Thursday, May 19, 2011

Random recall. 270 Huntington Avenue.

I was 9 when I left my mother. Our studio apartment on Huntington Avenue. The Tobin School. My two (first) cats: Kitten Pepper Randolph, and Lady. When I lost my favorite book: Henrietta Wild Woman of Borneo. When I first and last lived in a place called home. In the original sense. I moved to Roxbury. To Cambridge. To Newton. To Southern Florida. To Brighton/Allston, places with and without space to park a car, or fly a kite. I moved to Harlem. A suburb outside (way outside) of Boston. In just that order. Sometimes twice.

I've lived in my share of houses. In places I've decorated with the same African gods, princesses, masks my daughter makes eyes at; masks my daughter knows are mine. That's YOU Mummah!

I've lived alone. With men. College friends. In a shared and a silent bed. I've had a family, grown well above and beyond the confines of a small space on Huntington Avenue.

And yet, when I walk by 270 Huntington (and I have, and I do, both in my mind and in the flesh), I remember, as if randomly, but more purposeful and poignant, less polite, more profound:

How many winding steps I once took to get to our apartment. How the lighting was so dim it was my first analogy of a country-fog. How it felt to be hungry, over-full. How it felt for your tears to swell and seep into your ears when laying in bed causing a warm and hallowed near-deafness. How to later listen with a hungry ear to the wall, when the neighbors played Harlem Blues. How it came to be that I'd love cats, and loathe pigs, and learn to smile though my head was full of city sounds. How I was, and will be if forever only in my heart: a small, city, child.

Mummi and Zora
And, of course, how Mummi mothered me, even when she could barely mother herself
But she did.
As well she/we could.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sniffle. A bug perhaps. Karma. Ultimately: A bad day. I think. I dunno.

This morning semi-sucked. I mean that. If one can be firmly committed to mediocrity. #shrug.

But it did. Kinda. Maybe. I dunno.

I woke up worried about my karma (yes for real). About putting things out into the universe that I am not ready to accept (i.e. consequences, injustice) cause I have perhaps fallen from the throne of responsible, perhaps made a prank call, something so unserious but that has me worrying about my fall from the stellar. I semi-wondered if my eyelash extensions were holding up well enough for this week. If I could realistically buy a new dress, tell my grandmother I started and am completing another masters degree (uhh, as of this week completing it) without her knowledge. So much stuff, such little motivation. #anothashrug

any way, I woke up to the reality of Zora calling me to her bedroom. B is in CA so it really was just the 800 of us (if you count the cats/ants). Walked into her room and... well, its hard to be worried about Karma and other assorted neo-soul-yogi-vodoo when your kid is this cute/this bubbly. And well, this itchy too.


Z: I'm itchy mummah
Me: Ok baby. (I'm ignoring it in a mom kinda way)
Z: NO Mummah, I"M ITCHY. (In a this-shit-is-serious-even-if-I'm-is-2 kinda way)

My child had a damn tick in her back.

I call the doc, who laughed at me (we live in the western suburbs). I call Brian who is in CA and its technically 5 AM there or so (he adapts quickly to time change), he sounds like its 5 am or so there.

I cry. Zora cries.

I call the doc for the 3rd time. She reiterates how OK and normal this is. I urge otherwise. I also get the tick (or most of it) out.

Zora thanks me. Most likely not for crying, but for being as good a mom as I can given my bad-damn-karma. I decide we'll tip the whatever the tipable thing is in the proper direction and go see my Mummi.

She looks thinner every time I see her. Her eyes look a lil dimmer too. I remember now, how in a recent office meeting, someone mentions that people with mental illnesses die about 25 years younger than folks who are "without" a diagnosis. I almost do the math. I'm interrupted by a smile my mother saves just for my daughter. I can only count her beautiful teeth.
Zora waits knowingly for her strange-bag of luck/love.

She also knows, we're not going upstairs. We won't be greeted with tea. We won't await Nana's attention as she skims AARP mail. We'll meet in the car. We'll love in a very small space. We'll leave before it gets too intense. Perhaps we'll drive. But we'll say I love you a dozen (or more times). These are our visits.

But Zora knows especially, most importantly, to be gentle, always gentle with Nana.

When we leave/post-car-visit, Zora asks to roll the window down. She says as dramatically as Nana needs to hear it:

I love you Nana. I neeeeeeeeed you Nana.
Nana smiles through tears.

And when we drive away, Zora asks me in a very small voice: Hold your hand Mummah?I yoga-bend backwards and drive one armed as my response. But a few achy moments in, ask why she needed this now.

A few second pause: I can't see the blue sky Mummah. mumble, mumble. The bug bit my back. mumble, mumble. I want banana juice.

But I know what she means. Karma. A bug. some other shit. I know baby.

I'm blue today too.