Sunday, May 11, 2003

THAT day

I've never been all that fond of mothers' day to begin with, but now that I've achieved motherhood status I especially don't like it. Before it was just a matter of remembering to call your mother (and in my case, your stepmother as well). Now everyone on the planet seems to want to wish ME a happy mothers' day if I happen to leave my house with any child in tow. I hate it that the Sprint PCS information operator wished me a happy mothers' day ("if you're a mother" she said. I felt like smacking her), and that the first place we went to for brunch (and bailed on) was packed with mother-daughter dress-wearing bourgeoisie and a scary Little Bo Peep clown.

Mostly I hate that this day is now just a painful reminder of mothers' day two years ago, when Polly collapsed on the kitchen floor and was rushed to the hospital, and we learned of the brain tumors, and everything changed. I spent the day two years ago not calling her, for the first time in 21 years or so, because I knew there was something wrong and I was afraid to talk to her on the phone. The day before had been my sister's graduation from acupuncture school. Polly had arrived wearing some sort of long-sleeved wool getup, and I asked her aren't you hot in that? It was an exceptionally hot day in Boston, for May. And she just smiled wanly at me and didn't reply. She hardly spoke all day. That evening she drove us to the restaurant but forgot what she was doing and started heading back towards her house before my dad gently reminded her which direction to go. Weird things like that had been happening for a few weeks. She seemed distant, quiet, maybe even angry, definitely not herself, but if you asked her what was wrong she always said "nothing." We all sat stiff and anxious in our chairs, watching her study the menu while the waiter cocked his head, anticipating her order, which never came. Finally she managed to get some words out -- I think she ordered duck. She spent the evening holding her head, looking pale, like she had the worst headache of her life.

Of course, when this kind of shit is going on, no one ever thinks "oh, there must be a growth in her brain that is impeding her speech center!" Instead, you think she's angry, she's nuts, she's lost it, there's something wrong with her mentally.

But if we had only known.

We found out too late, though, and three weeks later she was dead.

OK, so that was a downer of a post, and I'm sorry. On a happier note, I ordered "Brian's Favorite" for brunch at the Austin Diner, and when the waitress came to the table and said "Brian's Favorite?" and I said "Yes!" well, it was just priceless. You had to be there. Brian's Favorite, by the way, is scrambled eggs mixed with cheese and bacon bits, a biscuit and a side of grits. It was righteous.

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