Posts Tagged ‘mom’

Raise your glass.

February 10, 2011

Big ass important neurologist told my mom she has brain damage in three spots in her brain, all correlating to sight. He also said it’s a miracle she’s alive, let alone has regained her sight.

She has a hole in her heart that allowed the clot to pass from one side of her heart to the other (blood clots are broken down in lungs and also oxygenated, but this clot moved through her heart and skipped the lungs part before going straight to the brain). She’s having surgery next month to repair her heart.

Her vision isn’t as crisp, she says, but it’s pretty much okay for now.

My mom kicked this stroke’s ASS.

She’s going home today. The thing that has stuck with me is that the neurologist said if the clot had been the tiniest teensiest bit bigger, it would have killed her.

We definitely do not see her enough. We are planning a two week trip home in the summer, but it’s not enough. It never is.

For now, though, I’ve got an awesome sauce mom who defies neurological expectations. I’ve also got a suggestion for all you people who have been so lovely and supportive – drink a glass of water. Right now. It’s a fact that being well hydrated can help prevent a stroke.

Drink a toast to my mom.

Yes and no.

February 9, 2011

Yes, my mom had a stroke on Monday. No, we don’t know why yet. She’s still in hospital. Thank you all for your kindness.

Brian, you may hear from me re:flying home with the babies. For now we wait for results and a plan of action.

An eight hour flight.

February 8, 2011

One of my first clear memories is the instant I walked into my mother’s room shortly after my grandpa had been admitted to the hospital. I was probably about eight.

She was full of intense energy, curling her hair. She was focused on that, even as she seemed so chaotic and falling apart and sizzling with fear. And purpose.

It’s 4:50 am. The babies have just gone to sleep after hours of coughing, coughing, coughing. TMD walked into the room, the phone to her ear.

I asked what was going on.

‘Something is wrong with Grandpa’s heart,’ she said. Her voice was all business, with that undercurrent of tense anxiety. ‘I’m going to the hospital to see him.’

I went from tired to wide awake. In the silence of the middle of the night, I heard snatches of my sister’s voice. She’d left a message at 3:30 in the morning.

At first I thought my dad had died, or had another heart attack.

My mom issued instructions. I don’t remember what they are, now. I don’t remember if I went to the hospital or stayed home, but I know there was some purposeful order to things. I think it was the way my mom created a sense of control in a situation that was, at the heart of it, uncontrollable.

I think that’s what we do in emergencies, when the lives of those we love are threatened.

I heard ‘in the hospital.’ I heard ‘everything is okay.’  But then I realised she was talking about my mom. Something was wrong with my mom. I watched TMD’s face for clues.

She remained serious. She listened intently.

She handed me the phone to replay the message and said, ‘Before you listen to any of this, the end message is that things are okay.’

Over the years I faced many run-to-the-hospital situations. Many opportunities to experience, again and again, the calm sense of purpose, of needing to do something, to move. Because the more calm you were, the more crazy and frenetic things were under the surface.

I listened as I heard about blood clots in the brain, about my mother being blind. About tests on her brain and heart.

I called my sister, five am in my world, nine pm in hers. She filled me in. My mom had recovered from the initial problem. The doctors had an idea what was wrong, but no proof. It was probably all fine, but she needed advanced tests because the initial ones would not have picked up a stroke.

She was going to be in the hospital for a few days of tests. I should call her before 10 am her time, because that’s when all the tests started.

All I thought was how TMD cannot come home with me right now. It’s a bad time. Who, then, could come on the plane with me? I’m not legally allowed to fly with two under twos by myself, nor would I want to. This person, that person, and how would the return flights work?

Then I thought about how I wished I lived close to my family. Because even if this is nothing, I want to be moving. I want to take a purposeful shower, drive towards her, talk briskly with nurses and crack jokes with my mother.

But I want to live here.

I wrestled, wrestled, my thoughts racing but nowhere for my body to go.

This morning I sat on the floor. Hours of suppressing that need to move, of keeping a lid on the crazy that threatens to swamp us all at any time, had left me on the floor, unable to rouse the emotional or physical energy to make breakfast for my children.

Every time my grandparents were okay. After my grandfather’s bypass, after my grandmother’s dizzy spells. They went on being okay.

Right up until the time they weren’t.

I want to be moving, but I feel heavy and silent and stuck.

Conversations, 2012 style.

