“What am I holding on to?”
My mother’s dry, persistent response to my teenaged autoreply was a perfect example of her personality. She’d be telling me to finish something, to get ready to leave, to get off the phone, and I’d shoot back in that voice perfected by teens and still used long into my twenties, telling her to wait, to stop bugging me, to hold on. And instead of getting frustrated or pissed, she’d just shoot back her question, relentlessly, every time, “What am I holding on to?” She’d say it with a smirk, and then wait, and I’d roll my eyes and do what she’d asked in the first place. This was the same mother who when I’d screech “You’re mean!” would calmly reply, “Yes, I am.” Or, “You said I could do ____!” and she would simply say, unfazed, “I lied.” I was, after all, her fourth kid. She’d been around the block a few times already, and she knew that the worst thing in the world to do, especially with a kid like me, was engage in a debate. She just refused to, and oooohhhh, it drove me crazy. She won, every time.
My mother wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. But she was a pretty smart lady, and she told me once that it was a disservice to remember someone you’ve lost as perfect, because then you lose hold of who they really were. You’re not really remembering them. You’re idealizing them. You have to remember the bad stuff with the good, the flaws and the quirks and all of it. So I try to remember her bad stuff too, but I can’t help but remember her best quality of all — grace under pressure. In a crisis, she never folded. She never panicked, she never freaked out. She always held it together and figured out what to do. Sadly, I most definitely did not inherit that talent, not innately, but I’m still trying, Ringo; I’m trying to get there. So when the urge to shriek “Hold on!” comes over me, I try to take a deep breath and ask myself, “What am I holding on to?” Luckily enough, some very good things.
I write about a lot of things — whatever’s going on in my life at the time, whether that’s traveling, getting in shape, reading, etc, and sometimes thoughts about where I’m headed, or where I’ve been. As a former librarian I’m a little obsessed with books, and as a tech geek I love all things Apple, Kindle and in-between. I love food more than is good for me, and my viewing habits range from “Downton Abbey” to “Modern Family” and back around again. I have two cats, a wonderful husband, and the rest is subject to change without notice.