One way tickets…times three

My life has been moving on fast, I have kept busy and tried to help my mom as much as I can with her relocation.

“My mom is moving to Chihuahua” is a short simple sentence, yet each word carries so much weight. I have said it probably 20 times, but just until now, these past few days, I have realized all it entails.

Cancelling utilities, requesting changes of addresses, having total strangers come and look at your “things”; things that have been part of my mother’s house for 40+ years, now sitting on tables, displayed as they’d be in a Bazaar. I think to myself, if those “things” could feel, would they be hoping to be rescued and re-sold, and be part of another one’s home?

My mother inherited from her mom a complete China set, very adorned with golden touches. I barely remember times when we used it.  It was mostly reserved for Christmas Dinners.   They reminded me of the Waldorf Apple salad that my Dad absolutely loved and craved for months.  Until recently, he said one day to me “I don’t have to wait for Christmas to come, I should have this salad whenever I want, right?” and so, he did.  About a year ago I remember him telling me that he ate some apple salad -between summer and fall-; he sounded proud, eating it almost with the sole intention of breaking a rule, which he was very good at J.

My brother was there last weekend, checking on my mom and helping with so many things that are left to do; I called one day and he answered the phone and even if I was not there I felt his pain and sadness across the thousands of miles between us. So far apart, yet I felt so close to him, sharing his emptiness. “We are cleaning up and packing stuff” he said.  Later that evening he sent me pictures of Vinyl LPs that he said reminded him of me. Classical music and Ballet Suites, along with Zarzuelas and Operas that my Dad listened to a zillion times.

I sent him a message later suggesting he didn’t need to save them for me. All the music I have a special love for, that linked me to my Dad, is in my heart, and some, on digital format, in my phone.  I refuse to cling to things that pull me back and make me sad and drown me sometimes. I don’t need that. I want happy thoughts and memories.

My Dad’s Blu de Channel is fading fast. There is barely a drop left and the scent is not the same anymore. It smells more like a forgotten sample at the Macy’s Men’s Fragrance Counter.

The weekend of the move is fast approaching. Only 2 weeks left and I have been in charge of choosing and booking the Moving Company. It is all set for Friday April 28th.

Thinking about how hard it will be for my mother to move out, see the truck being loaded, seeing her house empty almost to the bone, and then getting on a plane to her new home, ironically, her original Hometown, I decided several weeks ago to fly with her on that One Way trip. I would be more than happy to join her on the journey and be there for her, and share every moment with her, bitter or sweet, it doesn’t matter.

So I first purchased my one way ticket to Monterrey.  Once we decided when to schedule the moving truck, I bought the next set of tickets, one way again, from Monterrey to Chihuahua. Her helper, my mother and I.  Extending my stay as much as my busy life and work allow me, I chose a return date, and again, bought a one way ticket back home.

Once I had my 3 one way tickets, and the dates were set and stuck in my mind, I have been a bit nervous about that weekend.  I know being with my mom and brother will help a lot. I think the worst already happened: my father’s departure.

We will all be OK, we just have to have the right attitude towards change.

No matter how many people go to my mom’s Bazaar , like crows on a carcass, my memories are not for sale . They are mine, and only mine to keep.

I have been getting email from the airline offering a “Good Deal” if I complete my trip flying back with them. A computer program that shoots massive email out to customers doesn’t understand I cannot buy a round trip this one time.  As if I didn’t hate spam email already… these ones in particular I hate even more.

Ever since Christmas our house project (on my end) took a pause. I have so many things to work on: frame pictures, print photos that I took and love. Finish my 2012 scrapbook that never saw the month of April.  Plant more trees and flowers.  But I feel stalled, self-stalled. And I hide behind books or TV shows or the occasional movie. I have noticed that much. I am emotionally “parked”. And it’s fine. In time I will continue with more enthusiasm. This slowness has allowed more time with my kids, which I can hardly regret. So, one day at a time, and enjoying each one very much.

My kids are growing at a speed I don’t exactly love. My son is eating like a teenager already, having snacks and desserts the size of a meal sometimes. He told me yesterday directly to please not hold his hand when crossing the street any more- period. It is too embarrassing. I said, sure, fine. No problem.