December 22, 2010

Mom: Existere, are you going to teach your children about God?

Me: No.

Mom: Deep silence. Wow, no wonder the world is coming to an end.

(And people wonder why I think so highly of myself. Come on, guys, my mom leads me to believe I am solely responsible for the possible coming apocalypse.)

A is not really relative to B, literally and figuratively.

September 11, 2010

We-el, my mom has gone back to Country A this morning. We’re not planning to go there again until late next summer, so it will be almost a year till I see her again. And Bear didn’t come along this time, so the next time I see him it’ll be about two years since I saw him last.

Yes, I am unutterably cool for living ‘abroad.’ Yes, you want to ask for my autograph because I have two passports and COME ON, that is awesome.

But sometimes, well, it’s crap.

The only thing Country A has going for it is my family (and more space, cheaper living, and more trees). My parents are getting older now, and the idea that I have lived on the other side of the world for ten years now is a bit sad.

Still, these clumps of time we spend together are very intense and probably full of more ‘quality’ than if she did live nearby, or that’s what I try to tell myself. After all, we shared a bed (which wasn’t as awful as I thought, once she got over her crazy ass jetlag) and without this experience, I wouldn’t have known she would want to play Nintendo DS Brain Training or Simon Says on my phone for half the night (or take three nights to watch Meet the Parents). We giggled and giggled like we were having a sleepover….which I guess we were.


Today that version of ‘home’ feels a long way away, even as I sit here in my ‘new’ home, in an expensive little flat with my three favourite people (plus one neglected cat).

Baby fever?

September 9, 2010

I’m still here….and so is my mom. Hence the lack of updates.

A lot has been happening, but nothing quite compares to Snort’s cornea ‘bubbling’ yesterday. Or his big stay in the children’s ward for half a day while they waited to see if his eye would explode or he would stop breathing from The Allergies.

Still, we move on. Sort of.

I popped him in a sling yesterday while he was screaming uncontrollably and ripping at his eye, all the while his face swelling till he looked (as TMD said) like the Elephant Man. My little 20 or 30 minute stretch of babywearing has literally crippled me, and I can’t walk today without crutches. Thank god my mom is here, because I couldn’t walk and hold a baby. And with all the shitty nappies happening, that would be a bit of a grotesque nightmare.

I am just more and more blown away by how much I love them. It’s growing. And so are they. I love love love the baby stage and am actively thinking about trying to conceive number three.

I don’t actually know anyone – online or otherwise – who had another pregnancy after giving birth to multiples. Most of my palsies have had one baby, and then twins naturally. Or a set of twins with IVF and that’s it. I think, perhaps, twins ‘break’ people from wanting more children.

It hasn’t broken me. Well, I mean, of course it HAS broken me literally, but not my spirit!!!

I would love to be pregnant again (I reread my pregnancy days on this blog and wonder why I would ever do that to myself again, though!). Last time it was because I wanted to have the wonder and dreamland of pregnancy. This time it’s because I want another child.

If we’re going to do this, if I am going to get pregnant again, I guess I really ought to lose the weight. *sigh*

It doesn’t come off naturally for me because, well, I like being fat. Not all aspects of it, but the eating food and not exercising thing is totally awesome and worth it. For reals.

But with this new improved relapse that has me unable to walk again, well, shit. I need to lose it. I want some sort of inspirational application on my phone that will send me magical encouraging messages every day. Or some sort of talisman to stick in my bra and carry around with me. Or…or….


Mom’s cooking me an omelette as my curvy and gorgeous ass sits here on our couch, a baby napping on either side of me. Little feet are pressed against me from both sides; it’s like a reverse pregnancy. And while I would not-so-secretly quite like to have another set of twins, realistically I think we’d be aiming for a singleton pregnancy next time.

It’s a shame, as I’ve got a nice set of boy-girl twin names all picked out.


September 3, 2010

We’ve been busy

(splashing in rivers, flying high on swings, eating veggie chili by the bucketload, hugging, crawling outside, going for walks, laughing, and playing in big boxes)

since my mom arrived.

I’ll stop doing this in public when they are old enough to be embarassed by me.

July 24, 2010

Today we drove over an hour to go pick out the next stage carseats. We’ve bought bigguns that can be rear or forward facing, and we certainly plan to keep them rear facing as long as possible! These seats last till age 6, so that’s us set until we need booster seats. Expensive mofos, but at least we got a 10% discount on account of the whole twin thing.

