My Mimom, my Dad’s mother, is old. She refers to me as, “my granddaughter the grandmother” and yes, she is a great-great grandmother. She works out with a personal trainer at the gym in her building for a half hour almost every day. She has been nearly blind for all of my adult life. She lives more fully, old and with poor sight, than most people half her age do. She is sharp as a tack and while we have grown apart these last several years, she moved much farther away than she used to be, she remains one of my favorite people of my life.
Some years ago a girlfriend of mine said to me about her, “do you buy a gallon of milk or a quart? When you are that old, do you think about how few or many days you have?” …and I realized this morning, thinking about my Mimom, and how she recently asked my Dad’s sister to take her furniture shopping, that she cares not for how many or how few days she has left, she simply lives for the day, each day, every day…her present tense is ALL that matters.
It is a flaw in me, my inability to embrace the now, the present, the what is, and while I do try, repeatedly to get better at it, I need to learn from one who knows, who has lived a long time, through good times and bad, how to be present. I admit fully that I have been difficult to be around for the last many months, that my inability to be content with how things are and what things are, makes me on edge and uneasy and pitifully unable to appreciate my present tense. I have come to understand over many weeks, perhaps more than I ever did before, that you can only be moody for so long before people just want nothing really to do with you…My Mimom, on the other hand, is one of those people who, everybody wants to know, and spend time with, and has always been this way…As a child I spent most if not every school vacation with her. She is the person who taught me how to set a formal table, eat an artichoke, serve crab imperial, how to mingle at a cocktail party, how to throw together an impromptu dinner…she used to be the ultimate hostess, and not only had neighbors and friends for cocktails many times a month, she also threw luncheons for her lady friends and had bridge games with snacks weekly…she has a big laugh and a big voice and has a kindness and joyousness about her that made and still makes people simply want to be around her.
I have not been living for today for too long. My friend Miss B. who lived down south for many years often uses an expression, “any day you wake up on this side of the dirt is a good day.” I love the expression but have not been successful in my implementation of the concept. I believe I am either not trying hard enough or am too consumed with other thoughts to simply be present, to have my “Ah” moments, to just live well…it’s sad for those around me who can only take so much and so many of my mood swings, and it’s sad for me, really, who has so much to be thankful for and grateful about and can’t simply stop with the roller coaster of occasional or sometimes frequent, negative thoughts. My Mimom clearly went through hard times in her life; getting married during the depression, having her husband go off to Europe in World War II…I’m sure they had downs in their marriage and that she had downs of her own, but in all my life knowing her, she never gave any indications ever that things were in any way, amiss…I never asked her, but I am pretty sure she probably never needed to pay a therapist my BigDad’s hard earned money to help her get her shit together!
My Mimom always told me to keep my relationships with my girlfriends at the top of my list of important things, that relationships with men often end and men often die first and that it is critical to a happy life as an adult woman to have close girlfriends. While I only have a couple with whom I share time, and even then it is not so often, I do have many women with whom I am casually acquainted whose place in my life I treasure. I can’t be a good girlfriend to others if I am not a good friend to myself. I’ve great aspirations of being a better version of me. To have my public persona jive with my own state of mind is as good a place to start as any…but how to make it happen is what trips me up, time after time. I can’t write that I am lazy or unconcerned, because I am the opposite of both, and I truly want to be better at being me, living for today. We live this life day in and day out and sometimes things fall brilliantly into place and sometimes they crumble horribly apart, but it’s still OUR life, we have to make the best of the situation, any situation, any time…I do not wish to upset my friends or family or people in general with my words or my actions. I do not wish to feel so conflicted and confused and frustrated so often with myself. My Mimom was a guide for me as a young girl and woman who I should have paid more attention to in the details…I could have learned so much more from her than I did…She gave me a good foundation, it is up to me alone to build upon it…day after day…