hand, help them. If someone is struggling, help them.
  • Did I mention you should always help one another? Yeah, do that. Always.
  • That you realize what you put out there in the universe, positive or negative, will come back to you times ten. It’s the hardest lesson of all, but one worth remembering.
  • That you know love is all you need.
    And chocolate.
    I need some right now.
    Did you buy me any?

By the way, you both have already given me the above gifts.  All I ask is that you keep it up. I’m proud to be your mom.

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Happy Mother’s Day

I’m So Glad We Went Out to Eat, Mom

“Hey, Ma? Wanna go out to eat tonight?” I ask my 79 year old mother.

“What?”

“Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?”

“What??”

“Do YOU…” I yell, pausing as my mom leans in closer.

“WANT TO…” She begins to nod her head slowly with each word I say.

“GO OUT…” I gesture to the door. She raises one eyebrow at me.

“TO DINNER….” I continue. She smirks.

“TONIGHT?”

“Do I…want to…go out…” she repeats mockingly.  I nod emphatically. She blinks. “With Yul Brynner? God no! He’s dead! Why would I want to go and do a thing like that? The man was bald! Like a cue ball! Bald as the day is long. And his days aren’t long anymore cuz the poor man is deader than a doornail! So sad, really.”

“I said DIN-NER,” I motion my hands to my mouth like I’m eating.

“Oh. Well, I’m hungry so why the hell not? I’d never go eat dinner with Yul Brynner though, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“I wasn’t ask–look, just forget it. Hey, what does that mean, anyway?” I wonder aloud. “Dead as a doornail? I mean, what the hell is a doornail? And why is it dead?”

“Darned if I know,” my mom shuffles over to get her coat. She stops and glares at me. “Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go before I’m deader than a doornail!”

[Later on, my mother and I are seated at a local Italian restaurant, looking at our menus]

“Can I start you off with some beverages?” a young waitress smiles as she sets down two glasses of ice water.

“Well, you just gave us water so what else ya got?” my mom asks. “Or does this cost us money? Is this water free?” she scowls and peers suspiciously over her eyeglasses at the waitress.

“It’s free, Mom,” I sigh.

She looks down at her glass. “Is this tap water?”

“Mom….”

“Would you like me to bring you something else?” asks the waitress.

“Well, yes,” my mom glares.

Several seconds pass. My mom cringes as she looks around the room. “God! I can’t hear myself think in here. The music is too damned loud!”

Several more seconds pass.

“Uh…ma’am? Do you want some coffee, tea, soda?” the patient waitress asks.

“Heh? Oh! Sanka, please!” my mom yells and puts her napkin in her lap.

The waitress glances at me, then back to my mom. “Excuse me, ma’am?”

“Sanka. I want Sanka.”

“Sanka?” the waitress appears confused.

“Sanka. Sanka! SAN-KA. CAN YOU HEAR ME?” My mom dismisses the waitress with a wave of her hand, then leans toward me and yells, “Jeezum crow! I don’t think the poor girl can hear me!  The music is too dang loud in this place!”

“Mom, I don’t think she knows what Sanka is. I don’t think you know what it is. It’s decaf coffee. You don’t drink decaf coffee, Mom.”

“What?”

“She’ll have black coffee, not decaf,” I say to the waitress. “Or Sanka,” I add a sheepish smile.

“You want me to thank her! Thank her!” my mom sits straight up. “I will. Just as soon as she brings me my damned coffee!”

I'll thank her when I get my Sanka!
I’ll thank her when I get my Sanka!

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion when my mom yells, “Well, I ain’t eatin THAT!” then insists a salad should not have lettuce because lettuce is a waste of perfectly good food.

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Like this post? Here, have some more!

I’m So Sorry I Missed Your Call, Mom

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk Again, Mom

I’m So Glad We Had This Talk, Mom