Of course no daytrip is complete without a picnic lunch. Which, for us, means finding a beautiful park with giant lakes, rivers, and forests….that we couldn’t go near because of the whole non-walking thing. So we went a bit away from the carpark and had a lovely lunch on some grass.

Perfect weather, dude. Not too hot, and totally cloudy with a slight breeze. I am all about the cloud cover now that we’ve got kids.

All of that is just the preamble, though.

What I really came here to tell you is that I went pee in public. Very nearish this carpark, and in full view of both sides (though with a bit of scrub to block my ass from the sidewalk) of a fairly busy path leading from the carpark to the part.

I didn’t pull my underwear down a la traditional lady peeing. I pulled the crotch over (the bathing suit maneuver, dontcha know), lifted my skirt, and went like a freakin’ racehorse. I swear to you I don’t think I could have stopped, even if park wardens had appeared and were running at me with little pieces of paper stamped with a huge fine.

I made up a pretend story of telling the pretend park rangers I was pregnant and couldn’t wait, even as my pee released the pungent smells of the pine needles and moss below me.

Pee pee pee pee pee.

I handed TMD the camera before I went, but she didn’t take any pictures. Killjoy. I made her take a picture of me after the deed was done, standing next to The Spot and pointing to it. If you are my facebook friend, no doubt I will upload this picture with no explanation sometime soon – but you will know the secret truth.

My mother has never had qualms about peeing in public. And you know what? It was liberating. My bladder and state of mind both thanked me, and it allowed me to enjoy the remainder of the picnic in comfort.

So as far as days go, the whole peeing in public thing made this one pretty good. (As did Snort giving me SIX sloppy kisses in a row in the park and playing dollies with Coconut for the first time ever this morning!) Of course, I did tell TMD I would ‘rip her fucking face off’ if the fact that she neglected to give me the new card that we carry around to prove we belong to a multiple births national association that gives us discounts would mean we had to pay full price. And she told me to stop ‘acting like a fucking idiot’ for some reason I do not recall.

Elmo, who was in the front seat, told us both that we were being mean and he did not like it. TMD told him he should close his mouth until he learns a little bit more about menstrual cycles and how they make people jerks, and Elmo told her he knows about them because blood is red and so is he.

So. This was our day.

The Corn Chowder Story, part 3.

May 21, 2010

TMD has been reading this little saga right along with the rest of you, and she said it all seemed so foreign, that she didn’t recognise the characters in this little episode. ‘So much screaming,’ she said, with a grimace.

She’s right. I don’t behave like this anymore; I am more tolerant and amused, more sure of myself, less needing arguments to define myself. That being said, I recognise this girl well. I remember what it was like to feel so angry….and so afraid. So confused.

Parts one and two should really be read before this, the conclusion of one fight with my mother, but not the last. This was the start of creating a family out of friends who understood what I was going through, because they were going through it too. This was the first time in my life I’d felt that way, and so I cherish these chicken flavoured memories of a younger me.

I thank Opposite Gender Soulmate for his vivid memories and his skill with words.


We must have looked like some kind of animals. Existere ripping apart the kitchen to find a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup so she could verify, and perhaps photograph, its contents. J cackling wildly while pulling slimy pieces of chicken out of the pot and holding them up to turn them in the light. He squinted like a jeweler; it was some kind of righteous gold. “Look at the size of this baby!” he’d scream, pushing a wet sliver of meat into our faces. And I was pacing obesely, causing the giant bookshelf that dominated the living room to rock back and forth, its menagerie of books, toys, electronic equipment, and other gimcrack artifacts of college life dangerously on the verge of landslide.

I was shaking my head, going over and over the facts, enumerating points on the tips of my fingers. These points you see, when connected, would create a complete psychological profile of July… July, the mother… July, the control freak… (This is the part where you sit down and hold your breath) July, the homophobe.

“She is a Master Manipulator,” I explained to the other two, who franticly ignored me, “and she must be stopped.” Our motivation, of course, was the gratifying vision of calling July out, making her admit she was wrong, and then Rubbing It In Her Face:

Existere in a buzz cut and camouflage, holding a Ziplock bag so full of wet chicken that it looks like a lumpy, pink pillow; and J, snarling in full Christina Aguilera drag, hip jutting and limp-wristedly waving in the air a three page letter from the President of Campbell’s Soup Company; and me, flanked by the other two, delivering a rousing indictment, a Julia-Sugarbakeresque monologue. “And that, Marjorie, just so you will know, and your children will someday know, is the night the lights went out in Georgia!”

