The bowels of the basement are full of boxes containing a plethora of memories past—pictures, yearbooks, rejected home décor, old cassette tapes and vinyl records. Really? I still have the Music Box Dancer record? Where would I rustle up the ancient relic called a record player in the age of CD’s and Ipods? And why am I still hanging onto my AP History study cards? Just in case someone needs them…? Since boxes threaten a coup, I’ve decided to purge or recycle unnecessary items and reorganize. That’s when I stumbled upon the picture of mom wearing the red robe.
I’d post the picture, but it doesn’t show Mom’s best fashion sense. And, I want to live a few more years. The red robe evokes memories of late nights and boyfriends. It was a staple as much as bologna sandwiches at lunch. Mom crashed on the couch at night waiting for me to return from dates in that zipped up redness. Eyes half shut, feigning interest, she listened to me recount minute details of the evening. Finally, mom clothed in red robe, exhausted from my rambling, mumbled she needed to sleep and plodded to her bedroom. My sister says that delineating the exact number of times I used my napkin threw mom over the edge, but I seriously doubt that. When my sister’s turn came to encounter mom sprawled in red robeness after her own date nights, she learned from my mistakes. Verbalizing her evening to mom meant answering yes or no to a few quick questions and slipping off to bed. Mom, expecting an hour long conversation, spent a little less time in her robe when “keep it short and sweet” sis came in at curfew. Dumfounded initially by the stark contrast between the two of us, I’m fairly certain she relished the short and sweet just a tad more. I’m not the least bit offended if she does.
Umpteen years have passed since the red robe days. The names have changed, and I wouldn’t don a red robe for cash, but the circumstances are similar. While Tony sleeps, I wait for the teenagers, and I understand it now. I’m tired and just want to sleep, but someone needs to be the sofa-crasher with or without red robe. And, I too, have one of each—teen, that is. My first born is just like me, regaler of details, expert of the play by play until eyes glaze over. He needs to set the stage from the very beginning and relate all occurrences so it makes sense. I get that. I’m like that. My daughter, like my sister, recounts what is required of her. No more, no less. “Just the facts, ma’am” could be her motto. She offers responses when asked and never volunteers extra information.
Recently, I dozed on the couch waiting for “don’t mess with the details” daughter to arrive home from a night out. Awakened from my comatose-like state with the garage door opening, I greeted her with a sleepy yawn.
“How was your evening?”
“How was the movie?”
“Ok, well glad you had a good night. We’ll chat tomorrow. I’ve got to get to bed!”
Happy to comply, daughter Alix heads to bed. Padding to my room for some shut-eye, I realize that the only time ditching the details is acceptable is when it interferes with sleep! I am my mother, after all.