Monday, June 20, 2005

Sugar Coated

I keep trying to figure out a way to start this entry, and the only thing I can think of is, "Wow, my mom died 16 years ago today. That's a damn long time ago." It's okay though. I've had 16 years to prepare for it, so I'm coping pretty well.

Today I finally went shopping after weeks of dwindling food, souring milk, and creative cooking with cupboard-stale "staples." Which is to say, I've been eating out mostly. This behavior is bad for my wallet and bad for my waist, but good for the soul sometimes. Especially with good company. So today's trip to Trader Joe's was exciting, even despite the ever-present crowds. I needed eggs. And milk. And chocolate. And apparently a few other impulse buys that I would pick up on my way out. Including chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.

Look at them, all cute and colorful. Tiny chocolate teardrops, sweet on the outside, salty on the inside. I didn't know what to expect. Would they taste like Peanut M&Ms or something completely different? Could I taste the distinct sunflower seed favor? Would I taste the chocolate? The answer is yes. A bit of chocolate, a bit of sunflower saltiness—a tiny cousin of the Peanut M&M. I ate them by the pinch, then by the palmful. I wasn't even hungry for them, but I ate them anyway. Somehow they seemed like the perfect food today. Sugar-coated tears.

You might be wondering why 16 years is significant. Well, today marks the official moment when I have lived longer without my mom than with her. It seems silly to think of it that way, since every moment without her has been difficult, or at least different than it was with her, but today feels momentous. I'm getting older and I can feel it. Not that I mind per se, but I'm starting to notice.

I'm heading to the gym soon. I like my gym, the YMCA, because it takes all kinds. Kids to Seniors, they're all there. The doddering old folks are the best to watch. They move slowly, and with care. They inspire me to keep going, so that one day I too might visit the local Y for my daily swim. Hopefully by then I'll have my own kids to make fun of me and my outdated clothing. My wrinkled brow. My turtle pace. My mom once told me not to worry about things so much. She asked me never to complain about a bad hair day or gaining weight, since she'd lost her hair and too much weight from her illness, and she didn't want me to waste time thinking about those kinds of things as she had, only to be foiled in the end. I know she would have told me to stop thinking about getting older, especially since I can't change it even if I try. Better to age gracefully than fight it the whole way, she'd say, wishing for the priviledge herself. But I think it's okay to take note. To fold down the corners on certain pages of our lives, like mental bookmarks to flip back to. Today was the day that I remembered to relax, it says.

Consider today bookmarked. Corner folded, mental noted. With tiny little sugared-coated salty sweet treats as ellipses at the end of a To be continued... for my life, and a full-stop for hers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is wonderful. I've been wondering about those funny chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. Sugar-coated tears -- fantastic.

After my mother died, I kept wanting to send her e-mails. I don't believe in an afterlife and tho she would have enjoyed e-mail if it had made its appearnce earlier in her life, she was too foggy to use it when it became available. In any event, I had the same impulse just now -- to e-mail this piece to your mom. I can see her chuckling (and wanting to taste the funny sunflower seeds).

6/20/2005 10:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home