Six months before, not long after I’d met Existere, we sat at the edge of a lonely campfire, a black and unforgiving midnight pushing against our backs. With my arm wrapped around her she talked to me for the first time, in the smallest voice, about her mother. The woman she loved so much, but who—she was afraid—did not love her. Not ever, not really. It was significant, this moment of my life, to know that the fear we walked with, into and out of every day, was so simple, and yet it shook us to say it, to hear it said. Something inside of us made us vulnerable to vicious hatred, and it was something we could never change. And in Existere’s beautiful, glistening eyes that night I saw that her fear was my fear, too.

But in Existere’s face there had been rescue. Because she was so amazingly beautiful, so deserving, and she allowed me to see the same in myself. And so I stood up, for the first time in my life.

And half a year later we were still pushing—against that quiet, empty fear, and against the people in our lives before which we’d be the most vulnerable.

The phone rang. And someone handed it to Existere who was pacing now, in my place. “What?” she answered, pointedly aloof.

A pause. Existere’s eyelids beginning to twitch.

Something said into a telephone a hundred miles away ignited her. The other voice was loud enough I could almost make out what it was saying, and it threw Existere into spits of angry, frightened words.

“You are a bitch.” She accused, in a tone—a volume—that threw me back, and then she waited just long enough so a reply could begin—so she could cut it off.

“You have no concept of respect! Fuck you! Stop being so fucking stupid!”

Existere was crying through her rage, she never stammered, but gasped and choked at god-knows-what expletives and the violent denial her mother was spitting back. And I really did hurt for her. I imagined screaming at my own mother, which I’ve never done, and I realized how much I wanted to right then, to have the freedom to be so expressive. If only my mother would be guilty of such an otherwise overlookable offense, then I could let this anger and fear out. I laughed nervously with J.

“You put Fucking Chicken in corn chowder and fed it to your daughter who you Fucking-Well-Know is a vegetarian. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.” I could tell the frantic repetition was used to block out whatever her mother was saying right then, much better (more grown-up) than fingers in the ears, eyes closed, voice chanting I can’t hear you, over and over again.

“Fucking chicken!” she shouted one last time into an angry dial tone.

July had hung up, and Existere was alone again. Something had come between the two of them, as something often did, and she looked at me with terrified frustration.

And the chicken was the thing, but we almost knew better.

In the years since the smell of corn chowder first became eternally attached in my memory to what I’ve learned was the sound of love fighting for itself, I’ve watched Existere and her mother grow into a strong relationship. I remember being so afraid for her as I watched the splitting open in anger that day, or any of the times since. But I know now that these two women, in so many ways so different, yet irrefutably linked, without the freedom to fight with such fury, would never have found each other.

Postscript: July stubbornly maintains to this day that the chowder had no chicken. And we did do everything short of getting the letter from the president of Campbell’s to prove it to her. I have to think about what conceding to the accusation (the truth) would mean for her: the pride that might be wounded (but probably not); the chance lost to have a fun little spat every now and then around the holiday table (perhaps over a bowl of piping corn chowder), or the abrogation of the sanctimonious authority that is simply allowed to be irrational sometimes. And secretly, I’m mostly glad she won’t budge.

The Corn Chowder Story, part 2.

May 20, 2010

You could consider this a guest post, though I did not ask OGS’s permission to post these. He knows, though, and doesn’t care. Muhahaha!  Anyway, read part one here. This won’t make sense without it.


When I left home at 18 I put two holes in my left ear and one in my right and I became a vegetarian for ten months. It was an assertion of independence, a way for me to imagine I had established control. I was a grown up; I was sure of it. And I lost 30 pounds that summer, effortlessly malnourishing myself with Cheetos and Pizza Hut breadsticks and leaving out all the fatty, fleshy calories that help build strong, heavy bones and muscles.

Existere ended up a vegetarian for a slightly more valid reason: sometimes meat makes her throw-up.

