When do you stop missing someone?
Not missing you. Not missing you. Not.
I just realized that some of my recent angst may have more to do with the death of most of my peeps. Peeps like my mom, my grandmas, my mother in law – people who would have been part of a mutual basic support system, particularly at this time of our lives.
I read articles and posts about ‘gardening like grandma’ or ‘cooking like mom’ or ‘sewing like aunt insert-name-here’, and feel the soul-deep lack of knowledge that I carry around like a sack of potatoes. I’ve been beating myself with that damn sack a lot lately.
Feeling like a miserable excuse of a woman because I don’t have the natural cooking or gardening or sewing instincts – with the residual effect: a lack of motivation to work on learning those skills mid-life.
I accept that I was a stubborn child. As soon as I hit high school, I was off and running: working a part-time job, going to daily cheer practice and every football game, sitting in on wrestling practice and attending every match, off and about and always on the go. I was not home long enough to learn the basics, let alone to learn more advanced items.
Once I graduated, off I went to make my own rules. Out the door a week or so after graduation to live a life of fast food, fast living and barely getting by.
Stubborn. Oh I was stubborn!
Too darn smart to ask for help. I would buy processed foods and make them how I thought they should be made. I’d worked all day and was ready to play – cooking up a meal was a necessary nuisance and I did it with the only intent being to get something into my belly, tasty or not.
Years later, Mom once told me she was sad that she had not taken the time to teach me to cook. Give me credit for my honesty please, because I responded ”when did I give you a chance? I was never home.” I truly hope that helped her to feel better…
Now. Here I am. Forty-six years old. No Mom to call and ask “how?” No Grandmas to call and ask “how?” No Mom-in-law to call and ask “how?”
I’m not without motivation or ability. It’s just that I have no fricking idea where to start!
I can read, of course. I’ve done a LOT of reading. I just cannot trust everything that I read, particularly when there are varying rules and instructions. My head spins, trying to do everything right.
And I don’t learn as well by reading – I can learn whatever I need to, it’s just that I do so much better by watching once and then digging in and doing it with gentle guidance.
So. I’m feeling a bit lost, a bit weary, a bit teary.
The losses, the deaths that came too soon – Mom, eleven years ago; Grandma D, seven years ago; Grandma M – thirty-three years ago; and Mom-in-law M, twenty-two years ago. Deaths that caused great grief in me at their time, albeit not the same thing I feel now.
Now I know what those deaths meant, and how they have affected my life and the lives of my family.
I have been depressed.
Deep, dark, seething.
Bone weary, eye-stinging, foot-dragging.
I’m not really certain for how long. But it’s been a sneaky ol’ thing, this down.
So, the first step is – repeat after me – admit the problem. Right?
I wish I had spent more time asking my Granny how to make her homemade noodles. I’d like to have followed her around in her garden, gleaning information about how she prepped it and what she planted each year. I’d want to sit alongside her at the kitchen table to prep the produce for canning and storage. I’d love to hear the stories of how she survived the depression, the dust bowl, the wars, the tragedies, the joys. I’d like to hear her thoughts on progression, through the simplicity of outhouses and hand washing and ice boxes to seeing automobiles and airplanes and rockets. I should have been around more to visit as she aged, especially once she entered the nursing home.
I wish I had been more attentive to the needs of my Mom, and spent more time home to help her with the drudgery of keeping up with four kids and a full time job. I should have been alert to the tasks she completed and how they were done. I definitely should have taken notes on how she made that killer pot roast on Sundays. I should have been more available as she lost her mobility.
I wish I had asked Grandma D how to sew, and how to be a good hostess and housewife. I’d like her advice on making it through the health issues of a spouse. I’d like to hear stories about how life was tough with one parent and a missing father who loved alcohol more than his first family. I’d like to have helped more as she slowly lost ground to alzheimers.
I’d like to have grown up to know Grandma M better. I think she’d have kicked my butt into shape on occasions, as she was schooled in the fast life.
I’d like to have had more time to get to know Mom-in-law M. I would have enjoyed sitting over coffee to hear family tales. It would have been nice to share in the family to-do meal making, and learn how she made the favorite foods. I would like to have had more time to feel that I could call her “Mom”.
So, there’s that potato sack again, layed out and renamed Regrets. It’s a big ol’ sack that’s been beating me up something fierce.
Lay them down and let them go. ’Nuff said.