I was dreading going to my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. As I was driving in the car, I was running through my head all of the quick responses to her questions that annoy me. “That was an awful person you were dating last year, why can’t you meet anyone good?” Oh, I don’t know mom, maybe because you had such a crappy marriage, I’m terrified that I put up with the stuff you did. “Why does your hair look so dry? When you were a little girl I took care of your hair very well. It makes me embarrassed.”
I never had an answer to that one. I was never interested in primping myself in the way she did. Just wash and go. Get to work and work hard. She never understood that about me. I had to stop to wonder why I would be putting myself through this torture each holiday. I had come to dread the winter holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I was raised in a strict household. Family always stood together. When your parents get old, they move in with you and you take care of them. My mother had been in the hospital several times this year. I knew the time was getting close for her to move in with me. I was already running ragged between her home and mine every morning and evening. The constant nagging every time I was around her was really starting to affect me. “Your getting fat, what are you eating?” Her voice lifted as I entered the door. “Come in and let me take a look at you, what is that horrible color you are wearing?” I greeted her with a smile and just by passed her questions. I looked to the stove and commented on how the food smelled great. “Well, that’s because I make home cooked food. I don’t pull it out of a can or cook some old dead frozen cow, everything is fresh”
I sat down and I watched her moving around the kitchen, she was slower and weaker. I remember a once vibrant woman who zipped around. “Come here and help me, the pot is too heavy”. I rushed up to grab the pot handle. Her wrists seemed so weak they would break under the pressure. “If I don’t cook myself, I would never get a decent meal around here, Lord knows, you don’t know how to cook.”
She sat down quickly and said, “My chest hurts.” I watched the right side of her mouth starting to droop right in front of me. I ran to the phone and called the ambulance. The operator on the phone told me if we had four children’s aspirin in the house give it to her to chew. We didn’t have any. I asked her if I could crush a regular aspirin and give it to her with water. I left the phone off the hook and quickly crushed an aspirin and put it in a glass with a swallow of water. She drank it and winced at the bitterness. Just then I could see the ambulance arrive. They took her vitals and lifted her onto the stretcher. I waited to follow in my car to the hospital. “Make sure you turn off the stove.” She told the paramedic. He looked at me and I ran back to check the house.
At the hospital, I waited in the ER for them to process her. The same old ten thousand questions about Medicare and who is her primary doctor. It was like a drill I knew by heart. I was then asked to return to the waiting room. I sat down. Across from me sat a little girl. She looked around six years old. I smiled at her. She came and sat down next to me. “My mommy is in there.” I asked her what happened. “There was an accident at her work.” I looked over and I saw a man appearing to be her father, walk up to her. “Mommy is going to be just fine, wait here a little while longer and I will take you in to see her.” The little girl hugged him and then returned to the seat next to me. “So, why are you here?” We started talking about my mom being sick. The little girl seemed very wise for her age. “You don’t seem sad that she is sick, aren’t you sad?” I realized, no, I didn’t seem sad. I had become desensitized over all of the times we had been back and forth to the hospital. I had become numb from all of the negative questions my mother interrogated me with. It seemed as if, I was relieved not to hear any bickering. “You should be sad; mommies always love their babies that are what my mom says.” I tried to justify why I wasn’t sad saying I knew she would be all right. But deep down inside I knew the truth. I didn’t feel anything. What was wrong with me? I know I love my mother, but why am I so cold? Should I pinch myself really hard so I could feel something? The saddest part is I read a book called, “The Secret”. The book addressed several aspects of the laws of attraction where you are instructed to be “in gratitude” thinking of all of your blessings. The book also teaches that thoughts equal things. This means I attract exactly what I think about. I started to feel overwhelmed with confusion. I got up and walked to the window where I could look out and maybe think better. How is it exactly that people are suppose to think and be positive when you are dealing with difficult people on a daily basis? Can you really be the change? Can what you do and think change them?
I remember when I first learned the laws of attraction. No matter how negative my mother’s words were to me, I would combat it with something positive in my mind. Overtime, I became worn down and I gave up. It seemed like for every positive thought I had. She would have twenty negative ones to come back at me with. I wasn’t happy. I was alone and tired. I had started to become resentful of having to be around her and I somehow decided to numb it all out. There I was standing there in the ER devoid of emotion, a walking zombie.
The little girl walked up behind me and tugged on my shirt. “I like the color of your shirt, it’s nice.” I laughed inside and asked her, why she liked the color. “Because, it looks bright and pretty like sunshine, it’s the color of happy.” The color of happy? What a way to describe something, especially after the way I was feeling. “Did you pick that color for Thanksgiving?” The little girls question didn’t make sense to me. “If I had Thanksgiving today, I would wear that color and everyone would know I was happy.” I looked at her very quizzical. “We didn’t get to have Thanksgiving, because my mommy had to work. I am just wearing my house clothes. Daddy and I were just going to watch TV. But, if I was having a nice Thanksgiving, I would be so happy. I would want to wear a sunshine color like you.” I felt myself smile for the first time in a very long time. I realized that despite our inability to get along, my mother, in her own way was doing her best to make Thanksgiving special for me.
Here I was standing at the window, not living life. I don’t have all the answers as to why everything I want hasn’t worked out for me so far. I haven’t examined carefully how to use the laws of attraction. But something is definitely is going on right now. I felt the need to want to change and do better. Somehow my willingness has attracted a little girl whose simple questions have evoked in me desire to try again. I asked her to follow me to the vending machine so I could buy us some hot chocolate. As I sat down and felt the warm sweet flavor, I decided to be in gratitude for that moment and feel good.