April 29, 2014

Mom –

I got this new app called TimeHop that connects to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and will tell you what you posted one year, two years, three years, etc. ago. (I don’t know if you’d be able to figure it out, seeing as you have just barely figured out how to answer your smartphone!)

Today, two years ago, I posted about how excited I was that you and Nana were coming to visit. I just can’t fathom how the universe had to come together to allow us all to have that time. You drove down from St. Louis, spent a few days in Dallas with Aunt Daphne and Uncle John, and then drove the rest of the way to Austin. You hadn’t yet seen my apartment – even though I’d been there for almost a year already – but it was a definite upgrade from the last apartment you saw. (Remember how valiantly you tried to hide your reaction at that dingy place on Craig St.? We parked in the alley… even from the front of the building, saying it “wasn’t much to look at” was an understatement.) I was so proud of it and proud to have you there; I had worked so hard to decorate and to make it my own.

I don’t know if you ever lived by yourself. I know that, in college, you always had roommates. I remember stories about one big house with a bunch of girls (and one boyfriend!), about the cockroaches, about the little dramas that happen when women live together. And then you moved to Dallas with Daphne after college, right? But pretty soon after that you moved with Daddy. Maybe to Lufkin? Nagadoches? Was that when you were a vet tech? You’re not around to ask. I know stories from growing up that you told me when I was little; from high school, when I was in high school; from college, when I was in college. I have no one to compare myself, now. Are Alex and I where you and Daddy were when you were just really starting out as a couple? Maybe a little behind, actually – because I think you were marrying Daddy when you were either 23 or 25, and I’m almost there myself. I think it’s these kind of little wonderings that are really going to get to me over the next few years.

Anyway, you and Nana came and stayed for what felt like forever – but the good kind! I took you to Kerbey Lane and we ate Queso, you and Nana and I went on an Austin Duck Tour and into Lake Austin and to Mozart’s Cafe and to Chuy’s, and to visit Ruth and Marla in San Marcos, and to South Congress Cafe with Hannah and Eliza, and shopping at Uncommon Objects and all those places on South Congress with Mari and Leah. I was so happy that week – weeks? – that you got to meet my friends and see my life. You and Daddy had been before, and you guys came back last Thanksgiving, but having you, just you, for a few days, was unbelievable.

I think it was the last night that we just hung out at my apartment. I sat on the floor and you sat in my recliner, and we both just fooled around on our computers and read and ordered Chinese food, and maybe we watched some Sex and the City. One of the greatest thing about you, Mom, is that we can really do just nothing and it feels like so much. We could sit and watch TV for hours, and it was just the act of having someone next to you, to comment on about a show, or to share a memory that sprung up. I wish we had had more intentional conversations, but the fact that we could talk about important, meaningful things like we were commenting on commercials was really special.

I read another woman’s blog – she’s not writing to her mom, really, just about her – and she talks about using the present and past tense. Sometimes, as a habit, I use the present. Sometimes, when it’s real that you’re gone, I use the past. You and all of your librarian wisdom would probably have the best grammatical answer for me; Daddy and his psychologist theories would have the best emotional one.

The other day I was telling Daddy how I would go to you for advice on practical matters – when I wanted a straight answer, or clear options. How-to questions. What-do-I-do-if questions. About paying bills, cooking, cleaning, applying for jobs, etc. Daddy’s not so good at those; he gives the long answer, if you will. But I always went to Daddy about relationships, friendships, those “meaning of life” questions. It wasn’t until recently, that we were both teachers, that we really talked about life, and how I was feeling, and what I was thinking and hoping and dreaming, and we were becoming fast friends. I liked calling you after school and telling you about my day. You would be happy to know that Daddy is doing a really good job listening to my daily recaps. Even Catherine and I are talking. You’re probably sad I’m not calling you every day anymore, but you convince yourself not to be because now I’m building stronger relationships with Dad and Cath. I think we have that same tendency to convince ourselves to feel a different way for the sake of others.

I really wish we could talk about this right now. Do you wish you would have pursued your library career sooner? Did you put anything off for Catherine and Daddy and I? Do you feel like you missed out on anything because you had kids? Were we worth it? Were we little shits? Do you think if I get pregnant and have babies, that I’ll have as bad depression as you did? Should I get married someday or not? Is it better to live your life for others, or for yourself? I’m trying to piece together the bits of advice you’ve given me over the years, but it’s always Daddy’s little adages that come into my head, and I wish I had more of your words to live by.

Well, Mom – if I sit at this computer just putting down whatever comes into my head for much longer, I’ll probably be here forever, and you have better things to do with your time that follow my train of thought for the rest of the day! Today I’m really going to crack down on looking for a summer job and some volunteer work to do, and try and move another load of stuff from my house to Alex’s. Things are really coming together here! I wish you could see me – a regular housewife!

I love you. Talk soon.

– Robin

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