“Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same.”
~ Flavia Weedn
Welcome to Thoughty Thursday here at More Cowbell! This is the day of the week when y’all get to be privy to whatever thoughts are kicking around in my brain.
I know that 90% of you looked at this title and wondered, “What on Earth is that Jenny up to today?” That title is family code for: “I’ve got my mama on my mind.”
You see, my family doesn’t call me Jenny. Or Jen, or Jennifer.
Nope, my fam uses the middle of my given name and does derivations of the word, “Niff.” (And let me tell you, having your big brother — that would be the Bag Whore — introduce you to all his cute friends as “Sniffer” sucked bad. Total teenage trauma with that one.)
It all started yesterday when I scheduled an appointment with a counselor to wade through the grief that’s been dogging me lately. The first session is next week on my mother’s birthday, the ninth one since she passed. I had one of those weird out-of-body moments when they gave me the appointment time and I realized I pay someone now to do what my mama always did for free.
She was stellar at hearing a tumbled mass of feelings and helping to smooth them out.
In all likelihood, I wouldn’t BE so jumbled up on this whole grief thing if my mother was still alive. For one thing, as an oncology nurse, she specialized in grief. We had books like On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and The Courage To Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum on our bookshelf.
I’m kind of wishing I’d pulled those books down a little more when I had the chance, but mostly I’m wishing I could still call my mom to chat.
She had a way of listening with her whole self that encouraged people to reach deep. The best way I can describe it is the quote below:
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and
can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
~ Unknown Author
My mother knew all the songs in her childrens’ hearts.
Several thoughts flitted through my mind during the surreal moment I mentioned above:
- A fragment of the Flavia quote at the top of this post (we had all her books too)
- How much my mama would have enjoyed Baby Girl, who’s named after her
- My family and I send around Maxine cartoons on my mom’s birthday and I haven’t gathered mine up yet
- How much I miss hearing my mom’s voice
Here’s a sample conversation, so you can hear her in your head too:
Me: *sees Mom on Caller ID and smiles* Mamacita!
Her: How’s my Niffie Poo?
Me: Doing good. Driving to work.
Her: Who are you teaching today? Will there be any I-D-10-T perpetrators?
(She freaking loved all the geek-speak for calling the end users morons.)
Me: Today it’s salespeople, which means I’ll be repeating myself alot. Tons of A.D.D. in this group. How are they treating you at Barnes? (Hospital in St. Louis where she was a patient way too often in her final years. She died at age 65.)
Her: I had to have a donkey barbecue with the nurse’s aide again.
Me: The same one as the last time? Commode Guy?
Her: The same one.
(Note: We called him Commode Guy because he kept leaving the room without shutting the top of the commode next to her bed, which enraged her.)
Me: Oh Lord…what happened?
Her: He left the lid up again! I had to talk the attending physician and the lung specialist with the lid up. It’s hard to look like a professional when your commode’s wide open.
Me: I can only imagine. I’m sorry, Mom. So what’d YOU do? (Because I knew she’d done something.)
Her: As soon as they left, I rang the Call button and asked for the aide. When he came in, I made him close the damn lid! Then I said, “Sir, there’s a word in the dictionary between diarrhea and dipshit. Do you know what it is?” And he said, “No ma’am.” So I said, “It’s DIGNITY and I’d like to keep what little I have left. Do NOT leave the lid up on my commode when you leave the room. Please.”
Me: *helpless laughter*
There was much, much more but that should give you the flavor of her, as will this post about her garage sale. She was the queen of the one-liner, especially when she was pissed off. Incidentally, a “donkey barbecue” is an ass chewing, just in case you missed the post I linked to above.
I miss how hard she made me laugh.
I miss how much easier she made my life, just by being herself.
Most of all I miss hearing her voice dance in my ear with her playful greeting of “Niffie! Niffie Poo-Poo...” It’s a nickname only a mother could get away with.
In honor of my mom, here’s a few cartoons from the Maxine Facebook page, just for you:
Are you missing anyone today, especially in the wake of September 11th? Do you have family nicknames that make no sense? What is your favorite friendship quote? Enquiring minds ALWAYS want to know these things here at More Cowbell!