3 things I can’t stop thinking about tonight... 1. The really sad scene in “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character walks out of the bookstore her and her mother before her owned for many years for the last time and looks back into the empty space that used to house many children’s books and imagines she sees her mother and her twirling as they often had when she was younger.
2. Some lyrics to John Mayer’s “Stop This Train”:
“Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go One generation's length away From fighting life out on my own...
So scared of getting older I'm only good at being young So I play the numbers game to find a way to say that life has just begun Had a talk with my old man Said help me understand He said turn 68, you'll renegotiate Don't stop this train Don't for a minute change the place you're in Don't think I couldn't ever understand I tried my hand John, honestly we'll never stop this train.”
3. And these Sting lyrics from his amazing “Ghost Story”:
“The moon's a fingernail and slowly sinking Another day begins and now I'm thinking That this indifference was my invention When everything I did sought your attention
You were my compass star You were my measure You were a pirate's map A buried treasure
If this was all correct The last thing I'd expect The prosecution rests It's time that I confess: I must have loved you”
So, why all of this?
I am in deep thought about my mother tonight. She who I have always judge so harshly and have always felt so different than and distanced from in so many ways. She feels deeply sad and defeated. She has had to close her business which she has successfully run for over four decades. I will not speak of the people or the events which harshly led her to this inevitable reality because there is nothing nice to say about either and it’s her story- not mine- to share if she wishes anyway. But I will say that I feel very sad for her and defeated as well.
It’s difficult to see my mom down because she is a very strong woman and because despite what I consider is a sometimes too-rough exterior, she seems soft in a vulnerable way that I am not used to or comfortable with. Also, to know that a business that was so successful for such a long time no longer exists shakes me and my beliefs about the world- that honest, hard work always pays off, that good business sense always has great returns, etcetcetc.
Deeper than all of that, I am surprised at how inconsolable I feel. Today when I walked in to her place on what was her last hour of work there, I felt a huge emptiness so I can only begin to guess how she feels. A part of her life and people in her life that have been with her for so many years- people that saw me grow up- will no longer be a part of her daily experience. The empty space filled with boxes and empty walls felt so cold and ugly. I couldn’t be there long. My mom, who I am always so hard on, suddenly felt older to me. No longer invincible. But also, no longer so far away from me. The things that connect us felt alive and VERY real and since I tend to often forget they’re there, it has felt like a very emotional situation for me as well. I remember being small and thinking my mom was a hero for working so hard and so well and for being so well-liked and making things happen financially and otherwise for so many in her family and close circles. I thought of my little one looking at me like a hero and also thought of the day when she realizes- like we all do- that I am simply a person who she calls “Mom.” No one will ever love her more, but I am just a person- not a superhero.
I passed by her place a few times to provide some moral support. I was happy to see people had brought her flowers and food. I was happy to see my aunt there, holding her sister’s hand through the beginning of a difficult transition. As crazy as I think my family is, when push comes to shove there is support and love there (even if it doesn’t come in the package I would like it to come in).
I feel like a small child tonight. Like I want to curl up with my mom under a blanket. And I sense that she may be feeling that way too. It’s all too sad and so much to bear so I’m going to bed and cuddle snuggly with my little one. Tomorrow will feel better.