My Mama left today, after having spent the last two weeks with me. Excuse me, I need to blow my nose. I've been leaking fluids - tears, nose funk - since she left. I don't full-on cry much anymore, but I rarely escape a goodbye without leaking fluid. It used to be much worse, I used to just SOB, which let me tell you, ain't a pretty sight. You know those women who cry so gracefully and beautifully? The ones whose faces are serene as the tears roll quietly down their beautiful snowy white cheeks? Who can continue to breathe through their beautiful noses while this whole silent tear business is going on? They are the same people who wear a size zero, the same people whose hair is beautiful no matter how humid it is. Yeah, that's not me. When I cry, my face kinda twists all up, I get furrowed brow and quivery lip and BIG FAT EYELIDS and a swollen, red nose. I do not cry pretty. So it's probably good that I don't full-on do that often with the airport goodbyes anymore. I can just see the airport security guy telling me that all this fluid is definitely more than 3oz, and I can't bring that on the plane. I'd have to check myself in the cargo section.
But my heart is always wet-beach-towel-heavy. There's a part of me that feels like a child, all warm and fuzzy and cared-for, that feels like everything is right with the world when my Mama is around. She does shit for me my husband would NEVER do. She irons my ironable things (this is a big list, skip to end of parenthesis if you aren't anal like me - tablecloths, doilies (shut up, YES, I have doilies), runners, tea towels/dish towels, pillowcases, the tops of my embroidered sheets, duvet covers, little girls frilly and not so frilly dresses, my tops/blouses/skirts). She makes sure we always have fresh limes because come 3:30 Wednesday through Sunday, ain't the bar open yet? It's time for a Cuba Libra! She makes her little guest quarters seem like a slice of her little heaven, even though it's my guest room in my own home. It's hers, when she's here. It's cozy waking up in the morning and knowing she's in the other room, waiting until 8 (yep, she's a spoiled rotten slacker) to bring her coffee in bed and warm up a decadent cinnamon roll for her. Watching the joy she gets out of stopping at Tamale House #3, which Does Not Sell Tamales, buying her two guacamole crispy tacos for less than $2. Hearing her subtly direct me in her Mom Tone with cooking, cleaning, laundry, occasionally child-rearing, with her little bits of wisdom (which I am free to take or leave, because it IS MY HOUSE, after all, but generally I take them). And then knowing she's gone to sleep in my home as early as my daughter, because her RA takes a lot out of her, and she needs about 10-12 hours of sleep each night with 3 potty breaks. I grow so accustomed to the little bright spots when she's here, the conversation, the swinging on the porch, the extra set of eyeballs to keep an eye on Hootie (read: keep her from breaking shit or killing herself) when I'm getting things done I hardly get a chance to do when she's not here. And when she's gone, even though it's been all of about 30 minutes and she is still sitting at the Austin airport, probably having just boarded the plane, my heart feels so heavy. It's like it takes extra energy just to continue shoving hemoglobin through its arteries, contracting and expanding. Then I get used to that feeling like a constant drip of water in the middle of my forehead, coming from a rusty pipe under which I'm strapped to a board for my torture, and start to not notice it so much anymore. Visits cannot go on forever, and eventually we all go back to living our lives, she in her town, with my sister and family and her friends, and I in my town, with my husband and daughter and friends. I know that I will see her soon, that after Christmas, mid-January, we'll go back up to the Pacific Northwest and help her recover from another surgery. In the FOG. That is so thick you can't see your mailbox across the street, let alone Five Mile. And it'll be colder than a whore's heart, 10 degrees colder than anywhere else in the town, and with 3 extra feet of snow. But I miss her nonetheless.
And so does Hootie. We love you, Moosie!