Sunday, June 22, 2008

On becoming my mother

My darling husband was recently on a business trip during which time I had a cold. It seems as if illness always strikes me when he's gone! I wonder if God is trying to teach me something about relying on Him. Either that or... the universe is out to get me.

So one night I woke up coughing hard enough to warrant getting up. I stumble into the kitchen, and that is no hyperbole. I'm not so good with the waking up - be it middle of the night or in the morning. One eye always remains clamped shut. So the other eye has the eyebrow raised in an effort to open wider although my cheek seems to take on the cause of the weary and smooshes up to cause my eye to squint. You can only imagine what sort of shape my mouth is in at that point - go ahead, try it out - look in the mirror. Laugh that this is my face every morning. It's a wonder my children don't run in fright. I also seem to have just recently walked off a ship.. so I have sea legs. In the morning I'm pulled by the gravitational center of the house, which is the coffeepot. In the night, woken from coughing, I'm getting a glass of water.

The cough is irritating, so I start rummaging for cough drops just to find - none. I start to wake up to rummage more frantically, coughing harder, and I rustle up these weird throat drop things my husband likes. They look suspicious to me, but they say "Honey and Echinacea" which sounds exactly like what my poor body needs at the moment.

Can this please serve as a warning to you to never buy or try anything called "Honey and Echinacea"? If you want those things, find them in their natural states - they are no good in a cough drop. They should have been called Lemon Pledge. So at that point, I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself that I'm up at 2:30 am, sick, with dust-spray flavored throat drops - which incidentally, do nothing for a cough.

How do I know what Lemon Pledge tastes like, you're wondering? I started thinking about that myself standing there in the kitchen. My family spent a number of my growing up years in this old colonial house. On the landing above one set of stairs were lots and lots of windows with indoor shutters. It was one of my weekly chores to dust the shutters that had impossibly teeny tiny slats - as I remember them. They were dust magnets. My mother was not a task master, but she was one for doing a job as heartily unto the Lord. Which pretty much meant you wanted your house to be perfect in case Jesus showed up - at least that's what I understood that verse to mean when I was a kid.

My mom always knew exactly what level of thoroughness she could expect from us, and we knew better than to try to skimp. These shutters were a pain, and I always thought I had some sort of great idea on how to dust them quicker or easier. It always involved lots of Lemon Pledge. One week, I thought the hard to reach spots would be clean if I blasted them with a good spray. Which only left a big bubbly gob of Pledge to have to wipe out - plus the window behind it needed a cleaning then too. But my general plan of action was to give my dust cloth a new spray of pledge between every swipe, even though I was quite clearly taught not to do that. If you're reading this, I'm sorry Mom. All that wasted Pledge.

So with all those repeated spritzes... I'm pretty sure I ingested quite a lot of it. I was reminiscing about that in my kitchen, at 2:30 am, feeling like I should apologize to my mom, despising the throat drops, coughing, feeling especially sorry for myself and very sad because I realized if my husband was home he'd go to the store for me right then for real cough drops.

And then I remembered... as a kid totally not understanding my mom, when she'd be up doing something odd in the middle of the night. When she'd say things like she got up for one reason, and then did something completely irrelevant. Why didn't that woman sleep? Now, I, myself, had been standing in the kitchen for an overly long time, thinking of childhood chores, bad throat drops, my husband, calling my mom, and thought.... Will the circle be unbroken?

1 comment:

Eliza Ray said...

Hahaha YES I love your version of that verse...because I totally agree! Mom's become much better about that...aka, she's just given up on me, hahah.