Monday, March 29, 2010


My mother never played with me. Ever. I used to wish she would get down on the floor with me, and play Barbies. Or run around in the backyard with me. It never happened. She was a good mother, all things aside. Except for her alchoholism, and her inability to be demonstrative, she did a pretty good job. We always had dinner prepared for us, and wonderful breakfast's. She even sectioned grapefruit for us, as that was always the first course of our meal. I hated grapefruit. She never let us sprinkle sugar on it, to cut the awful sour punch. We had orange juice as well, and a small pile of vitamins. The main course of breakfast, was always centered around an egg. An omelette (the dreaded chicken liver omelette...need I say more), or her version of an egg McMuffin. Sugar cereal was banned in our house, and only something I got to have on a sleepover at my friend's house.  Oatmeal was also another breakfast, inserted in every few days, to break up the large quantities of eggs we ate. I was never a fan of oatmeal. My mom tried to make it appealing. She made a raisin face, and brown sugar hair. I ate the hair first, and always wished my oatmeal face had longer curlier hair.
When I fist moved to NYC, the first time, I was just 18. I was a freshman at FIT. I couldn't believe that after years and years, my whole life actually, up to that point, was spent abiding by my parent's rules. I had a curfew, and I had to eat dinner with the family, unless I had permission to eat at a friends. I had to still eat a healthy breakfast, every morning. I had to take my vitamins. I had to have a job. I had to clean the house. I had a lot of rules. A lot. Now, my parents were dropping me off, to my dorm, in friggin New York City!! They were setting me free!! It was unbelievable. They pulled away, and the first thing I did was set up my room. I put all of my posters up, and made my bed with my fancy new bed-in-a-bag, and put all of my shower stuff in my plastic basket, that I would have to take to and fro with me from the bathroom, down the hall. After the room was set up, I realized, I could SMOKE IN MY ROOM!!!!!!! I lit up a Marlboro Light (that is what I smoked then) and I sat back on my newly made bed, in my new room, on the 8th floor of Nagler Hall, and relished in the fact, that I could not get in trouble, I had no rules to follow. What an amazing time in my life, I thought. I smoked my brains out, and listened to the traffic on 7th avenue. It was better than the birds chirping, outside my window, of my childhood home. It was the sound of freedom.
The cafeteria at FIT was yet, another new discovery for me. I could not believe the choices offered. And coffee. I decided I was old enough to drink it, and drink it I shall, even though the taste was not really all that great. The sugar cereals were abundant! They were all in large dispensers, and with the twist of a knob, a serving would drop in your bowl. I liked to mix several different kinds. I had never had such access to Captain Crunch, and Fruit Loops, and Apple Jacks. Freedom. Cigarettes. The whole city as my playground. What an exciting time.
Yet my mother's healthy breakfasts and stringent rules always haunted me. I felt that along with my morning bowl of sugar, I had to accompany it with at least some fruit. I even drank grapefruit juice. I still took vitamins. These things were imprinted into my very being. These rules that I had lived by for 18 years were so hard to shake. My mother had told me once, that if I was doing something that maybe I thought I shouldn't be doing, I should just try and visualize her there, and would she like to see what I was doing? I cannot begin to tell you the amount of inappropriate times my mother's face would appear in my mind. Would she ever just leave me alone???
I helped my girls make a shelter yesterday. My daughter, Olivia, went on a Girl Scout day trip on Saturday. I went along with her. It was an outdoor adventure. They learned how to make fire, and how to get water, and how to fashion a shelter for themselves, out of found items in the woods. She loved it, and wanted to build a shelter here on our property. I was kind of excited that I learned how to build a shelter as well, and wanted to help out. We looked for sticks, and tree limbs, bark, and leaves. I have not "played outside" with my girls, I don't think, ever. I played store with them one time, and I swear to God, they still talk about it. It was two years ago, and they still say, "Remember that time you played store with us...that was so great". How sad is that? Have I become that mother? The one too busy making chicken liver omelettes, and worrying about money and bills, that I am letting the sand just flow through the hourglass that is their childhood. Will they one day, flee our home, and feel sad about the mother I could have been to them, and not remember happily the mother I am to them? Will they fill themselves up with proverbial  bowls of sugar cereal in foreign cities, in some sort of silent revenge toward all the things that I never was to them?
I watched their faces as we made that shelter. They were excited. They were talking in almost, shouts to one another. They almost seemed shocked that I was in the thick of it with them. I had to hold back my tears just watching them.

No comments:

Post a Comment