Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ear Worm

I don't know about you, but I have always been highly susceptible to the ear worm phenomenon.  No, not the Wrath of Khan kind of ear worm, the musical kind.  It doesn't matter whether I initially love or hate a song, I will eventually be begging for it to PLEASE! STOP! REPEATING! because once I learn even a fraction of the words along with the tune, any given song can go into continual loop in my head.

The '80's were particularly hard on me.  It's like most of the music from that era was actually written in ear worm format.  "Oh, Micky" almost killed me (and, just for the record, I started out hating that one).  "Karma Chameleon".  Please.

The '90's weren't so bad.  First of all, I was in my twenties.  For me, this meant spending a lot of time killing off those pesky brain cells that caused this musical malady.  Secondly, during the times I was repetitively singing songs, it was considered cool and introspective.  Drinking wine and trying to make sense of the lyrics to songs like "Losing My Religion", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Plush" was a nearly full time hobby.

After college, entering the job market was brutal.  What did I have to do all day but sing songs to try to keep myself awake while chained to a desk?  I swear on my life, there was a period of several years where I sang the song, "If I Had a Hammer" every. single. day.  I don't even know a third of the lyrics.  If I had actually HAD a hammer, I might have used it to bash in my own brains just to stop that freaking song.

Most recently, I have entered the parenthood phase of my life.  If I thought that music could get stuck on a loop in my head before this, I had no idea what levels it could go to.  Children's music is relentlessly repetitive and lays in wait so that when I awaken to check on a crying daughter at 3:00AM, I am instantly greeted by the opening song for "Super Why" running through my head.  While I am blogging typing up reports at work, "The Cat in the Hat" lyrics are ramming away it the back of m brain (yes, if you're wondering, it IS happening right now.  "Here we go, go, go, go on an adventure...").   If I ever thought I had one shred of cool left in my, that myth has been readily busted by finding myself singing the lyrics to "Dora the Explorer" under my breath.  And liking it. 

It's really just like this HILARIOUS episode of "Sponge Bob" where they sing a song about a musical doodle.  The lyrics to "Musical Doodle" go like this: "The sound in your head is brutal, so just listen while we sing this musical doodle."  That show cracks me up!

Ahem.

Upon further contemplation, maybe one of those Wrath of Khan things would be a welcome distraction from my current mental, musical prison.  It really is brutal.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Details

After nearly 19 years, I find that all of my memories are wrapped up in the details.  Fragments, moments, glimpses stitched together to make a picture of the woman who raised me and was then gone without warnings or goodbyes.

A scar and a misshapen fingernail, the remnants of a long-ago childhood fight lost to a wringer washing machine.

The smell of perfume and cigarette smoke mingling as she sat on the edge of my bed to say goodnight before heading out with her girlfriends in her long suede coat.

The sight of the steam rising from her early morning cup of coffee as she sat in the reclining chair reading a book in the early morning quiet.

The twinkle of mischief in her eye when she laughed.

The fire in her voice, born of years of self-reliance, when she was angry.

The feel of her standing behind me at the stove, my short legs aided by a chair,  as she taught me all of the secrets she knew to cooking while my tummy grumbled happily.

The way she fell asleep in her chair after long hours of factory work.

My loneliness, my longing for her, while she worked evenings or nights or days to support her family.

Pretending to be sick to stay home from school with her for the day.

One perfect day of my skipping school and her skipping work and shopping and having lunch, just the two of us, together.

These details are all I have.  Of course, like any relationship, ours was much more complicated than these.  My childish understanding of the choices she made, the sacrifices she made, was never enough to help me appreciate all that she was.  It was only when I started to scratch the surface of understanding her as an adult that she died.  Even now, these many years later, I find that those layers peel back further and further, allowing me to see the world, if only a little, through her eyes.  To understand the bone tired and the worry and the joy and the sweat and the tears that go into motherhood.  To appreciate the ends to which she went to try, in the best way she knew how, to secure my happiness.

