Okay, seriously? Let me be very real and say...I've been having a pretty rough time of things for a few months now. Emotional stuff, everyday life stuff, a pretty consistent pile of...stuff. Stress and ms go together like Aqua Net and open flame, like a grease fire and water, like Coke and Sweet N Low.
The summer? Can best be summed up by the following: Revolving ball of stress, very long and hard work, constant roller coaster ride in family employment and finances, as well as personal and family health matters, including my grandmother's tenacious battle for her life. The conversations that she and I have had throughout this battle are discussions no one should have to have with a loved one, especially their grandmother whom they grew up so very close with. Or maybe that's exactly why those conversations happened, because of that closeness. If we weren't so similar, if we didn't "get" each other like we always have, we couldn't have them. Eh, so maybe I'll take that back.
I ran to the grocery store for a couple of things and, upon entering the lobby, heard the familiar sound of clicking. A child was acquiring one of those .25 cent toys from the little red box on pedestal. I stopped in my tracks to stare at it. Couldn't tell you what was in it, because all I saw was 1975. I remember Mom letting me catch the change that came sliding down the tray at the cash register. I first had to count it aloud (ya know, to develop my mad math skillz), then could go get a little football helmet, or a gumball, or a jawbreaker. Just then, my utopian daydream was interrupted by an aggravated voice stating, "EX-CA-USE ME...damn!" In her defense, she very well may have excused herself 5x or more. I was so engrossed that I wouldn't have noticed.
I took a wrong turn as I exited the parking lot. Keep in mind, I've lived in this town for over 30 years, yet I make wrong turns in times such as these. The same kinds of wrong turns...always back toward the home I grew up in. I indulged myself and decided to drive to it.
As I continued on those familiar streets, names of which I still can't fully list (because I just knew how to get everywhere I needed to go) I was hit with memories of riding our bikes around town, walking to school through neighborhood yards, playing kick the can, stickball, and frisbee football. I arrived at my old house and drove by slowly. I instantly recalled Mom and I laying on the floor, on our bellies, coloring opposing pages. She never made me adhere to a color scheme. I could make green people if I wanted, purple grass, etc. I couldn't color in the lines if you paid me. Mom was patient, always trying to show me how to darken the borders, color in all one direction...but try as I may, I just couldn't. In fact, you would've thought I colored it with my feet.
I then envisioned sitting at the kitchen table with Mom and Dad, coloring Shrinky Dinks with those tiny pencils, then watching them bake through the window of the avocado green oven door. Flash to baking with the Easy Bake, making a colossal mess...and the oven going "missing". I now know what happened to it all these years later, Mom. Fool me once...
Retro'ing always makes me smile, but this time? I felt my eyes welling up with tears. Sometimes, I want to be that kid again. I want my biggest worries to be "did Mom pack tuna fish or lebanon bologna today?" I want the worst thing to hear in a doctor's office to be, "looks like she's got tonsillitis again". I want to walk out of my elementary school and hear my grandmother call my name as she awaits me in her rumbling Corvette.
As I was in full out sobbing cry, barely able to see the road, I was reminded that God has not left my side. It's not like I'm enduring these really hard things on my own. He's got it all under control, even when I'm spinning. And that it's a blessing to have so many wonderful memories to be psychotically thrown back to when the stress level reaches "Plaid".
My thoughts turned to my kids...the absolute loves of my life. My loving husband, whom I'll soon be celebrating an anniversary with. My Dad, my hero. My Mom, the greatest friend I'll ever, ever, ever have. And my Mommom:-) Because she's just that funny, even in the midst of what all's going on. Finally, I remembered...I had that 2 for $5 Breyers ice cream in the car.
Crap. Anyone for milkshakes?