Every day before noon, my phone rings at least five times. There are the robot calls that come as regularly as an alarm clock, machines mumbling ominously about credit cards scams....and then there are the calls from my mother which come just as regularly and ominously.
Like today's. Two within an hour.
Sometimes it's the semi-vague: "It's just me. Wondering when you might be coming over."
Sometimes it's more the blunt: "It's just me. Wondering if you were coming over. It's 11o' clock. I'm lonesome."
Umm...let's just say "subtlety" is not my mother's strong suit. No sirree.
She's blunt to a fault. And loneliness is my Achilles' heal. Well, one of them. So, what does one do when she pulls the "lonely" card out?
One quietly cancels one's plans and one drives over to drive her around on her errands. One does this just about every other day when one is "on vacation." Sometimes one does this every single day.
Today, thankfully, was happily free of her complaining. She does a lot of that, mindless complaining. She has no internal filter like most people do. What she thinks comes straight out of her mouth. Having been raised by such a creature, I can be exceptionally quiet, I think sometimes that I'm subconsciously trying level out some sort of karmic equilibrium which her constant chattering has disrupted. Who knows.
Anyway, today I took her to Target to do her shopping and then to one of her endless rounds of doctor's appointments. We had lunch at McDonald's. It was pretty mundane, almost pleasant. It's not always.
When she goes to McDonald's she always gets a Happy Meal. Sometimes so do I. It's cheap. It's not too bad. It's a way of keeping from eating too much....and, hey, there are two toys!
We keep the toys to give to various children, sometimes to my cousin's little son, sometimes to the little boy across the street from her. I encourage her to lavish gifts on the few children in her life.
Long ago, I'd given her my cat, Pye, as a surrogate grandchild, but since the cat died in February, well, her house is that much emptier. She's decided she's too old now to take care of another cat, so she's just now given away all the cat paraphernalia for good.
Christmas is usually sad around here, because there are no children around, and now not even a freaking cat. I don't even have friends with children. What's up with that?
"Come not near me lest thou be smote with the plague of barrenness."
I should market myself as birth control.
Anyway, a nun, whom I know, works with the homeless, and each year I sponsor a homeless child. It's an excuse to get into the spirit of the season, otherwise it would be too sad. What's Christmas unless there are toys and gifts to buy?
Being a gay only child is not as fabulous as it might seem. In her defense, however, she's gotten better about it in the past years. The tears and the blunt (see above) pronouncements of despair: "I'll never have grandchildren" stopped eventually. But every now and then, when she's playing with a stranger's child in the checkout line or listening to her brothers and sisters constantly crow about their own fabulous grandchildren, I know she feels bad again.
And so do I.