Memories of things you’ve never known

spring tree

As we bounce between end-of-winter temps and beginning-of-spring temps, I am feeling the undeniable effects of there being more light and more ability to be outside without it being uncomfortable. I want to do more, and I’m doing it. Going out more, watching more movies, making more plans, but also starting to tackle things I’ve put off for far too long at home. I got my taxes done, finally, and managed to eke out enough of a refund that I’ll be able to pay off my outstanding tax penalties for city tax withholding mistakes made in 2014 and 2015 at my job that continue to plague me, in one fell swoop. This week, I will get my new checks that have only my name on them, which I have not had since 2002, and I will write my first check to that agency, so that they can stop picking and picking from what little is left over each month after I pay all my other bills. They’ll be done and I’ll be done and yeah, my new checks have peace signs on them.

I continue to find and go deeper into my community. Discussions with chefs, female friends, male friends, theater people and others make me realize how good I have it to be  surrounded by so many smart, interesting, creative people who somehow seem not to know how reviled I was growing up. Who knew that the girl whose clothes got made fun of, who was voted worst dressed and most likely to become a serial killer (among other things) in high school would have this rich, amazing cache of community who all seem to think she’s pretty fucking great.

It is a new day as I come more and more into my own as the person I am continuing to become. This single mother who is working hard to keep up with all the school work and art projects and math and spelling drills, reading to the kid every night, teaching him how to gamble, I mean, play Yahtzee, teaching him Battleship and strategy, teaching him how his nose can tell him what’s going on in life – when food is done, when something is wrong with a car, when spring is really here. The deer and geese have been parading by my apartment the last couple days in a much more entertaining march than the St. Paddy’s Day revelers a few days ago. The animals know it is spring and are very busy, and so is this animal.

New pictures are hung. Old pictures are removed from their frames and put into storage with old memories that are not for discarding, as they are important and part of who I am, but they have their place, in a box on a high shelf somewhere out of my immediate space, so that I can retake that space completely and decide how to fill that space as it creates more and more pockets. Who knew there could be so much room in a 900 square foot apartment? I’m making more room all the time. So much clutter has to go. I took an hour and organized my “office” area, which is really just a couple of shelves in my makeshift computer desk, and man, it cleared my mind and made everything so much easier. There are things everywhere that should have been thrown out long ago, and now I’m getting rid of them.

The boy and I had a very busy day. This morning we met another generous friend who had a bag of clothes for my son. I swear, half his life, he’s been outfitted by good samaritans from my tribe who know I need, who think of me and my bony kid, and put things aside for us. He was thrilled to finally get an Angry Birds shirt, and a Skylander shirt, whatever the fuck those things are. He wore the Skylander shirt to karate “graduation” today, which was really just the tail end of a 5-session program at his school after care, giving the karate center owner a chance to sell everyone some more classes. My kid wasn’t into it at all. He wanted to take the classes because all the other boys in extended care were taking them, but he thought it was stupid and couldn’t do any of the movements the right way. We were almost late to the graduation as I thought it was at the karate center, and he argued with me that it was at the rec center. We went to the karate center and it was deserted 15 minutes before the program was to start. So off to the rec center but they didn’t know anything about it, called the karate center and they said yeah it’s here, so we raced back and got there just in time.  When the guy was telling the kids at the end how they should raise their hands if they wanted their mom and dad to know they wanted to take more classes, D turned around to me  and wrote out “N-O” with his finger in the air. HAHAHAHAHA.

Then we went downtown and managed to snag a free parking meter so we could go to Tower City to get the really, really good caramel corn since the stuff I made a home a couple of weeks ago was sub-par. The doors to the English Oak Room were open, which is a space I’ve always been curious about, and I had D sneak in with me. Some musicians were setting up and there was a box of flowers awaiting a person to set them on the tables and the event planner in me sized up the number of seats, type of event. D said, “This looks like a wedding” and I was pretty pleased he figured that out, given he’s only been to one I think, maybe two. He wanted to know whose weddings he had been to.The past is getting blurry. I couldn’t remember my ex’s cousin’s wife’s name, whose wedding we went to several years ago, and had to refer to her as “Maximiliana’s Mom” to D so he’d know who I was talking about and tell me her name. It’s funny how when you no longer have those connections, your mind almost instantly lets them go, like lines you learned once and knew so well you could say them every day for two months, but if someone asked you now you’d be hard pressed to elicit a single phrase.

Then we stopped and picked up a pizza from our favorite pizza place, and came back and had kind of a chill night, eating pizza, doing laundry, me doing my cleaning and organizing stuff while he watched TV. I got him to do a few chores, but he finally lost it when he couldn’t get the comforter back on his bed the right way, and came out crying about it. I reminded him about earlier, when I had been so frustrated with the third time we had to get out of the car about something, and the STUPID FUCKING SEAT BELT that only works right if you really, really baby it and when you’re in a hurry, it’s really hard to. I got so fed up at one point today I was gritting my teeth and yanking on the thing and swearing and D started laughing and laughing at me and I said well, now you know where you get it from, and he said yeah. I reminded him about the seat belt incident when he was upset about the blanket and then he laughed and it was all ok.

And tomorrow morning he leaves me for a week, and I pretend not to be a mom to myself so I won’t miss him too much. Good thing it’s a very busy week next week, and getting busier all the time.



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