Tag Archives: middle aged

Happiness Is Doing What Your Mama Says (even after she’s gone)

DSC_0731

 

My mom died five years ago today.

 

I’ve spent the past four anniversaries of her passing confounded by the shock and awe that goes into the passage of time.  I wrote about it last year, and the year before that, and so on.  I’ve always focused on my kids because – truly — nothing is a greater catalyst for maternal awareness than grief and loss.  It halts us:  little boys sprouting facial hair and muscled man-limbs in the blink of an eye, teenage girls blossoming into fascinating young women (with – eek! – boyfriends) and the dizzying commitments on calendar pages that keep us busier and busier (and busier…) with each passing year.  If only we had a dollar for every friend to lament, “Where did the time go?” on a post or picture.  It happens every day.

 

I think this year, though, I’m feeling different. I’m certainly still amazed by the quickness of time (and yes, I am still in disbelief that I can now legally grab a beer with 50% of my children). But I’m finding as time moves on, I am less paralyzed by the passage of it and more accepting of the presence – and present — of it.  I like it.  I really, really like knowing – and even not knowing – something’s coming ahead.  This slight shift in my personal paradigm keeps me excited and hopeful for the future, even on the down days.

 

Graduations.  Colleges.  Engagements.  Professions.  A stubborn boy’s long hair FINALLY getting chopped … There is so much greatness going on at every turn of our lives, and so much promise, it’s almost unfair not to be happy.  I have to be honest:  if my mom ever caught wind that there was anything other than joy where her grandkids are concerned, she would be one pissed chick.

 

So while I miss her like crazy, I can’t often stay sad for more than a moment or two.  That’s just not how she rolled.

 

I’ve no doubt part of my mind shift came with turning 50 this year.

50.

Holymutherfkkingsh*t, right? How the effing hell did that happen?  I’m pretty sure I can still dig up my tee-shirt that boasts “We work less and party more, cuz we’re the class of ’84.”  Seriously, this is something.  A lot of reflection comes with that magic number.  I remember planning my mom’s 50th surprise party.  We crammed all her friends into my tiny newlywed apartment and basically threw her a keg party.  She didn’t drink beer but we did, and as far as entertaining, okay, we knew little else. It worked.  She was elated – and equally annoyed:  she had just become a grandmother and was none too happy that her little baby Jesus didn’t make it to her kegger.  Still, she was surrounded by love.  And was until the end.

 

On these anniversaries I think of the friends my mom left behind and I am so, so sad for them to be going on without her.  I know profoundly the void they feel.

 

She taught me well.  Like her, I’ve become adept at insulating myself with friends who care deeply for me, friends I would do anything for in return.  Most are a phone call away.  Others, a car ride.  One, a plane ride taken on a moment’s notice.

 

Growing up, I used to read Erma Bombeck all the time.  I loved the stuffing out of her.  During winter break of my senior year of college I came across her column in the New York Daily News entitled “No Greater Friend Than a Best Friend.”  I clipped it and held onto it for a couple of months and then mailed it in a birthday card to Kristi, my best friend since 5th grade.  There was rarely a time we were ever living in the same state together for very long.   Kristi held onto it for almost a decade, then sent it back to me in a card for my 30th birthday.   I framed the yellow newsprint and sent it back her way when she turned 40.

 

Naturally it made its way back to me a few months ago.

It’ll hang on my wall for another ten years until, well, you get it.

 

 

How unfathomably fortunate that I have a 40-year friendship going strong?

How impossibly amazing for my mom to be the subject of such beautiful memories for so many?

How ridiculously wrong that my own children didn’t plan my 50th festivities???  (I kid, I kid.  I masterfully controlled every detail.)

 

I think about her every day but I honor her today.

 

You’re on so, so many minds today, Mom.

Cheers and love.

xoxo

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram. 

Wait, Who You Calling Old?

mom jeans

Not gonna lie:  I’ve been known to be a little judgmental.  (It’s really just one of the many book titles I’m laying claim to in the innards of my brain:  “I’m Just Saying What You’re Really Thinking”)  So it’s  actually with great irony that I must report how very publicly I was personally  judged this weekend.

 

It came from a twenty-something waitress as she collected menus following my party’s drink and app order.  We asked about the live music scheduled for later in the evening.

 

She surveyed our table and suggested that we might want to leave before the band arrived.

 

Excuse me, what?

 

“Well….they’re a little……” her voice trailed off.

 

What, we pressed.  Loud?  Violent?  (I’m a big music fan but I draw the line at some of the stab-your-grandmother music that’s out there) What?

 

“Ummm,” she shrugged, “I just don’t think you’re gonna like them.”  She walked off.

 

Where’s Steve Martin when you need him:  Again,  excuuuuuse me?

 

Detecting a challenge, we scrapped our plans to move on to a different venue later on and instead got comfortable.  We claimed a pool table and kept the rounds coming.

 

When the band eventually began they opened up with a pretty awesome  Tom Petty song.  (Cue the confused looks at our table. Huh?)

 

For the next three or so hours they played great covers of everything from AC/DC to Van Morrison .  I lost track of how many times I lifted my beer to proudly declare “Ha, THIS is on my I-pod, too!” (it’s a Nano but, you know, whatever).

