But, first...let me tell you what an awesome sister I have. Patrice is almost ten years older than me and she could easily pass as my little sister. She is one inch shorter than I am and since I am barely 5'1, she is like a munchkin. She and her husband are wealthy and I hold this against her WAY too often. They live in a huge house in the
A few days ago, she and I were talking on the phone and I mentioned that I needed to get a new set of sheets because my sage green sheets were getting threadbare. I also said that I was in the mood to go to the bookstore and buy a good book.
So, we met for dinner tonight at Blanc, one of my favorite burger joints. Every once in a while, they have a coffee bean coated hamburger that is so incredibly delicious that it is mouth watering. We sat talking and she asked if I missed Bing and Liv. I said that yes, for some reason this summer seemed harder than last summer, that I just felt so blue...
Patrice nodded, said she had heard it in my voice when we talked on the phone the other night.
"So," she went on, "I bought you some presents."
She does this nice shit. A lot. Much more than I do.
She gave me a set of sea foam bamboo sheets all tucked into this old fashioned old lady hatbox. Resting on top of the sheets? A 25$ gift certificate to Borders Bookstore. When I protested that she really didn't have to do this, she made a face at me.
"You're my baby sister and you have the blues. It is just sheets and a gift card, not a Mercedes, so just say thank you like our Mother raised us to and let's talk about how my husband is acting like a fuck face. I need to vent..."
I had to chuckle. Patrice is a nice Catholic girl. She rarely, if ever, says the word fuck, so I knew that she was really, really pissed off at her husband.
It turns out that he bought a puppy without asking her. So, yeah. Pretty much a fuck face, in my opinion. But, seriously, it doesn't take much for me to label that man a loser....
So...yes...I have an awesome sister. And my other sisters and their children are all descending on us this upcoming weekend. We are all going to see WICKED and party down.
Ok...on to Liv's questions:
1) How are you the same now as you were when you were my age? (She is 11.)
Here's my theory: people don't change all that much from the way that they were as children. Once in a while, an event will bring about change. Like when my Da died when I was even younger than you are, it did change me. I was no longer as innocent. I developed a very stiff backbone. When the worst thing you can imagine happens when you are just a kid, you become amazingly resilient. You also become scared to trust and love others because, hey...they could leave you or die or whatever. So, yeah, I changed in that regard. But, I am very much the same person that I was when I was a kid. I tend to be a loner, love to read, enjoy my own company. I am not particularly demonstrative unless I know someone really, really well and I tend to be more analytical than emotional. I will wager that when you are my age, you will be much the same as you are now: practical, pragmatic and yet, very very clever and funny. And you are your mother's daughter, Liv. You and I don't lend our hearts easily. And we would rather read than just about anything else.
2) When did you first feel like a grown up?
When my Da died. I had to grow up very quickly and I went from seeing the world as this safe, loving place to feeling as if I had to have my guard up all the time. Your grandmother and I did not get along well at all. I depended on my sisters and it was with them, that I felt safe being me. I still feel that way. I sometimes feel that the only people in the world who really know me are your Aunts Patrice, Celia and Jessie, you and Bing. And maybe Harriet too. But, my circle is small, Liv. Very small.
3) What were your worst/best jobs?
Worst job was cleaning hotel rooms when I was a sophomore in high school. I HATED it and it almost made me gag to have to clean bathrooms. I once threw back some sheets to change them and there was dried sperm on them and I had to go stand outside in the cool air and take deep breaths before I could back in the room and gingerly peel off those sheets, being VERY careful not to touch it or even look at it. My best job? Staying home to raise you until you were in kindergarten. It was kind of a lonely time, but it was also the most wonderful time of my life. It felt like you and me against the world and I was sure we would come out on top. I loved staying at home with you, Liv. It was very hard for me when you went to kindergarten and I had to go back to work full time because I had only budgeted for me to stay home until you were five. It was the most thrilling ride of my life, being with you.
3) Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. Not really. I think that there is absolutely lust or attraction at first sight. I have been incredibly drawn to people whom I only just met, but love is a very different animal. I don't really think one can fall in love instantly. Love has so many components and everything has to work on all cylinders. It is complicated. Well, romantic love, that is.
4) What was your most romantic date?
I am happy to tell you that it was with Bing. She came back to our city to live when you were in kindergarten. She had been living in New Orleans and she got a really good job offer here, so she moved again. She had lived here off and on, went to undergraduate school here, so she knew the area. She and I had never completely let go of each other, had kept our friendship very much alive. She and I started hanging out. One night, she and I went to see a play (and she must have really liked me a lot because you know how she hates plays...especially the one we went to. It was called Waiting for Godot and totally not her kind of thing) and then came home and sat out on the balcony and turned on the radio. She and I started dancing and the song, Ventura Highway came on and we were suddenly slow dancing. She held me close and looked down at me and I felt like I could barely breathe. She leaned down, slowly, slowly and said, "I am so far gone over you. So far gone." And we kissed. A lot. And yes, it was like the superbowl of romance. She told me later that she was terrified that I was going to tell her that I just wanted to be friends. And I almost did just THAT, because you know your Mama. She likes to analyze everything and rarely just follows her heart. But, with Bing...it was like I had no choice. Like she was my destiny. I hope that someday you meet someone who makes you feel like Bing makes me feel.
5) Was there one who got away?
I assume you mean a love. Yes. There were several. I dated lots and lots of really decent, good people and they were all worthy of being loved. But, I was a late bloomer and wasn't ready to let myself go for a very long time. So, lots of good people got away. Luckily, Bing wasn't one of them.
6) What is your best advice about relationships?
Be prepared to compromise. I think too many girls go into relationships thinking that they will be like the movies. They aren't. You have two very different people who come to the table with different pasts and ideas. If you aren't willing to compromise, you won't have a workable relationship.
7) What did you think the first time you held me in your arms?
Well, my eyes just filled with tears. Because...wow...you were such a joy. I remember feeling so exhausted but when I looked into your eyes (and you had blue eyes like most brown eyed babies do at first), I had this uncanny feeling of knowing that I KNEW you. It was like I recognized you from somewhere but couldn't put my finger on it. My first thought when I saw you was honestly this: THERE YOU ARE! AT LAST! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU! I had heard other mothers talk about mother love and say that they knew instantly when they saw their baby that they would die for them in a split second. I always thought that those mothers were exaggerating, Liv. But, you know...they were right. I knew the second that I saw you that you were the love of my life and that I would die for you. In a split second. Or maybe even faster than that. And it was such an odd feeling for me to experience because I was never the type of person who gave of myself very freely. But, you had my heart in your little hand from the beginning. You still do. It just goes on and on and on, this mother love. It is like a well that never runs dry. Lean on that love, Liv. I was born to be your Mama and you were born to be my daughter.
8) Do you miss having a baby in the house?
Sometimes. Yes. Having a baby is an incredible amount of work, but like I said, it is worth it. I wish that I could have given you a little brother or sister, but I was so old when you were born, nearly 42. I knew you would be my only child. And you are plenty.
9) Do I remind you of yourself?
Yes, in some ways. You are reticent like I am. And you are not much into frivolity or the kind of person who just flies around like a gadfly. You are a thinker and tend to be quiet like I am. But, you also have a very sarcastic humor like I do (Bing used to call you "precocious"..) and you share my love of gardening and books. You are a little more gregarious than I am, not much, but a little bit. You are probably more like your father than you are like me and frankly, I think this is a good thing. People like me aren't very easy to know and you have more friends than I ever did.
10) What is your favorite flower?
I like violets best. But, you know that.
And last, but not least:
11) What is your favorite quote?
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured and far away."
Time to for me to say goodnight, gracie...even though it is almost time for you to be waking up in France!
So, goodnight gracie..and I love you more than ten moons.