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⚡ July 30, 2014

Nana Banana 🍌

Some kids like taking a picture with the juke box more than others.

Some kids like taking a picture with the juke box more than others.

The children have driven off with their mom about an hour or so ago. I’m not exactly sure how long it’s been. Time has become an irrelevant mechanism that mocks my very being, so I dare not look at the clock – any clock – digital or analogical. They are all traitors and I resent them for how they’ve behaved the past few days, refusing to stand still or slow down and let me enjoy a single solitary sweet moment.

One minute we’re hugging and then the next moment comes and rips them away, and now that I’m alone and back in the Happy Hippy Hut, I realize that I haven’t thought about the internet or invisible friends or The Big Being in the Sky even once during their visit. For a few brief days I was busy pretending that I was a real mom again.

Of course I could never go back to the bona fide and true mom I used to be when I did my turn at the wheel. Back then, I was somewhere between Betty Draper and Princess Di on the personality spectrum, and I’ve chronicled that time in my novel Cleaning House. From 1967 until about 1988 wasn’t a very long tenure, now that I look back, but at the time the days seemed to be rolling along endlessly like the roads in any decent American city. One day leads to the next and there are always more roads, opening and unfolding into the distance.

Holly and David in front of the jukebox.

Holly and David in front of the jukebox.

Time moves on and the kids move along and then you’re not a mom anymore; The End. Who are you? Where are you? What should you be? Where should you go? You’re certainly not a kid anymore either, so you can’t go back there. You’ve been dropped into an unknown country with neither road map nor proper clothing, and that is where I’ve been living for the last 26 years. You think about God a lot when you’re in an unknown country, and you think of Him as the boss, the mean boss in the sky who is judging you constantly. Since you’re assuredly going to be seeing Him soon, you’re trying to be good, but mostly you’re not.

I was very nervous about watching the kids for four straight days because we don’t see them often enough to get into patterns. They are always noticeably changed each visit, with teeth falling out on the spot and broken arms still healing in a glittery cast. Watching that little girl realize that she is not going to be invincible is sad to see. So we’ve had a lot to think about and do the past few days, digging down deep for old family stories and trying to recreate the On Golden Pond with Pepperidge Farm memories that will make one of them a world-class writer with royalties from passing our words along. We will change their lives! All the mistakes we made as parents will be erased, patched, undone, and mended.

Casey and Reese. The beat goes on.

Casey and Reese. The beat goes on.

And never once in the past four days have I thought about my old friend God, whom I’ve been trying to impress. Moms, I’ve now come to realize, think of themselves as co-equal creators with God, so there’s no need to pray or beg, but rather, there’s an unspoken agreement to stay out of each other’s way in such hectic times … what with both of my hands busy trying to keep soap out of her eyes while washing her hair … do you remember how helpless you felt under your mom’s tough fingers as she washed your hair and thought hard and deeply about her day’s troubles at the same time? I wonder what I was thinking about when I washed her mom’s hair the same exact way about forty years ago, give or take. So many, many bubbles.

So hello again Happy Hippy Hut and silence and solitude. I thought I would be glad to be back here with my precious work and invisible friends and all of that. And look! The clock is behaving properly again, dragging the minutes – and me along with them – slowly and relentlessly into the void and down the drain in a sane measured drip drip drip from a somewhat rusty pipe. So many gorgeous bubbles. 🐔

A bubble at the point of bursting.