 

I kept thinking, that snotty waitress can kiss my Adele-sized ass.

 

Now, I’ll admit there might have been a few vibes that (maybe.  perhaps.  if you stretched) hinted we may not have been the hippest bunch.

 

Getting to the bar at 7:30 might’ve been the first red flag,  I get that.  Young people —  like vampires —  repel sunlight and bars before ten.  I know, I know, been there done that.  But I will boast that we were indeed asked to “kindly depart” after the bright fluorescent lights had been on for awhile at last call.  Not a proud mother-of-four moment (and certainly not the first fluorescents we’ve ever seen)  but hey, no one can deny our chutzpah.  It happens (so does taking the next day in its entirety to recover).

 

Also, there was one of us whose six-foot frame took out a speaker (and maybe a couple of bystanders) with a very animated fall on the dance floor (NOT ME).  Lacking the grace of Brian Boitano (funny, how these always seem to happen in slow-motion), okay, maybe that could’ve shined an aging spotlight on us.  (No one got hurt.  I think.  Maybe just their roadie?  I dunno…)

 

And (alright, alright) perhaps a mob of middle-agers hysterically fist-pumping on the dance floor was a bit telling..  Ah well.  Three fingers up to make a W:  What-ev-ah.

 

Maybe a final dead giveaway was how we interacted.  One thing that definitely set us apart from the youngsters around us as how we sat as a group and talked and laughed.  You know, TO EACH OTHER.  At one point, a group of four girls nearby all tapped away on cell phones at the same time.  Having fun, ladies?

We sure did.

Take THAT, kids.

Here’s an interesting end note.  Our waitress was arguably the worst restaurant worker in the history of food service.  Her lack of charm paled in comparison to her professional skills.  We had to hunt her down throughout the night, usually finding her sitting with friends chatting (I know, right?)  Yet we still tipped her well because we are a different generation that does the right thing.  (Not to mention that collectively we could put a sitcom into syndication with all the eyerolling actions of our own young-adult-spawn).  It makes us somewhat forgiving.

 

Yes.  That would be us:  forgiving, freakishly good dancing and not-quite-ready-for-early bird-food-specials fun mongers.      #We’llSleepWhenWe’reDead

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Sleep Me off My Feet (PLEASE)

exhausted

When I was in college, you knew it was time to start getting ready to go out on Saturday night when my roommate, Theresa, exited the shower, walked across the apartment in her towel, and cranked up “Caribbean Queen.”

It was like a dog whistle.

Within minutes, bathrooms were bustling, Stiff Stuff was spraying and lips were lining (with precision).

And it was 10pm.

 

Nowadays, if 10pm rolls around you can be damn sure I am hoping my night is almost over.  Why?  Because I am freaking tired, that’s why.

 

I’m not exactly proud of it but I’m certainly not ashamed by it either because I know I am faaaaaar from alone. I want to sleep so badly but all my kids are at their rite-of-passage vampire stage so I’m outta luck.  I have teens coming in later on weekends and that stinks.  I have ‘tweens staying up later on weeknights and that stinks worse.

 

I know we all signed the (We’ll) Sleep (When We’re Dead) Contract when we became pregnant and that was all fine – back then.  But for the love of God, was it signed in placenta fluid?  Is there an expiration date?

 

Listen, I’m entitled to be a little cranky.  I happen to be running this show alone now.  My husband’s job keeps him out of town a lot and I must admit brag that I’ve gotten awfully good at keeping things afloat as a single parent. So long as everyone’s alright with egg sandwiches for dinner and a minimum of clean socks, I’d say this machine is running incredibly smoothly, thankyouverymuch.

But I have to be honest.  I am beat, man.  Throw in the Middle Age First Amendment (Thou Shalt Not Sleep Three Consecutive Hours Once One Hits 40 Years Old) and you are looking at an explosive yet very potential mixture  of sleep deprivation and homicide.

I can’t be like my kids and catch up with sleep on Saturdays because come on, there are dogs to be walked and husbands to reconnect with over coffee and  — you know – that litany of things on a never ending Weekend To Do List to tackle.

And forget lazy Sunday sleep-ins because let’s be real, we all know how those go: if you’re not where you’re supposed to be on Sunday mornings (cough, church) you’re definitely where you want to be (baseball/soccer/football field or well, a diner….) so THAT never works out either.

I suppose I could try sleeping a few hours as soon as I got home from work, waking up in time for dinner but — seriously, who can do that?  Oh wait….that would be a high school senior, who naps, then effortlessly drinks coffee at nine to stay up for three more hours of homework.  Screwy, right?

 

I think the greatest irony to this whole dilemma is that …

 

by the time all the chaos of kids and chores and commitments winds down …

 

… the Middle Age Second Amendment is suddenly upon on:  Thou Shalt Not Sleep Past 5amEver.

Can I get a collective “Craaaaaaaaap…..” from all my tired sistas out there?

 

 

Eyerollingmom spews snark daily:

http://www.facebook.com/eyerollingmom

http://www.twitter.com/eyerollingmom

http://www.tinadrakakis.com