The detail I recall now is the card I gave her for her last Mother's Day.  I cannot remember the entire thing word for word, but I can remember the message.  It said no matter how old you get, you will always need your mother.  I had wanted her to know I still needed her, even now that I was growing up and becoming more independent.  And the final line, etched clear in my mind, still rings true to this day:

I want my mommy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back Seat Driver

As I mutter under my breath at the line of traffic that stretches before me, blocking my path to our current mecca, Chik Fil A, I hear a voice from behind me say, "Why did we stop, Momma?"

"See all of those cars in front of us?  We have to stop because they stopped.  It's called traffic."

She looks out the window at the cars.  "Come on, dude.  Let's go."  I have no idea where she gets this stuff other than directly from me.

Soon we are moving again.  The Nugget doesn't miss a thing while we're driving anymore.  "Red light, Momma!  We stop at red lights."  "Yellow light, Momma.  Why didn't you slow down?"  "Oh, no!  That was a stop sign, Daddy!  You were supposed to stop!"

No more rolling stops for us.  The cops are actually in the car with us now.  Just in the form of a very bossy and rule-oriented three year old. 

*Sigh*

Why did we teach her the colors.  And WHY, for the love of all that is holy, did we teach her what they mean?

It makes me smile, though.  Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud.  She's looking, she's listening, she's learning.  She draws her own conclusions, sometimes very misguided ones, but sometimes, as in most traffic situations, maddeningly on target.

The hardest part about having this new little back seat driver on board is the fact that I am going to have to find some new role in the family.  I thought that was my role.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rock On

Since The Nugget was a newborn, we have spent her sleepy time in the glider in her bedroom, rocking and singing.  In the beginning, her sleepy time often coincided with mine.  We would doze together in the glider, a pillow tucked below her tiny body to keep her close to me even if my grip was loosened by sleep.

This snuggling and rocking is one of my favorite rituals.  Early on I learned that I needed to embrace this time and not allow any thoughts other than this beautiful task to invade our sacred moments together.  I used to sit with my infant and make lists about other things that needed to be done once I got the baby to sleep.  It didn't take long to realize that not only did she pick up on this energy and not settle as well, but that I wasn't allowing myself to be present for one of the most precious things I did with my child.  Once I let go of the task-oriented thought process, I became the one who wanted to rock longer than necessary and enjoy our quiet time for just a few more minutes.  It became the time when we could cast aside our worries, or share them, and then turn them loose to the universe.  It was, is, healing for us.

I have also always sang songs during these rocking sessions. While the songs have varied over time, some of our favorites have included: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Moon River", and "Baby Mine".  Now that she is older, I will normally ask her what she would like me to sing.  She will almost always pick one of these "classics" along with one other, "newer" song.



Over the course of time, The Nugget's needs have changed.  There have been periods, though brief, that she has not wanted to be rocked.  I haven't liked it, but I have respected her decisions even from only a few months old on this matter.  As time has gone on, she counts on being rocked as much as I count on rocking her.  Unlike some children, she is not usually difficult to rock to sleep.  She relaxes, snuggles, listens to her songs, lets the day wash away and sleeps.

Lately, though, my three year old has been all arms and elbows and knees and restlessness and wriggling and discomfort.  Rocking, at times, has become something of a chore.  She is getting big.  It is hard to hold her on my lap as comfortably.  I have wondered to myself, reluctantly, if it is time to give up this, our favorite ritual.

One recent and particularly uncomfortable night, I voiced my concerns to The Nugget.

"Honey, you're getting really big.  It's getting hard for both of us to fit into the rocking chair.  Do you think that it's time to stop rocking to sleep every night?"

"No" she answered without hesitation.

I smiled, glad that she wanted to hang onto this thing we have for a little while longer, even if it was becoming a bit of a challenge.  "When you grow up, even if you move away and get married, can Mama come to your house and rock you to sleep sometimes?"

She nodded vigorously.  Of course Mama would come rock her to sleep, even into her adulthood.  She couldn't imagine why that would ever change.

And just like that, both of us curved ourselves to fit one another a little bit closer, a little bit easier than we had just moments before.  I sent up a silent prayer of thanks that we have such a life as this one, so blessed to know this comfort and to be unable to imagine any other way of doing things than to dedicate this sliver of time every day to comforting and cuddling one another.  So grateful that, for now, we can continue rocking in each other's arms.