* (This is one of those confessional, dry-at-the-mouth, write-it-as-it-comes pieces.)
Two things about Mother's Day:
1) I found out my little brother's engaged. I met the betrothed once. I don't remember her from the meeting, really. I don't remember how long she was around for. I and my next brother and his wife spent a couple days with our parents and grandparents (who decided to move to Oklahoma. They're displaced Chicagoans, not the other way around.) about a year ago when we met her. I don't even remember her name. I think it's Christine (no relation to Miss Re:volt... I hope.). And I didn't find out from him - the engagement, that is. Or the fact that he was thinking of going out on this. I didn't find out from mi padres ni mis hermanos. I found out a couple days later from my uncle. Who rarely talks to me. Or to anybody.
I don't know what to think. I hear she likes my parents. Which is, well... abnormal. They're (I love 'em, but honestly) weird. I haven't seen Meet the Fockers, but the analogy (not the types of people they are, or professions or whatever, just their abnormality in the face of other, mainstream people) is apt. Ditto the Munsters. The Addams Family. I love them to death. They're not bad people in the longest shot. They've been married for some 35 years now, and the only way I can describe that miracle of God is by comparing my mom to Marge and my dad to Homer. Real Simpsons-heads will know what I'm talking about. The rest of y'all, well... Jesus still loves you. And, believe it or not, she ("Christine") is attracted to that quality.
I knew Heidi - my sister-in-law - for quite some time before they got hitched. I didn't know her well the entire time. But I knew her and got to know her progressively from the time when she was sweating Brian (my brother) and he was just trying to figure her out (y'know us inner-city mixed-white kids, we always gotta go for a black woman. Oh... no? Ok, maybe just a few of us in my family.) to their *special friends* to plain-ol' bf&gf to engaged to standing in their wedding in beautiful Door County, Wis (We only got a night there. Had to return the rental [car] before I lost the apartment.). And quite a few Sunday eves, haircuts and bbq's in their West Side house, as well as times when we get together for church stuff or we mix up our youth groups (They're at a Cubs game right now, getting rained out.)
But Brian and I stayed in Chicago together. Even when he went to Ohio for college, he kept in touch and would spend about 1/3 his weekends back in the Chi. Now they live a few miles away. In a bad neighborhood. But who doesn't? (Oh, that's right. I don't anymore. Maybe I will soon. Decision's due about the lease on Saturday.) David, however, is in the Navy. And so is his beloved (to use Song of Solomon language). They barely see each other. He's got a couple years left, if he doesn't decide to re-sign. ("See the world," my asterick) I won't see him or her. And that's the problem. He's my hermano. I'm supposed to see him, to know about him, to know where's he going and what he's about. I'm the oldest. I was raised to raise my brothers and look after them. I changed David's diaper and made him blame the wall everytime he got a boo-boo (not to be confused with "boo boo") when one of us threw him at the general vicinity of the wall. Then he would punch at the wall and feel all better. Dummy. We used to tease him for being fat. You have to understand, we're a skinny family. Or, we were a skinny family. Now, Brian and I are the Kings of Lard (Yes, the opening band for U2). Didn't I make him drink vanilla extract, convincing him it tastes like ice cream (and I'd do it again in a heart-beat)?
I can't even imagine it. I'm fortunate in that I only have one brother in the services at this period. I'm fortunate that he won't see any real skirmishes nor be in a line of fire. David, one of the smartest people I know, is a nuke technician (another Homer reference). If he's hurt or lost, it's most likely because of a mistake he made. Which, in the long run, would be funny. But, still, he's not mine anymore. He's not even his. He's property U.S. Government, folks - like some stocked cheese (Poor people, unite. You know the reference!).
Still, congrats David and *Christine*. Love you dumb-dumb.
2) My moms. Twice in two weeks I lock myself out of my apt. Twice. I'm becoming like my roomie. So I get in a bit later and then later (note hesitancies) pull myself away from Le Chorises (sp?) to call my mama on my other roommie's cell. It's already 11. But we talk for a little over half an hour. My mother has bipolar disorder. When we first discovered this, it was called Manic Depressive. You didn't say someone has a particular disorder, you qualified the person as their disorder. Since then, the PC have taken over language and, amidst their guerrilla tactics and overbearing-ness, have shown that connotations can have negative effects on the way we view the disabled (or, differently-abled, which is just stoo-ped). So, out goes "manic" because of its inbred relation to "maniac." But sometimes I wonder, how far can you separate the disease from the diseased?
I miss my mama. The lady I talk to is not the same one I grew up with. It's not that she has Alzheimer's. I can't imagine taking care of mi abuela or mis padres under that situation. Again, I'm blessed. By comparison. But a rose is a rose is a rose... And not to be about despair or depression or negativity. I know and am assured that God works ALL things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. I know that tribulation and trials are par for the course in following Jesus. And I know that if I weren't a Christian, well, life's not fair and nobody ever told me otherwise. But the pain is still there. The hurt resides sometimes in the recesses of the soul. In the deep, dark corner pockets. And sometimes it just hurts. I cry. A grown asterick man. I weep. I want somebody to come out of hiding and hug me. I want my mommy. But she's scared.
I dread asking her how she is. She doesn't back down from telling anyone how she feels at any given time anymore. Heck, she'll tell you whether or not you ask her how she is. Anxious. Guilty. A couple weeks ago, she was in town to visit my uncle (long story, but he was in the hospital for about a month. My grandma came too. Had to cart both of them around the city for a bit. But nothing compared to B&H. Not that it was bad, just consumming. Then again, they bore us...) and came to church with me. It was bittersweet and kind of funny. My friends know her situation, but now they were seeing it first-hand. She would tell everybody within earshot how exactly she was feeling and her interpretation of why that was. The roots for her problems, in her consiousness, heck the Everything for her problems, the tree, the bark, the branches, and the leaves are from twenty years prior. Apparently, she did somebody wrong somehow and the grace period for forgiveness has long passed. It's the death of grace. She cannot accept that grace. I spend time with her everytime I talk to her about the fact that God loves her and he forgave her 2,000 years ago. She'll repeat it, but, for real, the devil is a liar a thief a robber a vagabond a murderer from the beginning. Mental diseases don't just exist on the physical plane, let's put it that way.
If you're of the frame of mind, please pray for my mama. And yours. That Joni Mitchell song is so flippin' true. "You don't know what you got til it's gone." I want to remind my friends of that. So many of them are still embarrassed of their parents. Pssshhh. They haven't met my dad (Daisy Dukes. Penny loafers. Calf-length tube socks. False teeth he'll pull out in an Kodak instant.). Love 'em while you got 'em.