March 10, 2014

Do You Believe in God?

One time, I was flying from Denver to Chicago in the spring when the winds are awful. It was my first week at a new job and I moved mountains and made lots of calls to get onto that flight with my boss so we could hightail it to Chicago for a sales meeting. 

I ended up in the middle seat near the front of the plane and she was in the back. About an hour into the flight, the plane started dropping out of the sky, literally. We were heading down and the pilot came on the PA and shouted, “Everyone, in your seats now!” The flight attendants ran with the little carts to the back of the plane and told everyone to put their seat belts on.

It was quiet, strangely and eerily quiet except for a few gasps and cries each time the plane would lurch up or down or side to side. It went on for what felt like hours, but it was only a few minutes. But I was scared, really, really scared. And I prayed to God. I did not pray to nature or the wind or Good Orderly Direction or Yin or Yang. I prayed to capital “G” God and I begged to live. And when I thought that might be asking for too much, I reduced my prayer to please let me die on impact so I did not burn to death in the fuselage. 

In those last moments of thinking the plane was going down, I simply wanted not to suffer physical pain. I did not ask for forgiveness, I did not ask for anything other than the release of future pain.

The plane leveled out and we did not crash into the earth at a million miles an hour. Everyone was quiet and weird and scared the rest of the flight. The pilot came on and said it was unexpected turbulence that did not show up on the radar and that it happens sometimes.

Did my prayer to God save us from crashing? No, because I never even asked for the plane not to crash, I really just did not want to feel pain. And I didn't. So, I guess there you go. I guess someone else must have prayed for the plane not to crash.


Do I believe in God? I don’t know, but I pray every day anyway. Because I did not burn to death in the fuselage. And because one day I might.

June 12, 2013

Go Gentle Into That Good Night


I was thinking about death, which I often do, because I am often convinced I have some terminal illness that all the doctors I have seen in my life have missed. Every headache could be a brain tumor, every sinus pressure a stroke and every weird ache some rapidly growing cancer. I don’t know why I am like this.  I guess it just seems that life is so tenuous and we are all just one random accident away from meeting our maker.

Both my mother and father died of cancer and had funerals at a church. The casket was open at the front of the church and people milled about and went up to the coffin to “say goodbye” and then chatted with the family and told us how wonderful our mother was. In fact, one person at my Dad’s funeral was like, “You father was a good man, but oh lord, how I miss you mother.” Which was pretty funny and apt. I think Dad even felt that way – “Man I am a good person, but oh how I miss Celeste.”

I also recently attended the funeral of my brother in law. Pat was a good guy. He was quiet and lurked about not wanting to take up too much space, but he was funny when you got him going. When Mike told him I was pregnant with Max, Pat said, “Are you sure it’s yours? I mean, she travels a lot.” Which I thought was hysterical. The thought of me running around in sensible business clothes having affairs in small cities is funny.

At Pat’s funeral, people of course shared good times and how much they loved Pat. Almost everyone said the same thing – I had not seen him lately. In fact, I had not seen Pat in over 2 years. He moved across the lake, things got busy, you know the scene. It made me sad to think he left his world not knowing how much I and others cared about him and how much we valued him exactly as he was, as we all are – an imperfect child of this Great Universe.

I started thinking that if I ever do find out I have some terminal disease, if I have notice that I am going to die, I am going to plan and attend my own funeral. I mean, why miss the party? How awesome would it be to invite all your friends to your funeral? They would treat it like the real thing – wear black, take bereavement leave, bring a casserole and then they would stand around and talk about how wonderful I was. And I would wear a white robe with wings and flit about the room from conversation to conversation saying things like, “Bless you my child” and “I am watching over you.”

I would get to enjoy all the peace lilies and bouquets of Stargazer Liles. I could personally write my own thank you cards for donations in my name to the charity of my choice. I could see if Mike keeps good on his promise to have a bagpipe player at my funeral.

And after the funeral, there would be light snacks and a buffet at my house for family and close friends. There I could dole out my belongings and read my will. Who could contest it then? I mean, if you don’t understand it, you can just ask me! Wonder if I had any regrets? Just ask, I’ll share the scroll-long list of them! I might even be able to check off a few things on the list before I pass over to the other side.

And then, when I did finally die, I would go off knowing that all those people cared enough to come to the funeral and send me off. And they would know, that I knew, that they cared all along.  Just as I suspected they did.

 

May 15, 2013

Hot Buns and Mothers Day


On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Max had Mike take him to Target to get my present, which was a much needed pair of slippers since the dogs slowly but surely ate the last pair. I wore them with their gnawed open toes for a while, but finally Stella ate one so much that I could no longer keep it on my foot while I walked. Max excitedly gave me my new slippers which I was very happy to receive and I placed them on a high shelf when I saw Stella excitedly sniffing them.

But then, later that day, after Max and I went to the planetarium, he told me that the slippers were not really what he wanted to get me. What he really wanted to get me was something he had seen on TV that you could only procure by ordering from TV or at Walgreens. And we just happened to be stopped at a red light with a Walgreens on the corner. So we stopped in.

Max asked me give him $20, point him in the direction of the “see on TV” things, and wait by the front door. So I gave him $20, we wandered up and down the aisles looking for the “Seen in TV” area, and then he selected his gift for me. We went to the checkout line where I was told to wait “over there’ while he paid for this purchase.

And when we got to the car Max showed me my new Hot Buns. What are Hot Buns you ask? Hot Buns are like giant rollers that you roll your hair up in and then snap into a bun. I tried to explain to Max that I did not think my hair was long enough for a hot bun, but this did not deter him. On the car ride home, he read the step by step instructions to me, spelling out the words he could not read, assuring me this was going to be simple and would result in my looking beautiful for my date with Daddy that night.  He said, “It’s easy Mom, you just Roll, Snap and Wrap!”


When we got home, Max ran and got a brush and a pony tail holder. He read the instructions to me again instructing me to get all the hair and pull it tight. I think he was disappointed that my hair did not totally cover the hot bun thing, but I assured him I loved it. He told me that if I wore a white dress, it would look even better. I did not even ask where that came from I just said, “Hmmm.”

I spotted him eyeing my hair several times over the course of the next hour while waiting for the babysitter to arrive. I know he was thinking that I had not done it right and that is why the bun did not look like the one on the box. I had tried to explain that the girl on the box had thick hair down to her ass, but I could sense he still thought it was a failure on my part, some inability to manage my own hair.

When I was dressed and ready to go, after Max looked me up and down and asked, “Are you wearing THAT on your date?” and I answered, “Yes I am” to his sigh, the babysitter Victoria arrived with her friend Emily.  They walked through the front door with their long luxurious hair and Max ran upstairs to get the other hot bun , the instructions and a brush. I warned the girls that they were in for a hot bun treatment and they were thankfully game. In fact, they had so much fun, these 2 wonderful girls with my sweet boy, that when we got home from the movies, he asked us to leave again so they could stay longer. That easily I was replaced with younger girls who clearly know how to manage their hair.

I suppose it is a preview of what’s to come in a few short years when I can no longer smother him in kisses in public and when he won’t register that it is Mother’s Day much less give me a special gift of Hot Buns. Until then, I will proudly sport my Hot Bun.

P.S.  – Just a word of warning…learn from my mistake and do not use your work computer to google images of “hot buns.” You will not get picture of smiling ladies with their hair wrapped into beautiful buns.