Franny called from her dad’s yesterday morning to tell me she was feeling sick and wasn’t up to going to brunch. I was partly relieved. I hate the constraints divorce puts on hoidays, the pressure to pack Kodak moments into short bursts of time. I wasn’t looking forward to picking her up from her dad’s, racing to the restaurant for brunch, then rushing to get her back to her dad’s.
But I was also partly disappointed. I had never not been with Franny on Mother’s Day and it didn’t feel right without her. She had been talking about Mother’s Day for weeks: Where would we eat? What did I want for a present? She was also on her brother’s ass to at least get me a card.
When I told Luca Franny was feeling sick, he was convinced her dad had pressured her into not coming.
“It’s not a big deal,” I said, even though I was feeling like it was kind of a big deal. “We’ll celebrate together next weekend.”
“But can I give you your present now?”
“You got me a present?”
He handed me a tiny box containing Rescue Remedy, an anti-stress tincture just one notch up from snake oil, sold at the health food grocery store where he works.
“Studies show it’s 70% more effective than mood stabilizers, Mom.”
“Let’s hope,” I said.
While he mixed four droplets into my water, I read his card.
“Dear Mama, You are da best Mama I have. If I had another, you’d be a close runner up for second! HAHA, just kidding. You really are the best. Things are only going to get better from here. HAPPY MAMA DAY!!! I LOVE YOU!!! Love, Luca.”
I laughed. I cried. I felt like a schmuck. I had been a raging bitch the day before, all bent out of Feng Shui shape, pushed over the edge by the chaos of his chargers and clothes and electronics and teeny-tiny tools for futzing with electronics strewn all over the living room which is also his bedroom.
The mess makes me nuts because it’s a metaphor for the state of my life right now. I am overwhelmed at work, just the slightest bit anxious about the Custody Battle Part Deux, and really, really, REALLY anxious about my dwindling bank account. Historically, no matter how insane my single mom reality was, I always found solace in my tidy, well-appointed surroundings.
But my surroundings are tidy no more. They haven’t been this non-tidy, in fact, since my early twenties, back in the decade where it’s perfectly acceptable to step over piles of detritus after walking through the door.
On Mother’s Day Eve, I had yelled at Luca for leaving his stuff everywhere and he had yelled at me because he didn’t have a space for his stuff and we had situated ourselves in front of separate TVs and tried to pretend the other didn’t exist.
When I read the card I was struck by the line, “things are only going to get better from here.” It made me forget, for a moment, the clutter, and the fear, and the stress of my daily life. It made me reflect on my son’s spirt. And it made me reflect on the power of time and healthy detachment and unconditional love to heal ruptured relationships. And it floored me that only three years ago my son couldn’t stand me.
Luca and I went to see a matinee of Divergent, the sci-fi flick about a young woman who doesn’t fit neatly into any of the government-sanctioned social classes. It ocurred to me, after we left the movie, that Luca and I are both divergent — two people that defy categorization, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Franny called me later that night. She actually had gotten sick to her stomach, but was feeling better, and wanted to know how my Mother’s Day had gone.
I told her about the Rescue Remedy, and the movie, and reassured her that the three of us would go to brunch next weekend. I told her I missed her, which was true. But after a couple years of spending Mother’s Day only with her, it seemed fitting that I spent one just with Luca.
And to consider that maybe, as Luca wrote on his card, things would get better from here.