This past year has been full of joy, love and caring people. As well as depression, dismal health,
financial upheaval, and the on-going care taking of my sick mother. I spend time with my sweet
grandson and leave like I could float above the clouds. I smile like a maniac on the drive home
remembering the shining front teeth that have sprouted, four at once, almost over night. The
intoxicating smell of sweet baby. Even under the lingering aroma of mashed sweet potatoes and pears.
The way splashing bath water at his grannie is the most fun experience in his whole day. His unique
discoveries of how things work. Like grannie's digital camera. Or how the zipper on her purse is
resistant to his little fingers, futilely grasping the pull without success. Then, on to something else.
Like my feet. Pushing at them with his little "yabba doos" as if he is imagining the streets my feet
have trod. The people I've met that he wants to know. Always looking for someone new to
play with. The tilt of his head and the intense stare when you just know he's trying to figure
out what all these big people think they are doing. Getting in his way, stopping him from pulling
up to the glass coffee table, tellling him that "no" he can't crawl into the kitchen. And, the one I
think he resents the most? "Kohl, get away from the garbage can".
You really want to see him ticked off? Clean up the floor around his high chair. He throws his
dry nibbles on the floor and then comes back later to snack on them again. When he doesn't find
anything, he will let you know how displeased he is that someone had the audacity to pick up
his food and hide it from him.
You know that tense moment in a parent's life when a child is trying so hard to speak? When you're
waiting anxiously for that first word. What will it be? The age old standard: "mamma" or "dadda"?
Who will be the first to hear their name from the lips of their dear baby? Will he say "mamma" when
he's with daddy? Or the opposite? Now, what if the fates decide that the child's first clear, exact
word isn't either of those? That in reaching to take something from another person, the child's first
word is: "GUM"? Kohl did that to his mamma. Tried to take her gum out of her mouth while saying
the word gum. Clear, precise and of a volume that defied anything else being spoken. Yep,
neither of his parents get to gloat! I was there and laughed myself silly!
So, why with all these amazing beautiful memories am I so depressed? I think because I don't "have a
life." I didn't realize that anything was wrong. Until one day a friend asked me what kind of art
project I was working on. I looked around and saw the vestiges of art everywhere. A canvas
on the counter. ATCs on the table. Inks, paints, papers, ephemera, various and sundry art elements
covered with a thin layer of dust. "What?" When did this happen? Where was I when the Arizona
sands were making their way into my home? Covering up the art doll that was a-l-m-o-s-t finished.
Sprinkling those gritty little particles over my art space. Putting texture into the paint that I hadn't
planned on making texturized. When monsoons, dust storms 100 miles wide and extreme heat
filled the weather forecasts but didn't register with me.
There were months that I have little to no recollection of. I have the pay stubs to prove I was
clocked in at the bookstore. I got paid for being there. I must've been doing an okay job, cuz
I still have a job. I just don't know what happened during those months, with ME. I know I logged
crazy hours on Facebook, playing mindless games. I even have the highest scores amongst my
friends. I have a virtual pet that I spent ill afforded money on. My little frog friend has some really
cute accessories. I have an empty refrigerator. I have past due bills. I can't afford both my car
insurance and the bio-identical hormones my nurse practioner/gyn has me on. I can put $20.00
gas in the truck but it desperately needs an oil change or the engine is gonna blow up. But, I can't do
both. Tires in Arizona take a pounding, mine are mush. I drive anyway, everyday, to work. The
bus system here is so unreliable that I can't chance being late, repeatedly.
Mom's health is such that her poor legs are beginning to atrophy. They're pulling up, towards her
chest. Making it hard to get her out of bed so I can change the linens. Everyday. She refuses to
see a medical professional. While her body is treacherous, her mind is still very sharp. She
knows all she need do is utter the words "I refuse medical treatment". Then, no one can do
anything against her will. And she is willful. I think I have tied myself to her, originally out of love,
because she's a known entity. Venturing out into the world to meet people is so hard. There's
so little to trust anymore. The times they have a changed. Gracias, Mr. Dylan.