Some women talk about establishing close relationships with other women to such an advanced degree that their physiologies begin to correspond, they menstruate at the same time and can actually feel sympathy pain for the other during physiologically stressful moments like childbirth or a breast reduction. My relationship with Existere, by this point, had advanced to a similar degree, and as I watched her eyes flood with the sour tears of nausea I felt a burble in my own stomach.

She’d dropped the spoon into the bowl of backwashed, rejected corn chowder and spit one last time and with a final nauseated shudder.

“Chicken…” she said quietly, like it was truly unimaginable, staring for a few minutes at the table, trying to make sense of what had occured: honest mistake? unforgivable betrayal? It was unclear to me what would happen next. On one hand, the nearly-full pot was still on the counter and my own nausea was starting to subside; if it truly was chicken that had ended up in this mixture, perhaps the remainder she would bequeath me and then I could eat as much of it as I wanted; I was once again ravenous. On the other hand, this was Existere, who was already scheming something behind her eyes, perhaps to photograph the soup flushing down the toilet, or flying through the window, to send the snapshots to her mother. “Thanks so much for the hearty corn chowder!” the note enclosed with the photographs would say, the word ‘hearty’ would be underlined.

When she stood up, trembling with the anger that was building inside her, I felt rage squinting my own brow into vicarious tension. I imagine this is what gang members feel right before they make good on the “I’ve got your back” promise and beat the teeth out of someone who has a fellow offended. Existere looked right through me and said, with a calm in her voice that reminded me of a kindergarten teacher or a serial killer, “Get me the phone,” and I obeyed.

Later that year, before I moved away from Existere, she called me at my Mom’s house. She asked me when I was getting back to the apartment in order to leave for our job as weekend counselors at a Girl Scout summer camp. When I told her I had decided not to work that weekend, that she would have to go without me, she screamed that if I was going to be such a “promise breaker” that I should not bother coming back to her apartment at all. We had four phone calls that day: twice she hung up on me, and twice her then-girlfriend called to say—”I swear”—Existere was not on the other line and that I could talk about anything I wanted, with perhaps the sound of a handheld taperecorder squeeking in the background.

What happened next amazed me. I watched Existere dial the phone, lick her lips, and smile sweetly. “Hi,” she said in response to what I imagined must have been her mother’s “Hello?”; their familiarity was automatic and a cordial conversation began.

“I was just having some of this corn chowder and I was wondering what all was in it.”

Her mouth puckered into a quiet suspiciousness.

“Mmmm hmmm,” she said, “What else?”

And then more pause until Existere’s eyes suddenly popped open in a precursory a-ha!

“And what do you think cream of chicken soup is made out of, July?”

“What?! You say you’re sure there’s no chicken in the chowder? And that cream of chicken soup contains no chicken?” She was repeating everything her mother said in exagerated enunciation so that I could perhaps later give testimony in front of a jury of July’s peers.

“Well, you know what July?” And then Existere’s rage blossomed once more and she screamed the most abrasive phrase anyone has ever known right into her mother’s heart, punctuating each word with a period:

Fuck. You.

And then she hung up, throwing the phone on the ground, and her hands went into the air as though to ask me “Why is my mother trying to destroy me?”

The next fifteen minutes we spent going over the facts of the situation. There had been chicken in the chowder, we had all seen it. Existere had J (the other roommate) and I touch the muscley fibers floating in her spoon just to be sure. Her mother had admitted to using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup in the recipe, though she denied that there was any chicken in the product—”It’s just called that,” she had said. Existere was a mostly always vegetarian and her mother was well aware of this. They had even had a conversation in which Existere explained she only wanted the chowder if it was to be meat free.

It was obvious that someone was lying—perhaps, I suggested, in one last attempt to manipulate the goings-on of her daughter who had become a fiercely independent lesbian with a shaved head. Existere nodded her head painfully while crying into my shoulder.

By the time she was ready to make the second phone call, J and I had already pulled out a good quarter cup of the chicken pieces, ruining the entire batch of soup with our grimey fingers, throwing the chicken into a small Ziplock bag that would be frozen and presented later as evidence.

And then the phone rang. We all froze. We knew who was calling, because in our manic rush to build a case against the mother who then stood as a representative for all the mothers who had ever dared to frown upon homosexuality or vegetarianism, three homosexuals we were united, and we’d forgotten that this wasn’t just another mother stretching the skills of manipulation. This was July, the woman who had taught Existere everything she knows, and July had been hung up on.

To be concluded.