I now ask for permission to kiss him in public. He still talks to me – a lot- and confides in me, he still shares his most intimate feelings; I am flattered with the trust and never take it for granted. His mild acne seems to have decided to stay, so his face has that constant reminder that he is not my baby boy anymore, so I kind of hate his nose right now. We laugh a lot together; he has developed a witty sense of humor and his answers frequently leave me speechless or make e burst out laughing. A couple of weeks ago he went to a Theme park with a friend. We gave him some spending money and he returned with most of it. When I asked why, he said he started a “Savings Fund”, either for a Cello or for a new puppy (ours is only 3 months old but he says that way in 10 years when she dies he will be ready to buy another expensive one).  So he ate barely anything at the park, so he could add to his fund.

I told him, if you didn’t spend your money you are supposed to give it back. He replied with a straight face “Mom, it is very rude to return a gift, you should know that “.

Today we washed windows together, he made $10 dollars. Last week he cleaned the baseboards of the whole house, he earned another $10.

Last weekend my daughter had 2 friends over. They picked 3 big bags full of grapefruit, and washed windows too. That is how my Dad was with us growing up; he constantly reminded us the value of money and how important it was to understand how hard it could be to earn every penny. He never made my sister and I work for money, but I don’t see how it can hurt these days, when kids are living in a world of instant gratification and don’t have a clear understanding of building something up from the very bottom. Not because they are not mature enough, but because in a generation of self-entitlement and constant rewards, it is not common practice.  That is why we taught our kids about Savings accounts, loans, credit cards and how the whole machine works. Why it is important to maintain a good credit record, to spend only what you have or know you can earn, not more.  At 10 and 12 years old, I believe they both understand it well.  Still, one can never stop instilling these values. Practice and example are indispensable.

This weekend (Easter weekend) I have being feeling particularly down. Commercials on TV show family feasts ,  large groups gathered around a Spiral Ham, potatoes, veggies, desserts, everyone smiling, picture perfect scenes.  It is all over and it makes me mad at times. Because I have never had that on Easter since I moved here, not once. But I do however, have the memories of our own Easter feasts with my cousins when I was my kids ages and younger.  The Easter egg hunts, the feeling of belonging to that large group. The pretty dresses, the sunny Sunday out in the big backyard of my mom’s sister’s home.

This is the second year –in a row- that we no longer to the Egg Hunt.  Once the Santa illusion was discovered and confirmed, all the other childhood heroes slowly disappeared: Tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, Leprechauns (I never got those), slowly but surely vacated our home, and our kids’ minds.

Now I wish I could see the expressions on my kids’ faces again when they went running outside to our small backyard to find the most fake colorful plastic eggs with melted chocolate, candy or coins in them. And spend the rest of the morning with their faces all smudged with chocolate stains and red tongues from the skittles or Jolly Rancher suckers.

I know I am feeling melancholy with so much going through my head, and my heart, and homesick too.  And also overwhelmed with the idea that it is up to me to create childhood memories (Easter, Christmas, you name it) for my own kids or none at all. In a way, I am the “producer” of a background in the movie where they each star. Not to mention a Director of the first part of it too. What makes me feel better, is that I have the best co-producer and co-director that I could ask for to engage in this never ending task: my husband, who lately has been amazing at understanding my mood swings, my anger, my need to be alone and to be there for my mom too.

Just last week I was sitting at my desk at work, when the receptionist came in with a beautiful flower bouquet sent by him. He has never been a fan of sending anything on the most predictable days such as birthdays, valentines or an Anniversary. So he keeps surprising me like that day. And I needed it too. Because this past week and this one too have been especially hard.

My sister came to visit just a couple of days. She had a work seminar up in Orange County and stayed here before that. I loved her company, I felt privileged to have her, her love, her support, her listening ears.

The day she left I stood by the door and watched as her little rented car drove away. I thought to myself, she is so small (she is only 5’2” or so), so petite, and yet she is one of the strongest women I have ever know and she makes me feel so strong too. She is so intense when she is with me, that that morning she left, the house felt strangely calm.

This morning I felt like doing absolutely nothing but staying in bed, read, write, cry, look at the ceiling, look out the window and enjoy our view.  I have slowed down these days, like my book “World Enough and Time” suggests. I have taken many mental notes about how to slow down and enjoy my days- all of them. So I am not staying in bed all day. I have written and posted this, and I will get out and get fresh air, exercise my body as I did my mind, and take it form there.

Happy Easter everyone.







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