Life Sentences: Welcome May Days

By: Fran LoBiondo

Photo courtesy of User pixel2013.

Mother’s Day was fun when we were small….It was like Easter all over again.

The sky is surely gloomy this May Day, with a rainstorm predicted for this evening.

I did get a chance to retreat to Ocean City for a couple of hours, and fill my lungs with that pure sea air that expands my thinking.

I can always use help on that score.

Our family did finally get together and bury my mother’s ashes right before Easter, and driving up the Parkway from Pomona to Red Bank were many signs warning about heavy rainfall. The sky was low and gray, but the rain held off. An added feature was my niece, mother of three children under 4, brought out large boxes of mini Solo cups of coffee so we could pass them around for a toast to Mom, Grandma, Nana, Aunt Terry, as we collectively knew her, take a sip and pour the dregs into some potted fake flowers, as she famously did when her coffee turned cold and there wasn’t someone’s water glass she could dump it in. “I hate it when they pour hot coffee over cold,” she said, making a face like she smelled a neglected diaper.

All of Mom’s kids were present, and her grandkids and great-grands, plus a good showing of her sister’s kids who loved her and miss their Aunt Terry.

In addition, my daughter invited her college roommates home for the holiday, and she brought them to the cemetery. Then we went to a local restaurant for brunch.

After Easter, when Therese and her friends were leaving for school, I asked the girls if my daughter had shown them a good time. They were voluble in their thanks, saying it was the best Easter they could remember.

You never know, do you?  

So, the Easter décor came down as soon as the calendar turned, and the taped-up art tore the paint off the kitchen wall. Now we can see how the kitchen looked when it was morning-glory blue. In the powder room, the wall is pocked with torn drywall where someone (Greg the unpainter) tore down a picture that was attached with Velcro. That stuff really works if you detach your artwork  gently. I guess Greg did not get the memo on that.    

What comes up now in May is anyone’s guess. He thinks we should “decorate the Memorial Day,” and I feel we should “celebrate Mother’s Day.”

I need ideas on how to finesse that.

Mother’s Day was fun when we were small, because we would all jump in bed with our parents and squirm around like puppies. Then we’d make breakfast in bed for her, behave especially well in church, and share the chocolates that my father gave her. It was like Easter all over again. Mom was generous with her candy, and didn’t even mind when we poked a finger through the bottom to see what was inside, and returned it to the box if it was yucky.

I would be remiss if I didn’t report my end-of-Lent swearing tally. I raised $45 for charity by putting a dollar in a canister almost every time my tongue got the best of me and I said a bad word. It’s a hard habit to break, but you can always come up with substitutes. No cursing was a rule in our house when we were young.

One time my oldest brother was annoyed because he was in charge of getting us to sort the clean laundry and we were throwing underwear around instead. “Quit fooling around and get this done, you fff … fruitcakes!” 

We just cracked up at his near miss.

And my other older brother came up with this creative gem: “Gosh darn it to crapping heck!”

“Ooooooh” we all said in awe. “You said a …”

We really know what it was. But even though it was not technically a curse, it was bad enough to snitch on him to Dad, and that was good enough. 

Whew, I’m glad Lent is over. One more week and I might have cussed myself right into the poorhouse.

Many of the women I went to high school with are reaching retirement age. Of those I know, some are afraid to cut the cord, some cannot wait to be set free, and then fill up their spare time with activities.

We try to meet up every September at the beach, but this looks like a skip year. 

I’ll miss that tradition, but we have to gracefully face the changes life brings. 

Dang it all.