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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Month: May, 2013

Day 176: When a Mom Gets Sick

When a mom gets sick, it’s a very confusing time. Because moms don’t get sick. They’re basically superhuman. Dads don’t get sick either, for that matter.

My mom is sick. It’s not life-threatening, but it is uncomfortable. She’s in the hospital and having surgery on Tuesday, 2,000 miles away from where I live.

Discombobulated, I’ve now asked three of my relatives whether or not I should fly out there even though she told me not to. I finally stopped asking when my dad admitted that since they just moved in to their new place, I would be more stressful than helpful. (Although I do feel like I’d be an excellent drug runner… in the sense that I’m really good at picking up legal prescriptions from the pharmacy.)

When I had minor surgery a couple of years ago, my mom was my hero. She stayed with me, she propped me up on the couch and brushed my hair, she lined up a slew of trashy TV shows for me to watch (I think that’s when I got hooked on The Millionaire Matchmaker), and she made me delicious and healthy meals. If memory serves me, she also put together a really complicated table from Ikea for me. It was during the height of my drug-induced “look at all the pretty colors” phase, so I’m a little foggy on that part.

I’d like to assure my mom that her codeine hallucinations aren’t real while I put together her furniture, but instead I’m stuck here. Blogging. And it’s not that I don’t trust my family—I know my dad, grandparents, and aunts and uncles are all excellent TV show-pickers—but I’m finally old enough to recognize all the amazing care-taking my mom has done for me, and I want to pay her back.

So, mom, I’m sorry I’m not there. Don’t worry about putting anyone out or asking for too much. Tell our family what you need and they’ll get it for you. Call me when you’re bored in the hospital and I’ll tell you all about my latest OkCupid date. And Taylor and Paige and I will make you a list of good Netflix movies that don’t require constant concentration.

Also, don’t worry about all the unpacked boxes in your new home. Dad will put everything away in mysterious places and you’ll spend the next five years trying to decipher his unpacking logic. It’ll be fun.

Day 172: Sit and Smile

Sometimes you have a day that feels a little bit long (if for no reason other than that you stayed up too late watching The West Wing on Netflix). And sometimes, at the end of those long days, you just need something that makes you sit and smile.

Here  it is (thank you, Jess).

Day 164: Stuff and Things and Letting Go

Things strangely collect our emotions.

I posted a couple weeks ago about how giving away my loveseat on Craigslist was a tearful disaster (more because of the recipients than the item—but still). And today, my parents are moving. They packed up their Chicago house and are headed to the northwest.

We’ve never been a terribly nostalgic family when it comes to structures and stuff. Growing up, we moved more often than most of our friends, and settled ourselves in different parts of the country for the sake of adventure. We collected people and shed things every time we left a house, and always (almost) enjoyed the newness and excitement of reorganizing somewhere new.

But this move feels a little different. My parents are doing it without my sisters and me. We don’t have our own bedrooms in the new place (much to my mom’s chagrin), and there will be no school orientations, no track meets and no yearbook functions. It’s an adult move and they’re paring down.

Even our old art projects, skating ribbons and American Girl dolls aren’t going along for the ride. The remaining evidence of my sisters’ and my youth is heading into a storage unit outside of Chicago, where we can come and pilfer as we have time and space.

So for the last couple of months, my parents have been selling, donating and free-Craigslisting (sans tears) many of their belongings. I’ve seen the “come and get it” Facebook posts and waited on the phone as a 9-1-1 fallback while strangers picked up their couches and end tables. I was well aware that their things were going to new homes.

And I was fine with it until my mom posted a picture of my dad’s charcoal Weber grill (the one he received for college graduation and has been using ever since), and called it up for grabs.

Instinctually, I grabbed. Out of sheer terror. I mean, what would my parents be without the Weber? I grew up understanding its timelessness, its durability and its knack for producing the perfect, patiently grilled steak. I knew I had to hang on to it for them, lest their personalities disappear completely with this move.

The Weber

There she is.

Two text messages with my mom proved logically otherwise. They don’t need it anymore. And I’m a vegetarian living in a one-bedroom apartment with no outdoor space. Though I remember the grill being a fine roommate when it had a deck to itself, in my current arrangement it would coat my wispy curtains with soot and be the centerpiece of my living room. And it doesn’t do so well with veggies. She gave it to a grateful neighbor instead.

The bottom line is that stuff gets you sometimes. And then you have to let it go.

Because really, stuff is nothing without people.