Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Life Lessons #72

Apparently, that pearl of wisdom also extends to phone calls. After too many glasses of merlot, or beer, or whatever-the-hell it was the other night, I decided to answer a call from my mom, a call that somehow ended with a plane ticket to her house.

I hadn’t spoken to The Beast in quite some time, and not since she’d moved from California into my dead grandparents’ retirement house in Idaho; a house that I spent much time at as a child. A house that is inevitably linked to the essence of my grandparents, (who were more like parents to me than the people I lived with). So, I had a weak spot when she called, I answered the phone more because I wanted to know how the house was doing, than I did how she was doing. And I got my wish, Rey and I fly in in a couple weeks.

I’ll be reunited with that three-story house and it’s sprawling yard in the middle of the mountains. Reunited with the red cedar decks that overlook the river; the river where I spent countless afternoons swimming and catching tadpoles and learning how to cast. But, most importantly, I’ll be closer to the memory of my grandparents than I have been in a long time. I’m overwhelmed, not only at being reunited with that special place and those special memories, but with the fact that The Beast is lying there in wait.

The hangover that I woke up with the morning after that call never left. I’ve been riddled with anxiety and diseases ever since. Every other thought is of plane crashes and car crashes. I’ve even gone so far as to imagine The Beast murdering me while I’m there. I’m suffering from arthritis, strep throat, breast cancer and cervical cancer. I can’t sleep at night because I’m plagued with these thoughts.

But it’s not just the thoughts of death that keep me up, it’s the nagging possibility that the real thing (the house, its smells, its contents, its nostalgia), won’t live up to my expectations; won’t be as grand as they were when I was a child basking in the love of my grandma and grandpa.

I’m terrified at the prospect that nothing will be exactly as I remember it. That my doll collection from the auction won’t be under the stairs in the garage where I left it. That the card house my grandpa and I built in the living room won’t be collapsed near the fire. Terrified that my grandpa’s straw hat won’t be hanging on the dining room chair and my grandma’s curlers won’t be under the bathroom sink. Yet, I know they won’t be.

But, what will be there is my mom, something I never wanted to encounter there.

Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out.


Sean said...

No, don't bawl. Please no. It's still the splendid living space that you and your grandfolk enjoyed. It's something that has a river with tadpoles in it. It's in Idaho. It's not inner city. It's not cockroach infested. It's not all the bad that some more unfortunate youngsters grew up with. And you're getting to see that home of some of your most fab memories. Bawl if you want, but I'll continue to sit here, give that last post a reread, and ruminate in jealousy. I never had all that good shit growing up. Maybe you've had it too good Leila?

Addie said...

It's hard reconciling good memories with current unpleasantness. My only living grandparent, my grandma, is 2 different people in my brain. I've got the grandmother who used to take me to the beach as a child (and consequently gained the nickname of B-Mom), who always got down on the floor with me and built forts under the table, who let me have cereal with sugar in it when I came to stay at her house. I cherish those memories as if my grandmother is no longer living. This is because she is now mean, vindictive and manipulative. My point is try to seperate the two in your head so you can enjoy the nostalga of the house (the way it was in your memories) and not let the beast's habitation ruin those memories. Good luck, sweetie! And catch some tadpoles while you're there!

Anonymous said...

Hey there,

Your description of Idaho is so beautiful. You should not let anyone ruin your wonderful memories, not even the beast. Just think, it would be so nice to get away for awhile. I don't doubt that it must be hard for you. If it becomes too unmanageable, just hop on the next plane out!
All the best.

Lacy said...

I almost wish that they were my grandparents with that description!

Leila V. said...

Thanks guys! It's like my mom always told me, "think of all the kids who have it worse than you." To which I'd respond, "think of all the kids who have it better than me."

I know I'm lucky for the time I had with my grandparents, but it still hurts that their gone.

health watch center said...

Hey Lelia,

You wrote this post very beautifully and added your love for your grandparents, which made this post awesome.

Your mom is right "think of all the kids who have it worse then you" when you feel down, feel like you don't have, feel like you are missing something.

Self Help Zone

tournesol said...

I hope your trip will be full of the good memories. I too was raised by my grandmother, great-grandmother actually, and got all my good motherly qualities from her. Fortunately I was able to have a good relationship with my real mom later in life, more of a friendship. Great grandma will always be "Mommy". I can drive by her (our) old house whenever I want, but I can't go in. You're lucky to be able to go back to the place. Try not to let "B" ruin it for you. Don't give her that much power!

Leila V. said...

It's all about perspective. I'll try to keep that in mind when I'm there.

Yeah, I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to go back. But it's scary to think things won't be the way I remember them. You're right, I shouldn't give my mom so much power, she doesn't deserve it.