Monday, July 9, 2012

Living Long

Ringo turned 72 years old, that rascal.
Good for you, Ringo! Live long and prosper and don't stop hitting those drums and flashing the peace sign.

It is simply the most bizarre thing to me that only two of the original Beatles are still alive and yet the Rolling Stones are about to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary.

Listen: You just never know.

I've got the twists and the turns and the rug burns from life from cheek to chest to knee to toe.

I feel so old and like every bit of everything I have has been used and recycled and heated up and served again. I think of Owen, that new boy (not-quite-three is pretty new) and how, according to his daddy, when it was TIME TO GO to Chuck E. Cheese, he was so frantic that he almost tore the door knob off the door and yelled, "Let me out of this house!" and he went and I hope that it was as good as he wanted it to be.

Almost three. 
Yes. Almost.

Yesterday when Lily got home, she held Gibson on her lap and Owen held his hands and they danced and Gibson laughed and laughed. I remember Lily dancing for Jessie and making her laugh, that deep-throated baby laugh, crazy-sounding from such a young being whose laugh, you would think, would sound like fairy bells tinkling but does not.

I'm sorry. I'm worried about my mother. 
I'm worried about everything. 
I should be more mindful, quit borrowing trouble, be more in the moment, taking care of what I can take care of, letting go the things that need letting go of.

I was thinking last night of how when my mother's mother was in a nursing home, a tiny slip of a deaf woman with dementia tied into her wheelchair, my mother would go and see her every day. Every day. After working all day as a teacher, my mother would go to that nursing home and sit with her mother. 
There. You see? 
That's what a daughter should do.
Then I think about my little brothers and how they were left alone in that house while Mother sat in the nursing home, holding the hand of her tiny mother, those boys left alone in that house with their father, a monster.

Here's the thing: my mother probably did not want to go home. 

Isn't that odd? How she didn't want to go home and I never want to leave my home. 

Well, I suppose I've written worse posts but I can't remember when.

I have to go walk before it turns wicked out there, before the air begins to sizzle and waver in the heat. Then I need to go to town and see my mother who does not sit abandoned in a nursing home lobby, tied into a wheel chair, not knowing where she is.
My mother wants to go home to her own house. She told me that last night. Where she can eat what she wants to eat. 
"It's still my house," she told me. "I'm still paying for it."

She can't remember that she can't drive to the store or cook but she can remember that she's paying for that house. 

And she's right. She is. No one is interested in buying that house right now and so yes, she's still paying for it.

We sometimes pay for things a long time because it's impossible to just let them go.

Some things we should keep. The joyous things. The things that lift us, instead of drowning us in sorrow.

Happy birthday, Ringo. You are a force for joy. You have been for a long time. I remember when I lived in that house with the monster and I could go in my room and shut the door and play Beatles albums and for a little while, at least, I was safe, even though I couldn't lock that door from the inside. 
You pounded out the rhythms, you wove the rhythms in and out of the notes and the words and the soaring and the singing and you gave it a place to tether to. 

My heart, too. You did that, Ringo.

Happy birthday.


  1. A good daughter might sit and hold the hand of her demented mother but a good mother does not leave kids home alone with a monster. I choose a good mother over a good daughter.

    If you compare yourself with the best of everyone only, you will always come up short. Don't do this. You are the very best you that you can be.

  2. 'We sometimes pay for things a long time because it's impossible to just let them go.'

    That statement will stick with me a long time. Paying for things, not in the monetary sense, but with the soul, with tears and frustration and exhaustion, just because we can't let go.

    Ah, Monday. Melancholy and mundane.

  3. I'm feeling old right there with you. This first week of retirement has been a little up and down for me. No baby yet, but I'm sure once he gets here, my blues will go away for a little while anyway. Babies have a way of doing that!

  4. Oh, Ms. Moon. I sat and listened to "Let It Be," like five times last night because it hit-the-spot. They have a way of hitting the spot for whatever we're going through at the time with a song or two, or ten. Glad you had them when you needed them.

    Ringo DOES still look good. Crazy.

  5. Ha, that brought back memories. I didn't have a room, my bed was in the hallway - a wide open space between two other rooms. I fell asleep at night with my tiny baby blue transistor radio under the pillow playing Beatles music until sleep finally came - to wake up to dead batteries...ack! Good times!

  6. you really touched on something here, which is that the elder care walk is really really hard when you are also doing the raising children (and grand babies) walk, and if you really want to be at home nights so you can be with the children who will be gone soon enough into their own lives, then by god, it splits you clean in two. there is no way to be both places at once.

    be gentle with yourself, dear mary. you are good in all ways.

  7. You know, I often think about how sad it is that only two of the Beatles are still alive. Then I think, well, it's been 50 years, so why is that surprising? But your point about the Rolling Stones makes me realize it IS surprising that we've already lost two of them -- one, of course, quite unnaturally. You just never know.

  8. Magnum- Baby, I got no idea.

    Jeannie- I know I do what I can and sometimes that's not enough but I am trying. I am.

    Rachel- Yeah. Exactly.

    Lois- I hope that baby gets here soon! I know that retirement, as much as you look forward to it, can be a huge adjustment. Change is just damn hard.

    Nicol- I will never be convinced that the Beatles weren't magic. They were. They are. I swear.

    liv- What would we have done without the music?

    Angella- Oh honey. Thank you. It does feel pretty stretchy sometimes. But my priority is my children and my grandchildren. That's just all there is to it.

    Steve Reed- And so we have to enjoy what we enjoy, love whom we love while we can. Right?

  9. Hard to believe that Ringo is 72. Yikes! I am still a kid compared to him. Glad of it too. I'll take all the years I can.

    You aren't a bad daughter but just honest with what you feel. What's wrong with that? I don't want to go visit my FIL every day or even once a week. I do go once a week, but would rather do anything else.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.