I think my relationship with my dad existed on a much more philosophical level than my relationship with my mom. We'd talk history or politics or religion. My mom and I talked books and music and a whole host of random stuff. And we talked a lot.
And I think I've only just started to feel her absence this week, especially in the early evening, when I would talk to her while eating dinner. But yesterday, her absence was powerful in a whole different way.
I walked into Walgreens to pick up a few items, and the song playing over the store's speaker system was one of her favorites. We didn't listen to a whole lot of typical children's music growing up, and when mom was driving, the radio was tuned to New York's oldies' station. As a result, I've got some pretty awesome taste in music. And I also have many strong memories of my mom tied to music - from the Peter, Paul, and Mary concert my parents took us to when I was in fifth grade, to the summer mom and I saw Bob Dylan and Paul Simon play Madison Square Garden together, to the band who sang Bob Dylan at her funeral - local guys whose bar gigs we frequented.
Which is how I came to be standing in Walgreens yesterday, crying over Peter, Paul, and Mary on the sound system.
But, there were things to do and friends to celebrate. So I grabbed some tissues, paid for my purchases, and left the store, hoping nobody saw me tear up over allergy medicine and Noxzema. I got to my destination - a friend's surprise birthday party - and chatted with a friend. He told me I seemed to be doing very well with everything.
But the truth is, I'm a complete faker. There's a saying in grief counseling (which I think comes out of 12-step programs), about faking it 'till you make it. Clearly, I'm doing a good job with the faking. But I'm also wearing waterproof mascara.
*Yeah, that's Simon and Garfunkel. The song's about something completely different, but the sentiment's the same.
I've been trying to stay occupied lately to keep my mind off of my current life catastrophe. And I also have cool friends, so when they invite me to do things, I try to go.
Which is how I found myself in a gun shop in San Bruno yesterday afternoon, forking over a surprising amount of money to learn how to shoot a .22. But my friend decided her 40th birthday just wouldn't be complete without a manicure and a shooting lesson, so there we were. Six women and one lone guy, all with fresh manicures, displaying IDs and signing waivers that indicated we knew handling guns was, well, risky.
I've never taken target practice before. In fact, aside from water guns and the day I picked up my brother's boxed pellet gun and moved it out of my way, I've never handled a gun before at all. It was good they gave us a half hour safety lesson and demonstration before letting us loose in the range.
You can't see the target in this photo, but I'm a surprisingly good shot, given that I can't even draw in a straight line. Most of my shots hit close to the center of the target. Please note my nicely manicured thumbs. My eggplant-colored polish held up really well during all of the gun handling. Please also note my new hair color. It's taken three months to make it look nice, and the lighting in the range, though pretty bad, definitely shows off the red. Kind of like Annie Oakley.
If you've been party to this blog for awhile, you had a little insight into my mom through her comments. She was sometimes snide, occasionally funny, and she rarely made any sense. Living with her was pretty much the same. She wasn't, especially in the past few years, one to beat around the bush. She was going to tell you what she thought, and though her delivery often lacked, well, a gentle touch, you never wondered where you stood.
Several years ago, I moved in with a roommate, a friend from grad school who needed - as I did - to save some rent money. While we were unpacking the kitchen, I stuck a few magnets on our fridge. Both were from my mom. One said "Mirror, mirror on the wall, I'm like my mother after all." Funny, right? I laugh at it a lot, because it's both funny and, some days, kind of true, too.
The other, on a white, flowered, ceramic magnet very much unlike my usual style, proclaimed "My daughter since birth. My friend forever."
My roommate looked at my refrigerator decor, and loudly proclaimed that her mom was corny like that too, and often sent her stupid gifts.
Her mom may have been joking, but my mom was not. I know this mostly because she really hated going to the post office, so she'd never have sent something she wasn't serious about.
I've got a whole collection of magnets from my mom. She really appreciated refrigerator art, and my blue, flower shaped magnetic bottle opener and "milk sucks, got margaritas?" magnet from Margaritaville are also her doing. I'm also in possession of a pretty impressive collection of shot glasses. All the ones depicting Ben Franklin - usually with some of his ruminations on beer - are also from my mom. She was, as people spent a lot of time telling me, a really funny lady.
Writer. Marathon walker. Sometimes-photographer. Cyclist. Musician. Lover of cheesecake, San Francisco baseball, and comfy sweatpants. See Jane Run Ambassador. Team in Training cyclist. My philosophy? Life is not meant to be lived on the sidelines.
All written and photographic content are the sole work of the author, and cannot be reproduced, in whole or in part, without her permission. See something you'd like to borrow? Email email@example.com.