Nothing Has Really Changed...

I remember when I used to have nightmares when I was younger, I would slip into my parents' bed and sleep in between the both of them.  I felt safe. Nothing could harm me now. My dad would wake up at 3am and head into New York City to work at the South Street Seaport. I would hear his fish van start up and then pull out of our driveway. I’d slowly creep onto his side of the bed, knowing now it was just me and my mom. I still felt safe, even though dad had left us. In the morning, mom would wake me up, we’d get dressed and I'd run around town with her doing errands and giving her grief at the grocery store. I remember riding in the car seat in the back of our huge yellow Cadillac that took up the entire street...length-wise.  I’d whine about why I had to still use this uncomfortable seat and then pass out from being such a pain in the ass. Nothing has changed really.

Dad would come home at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, grab lunch and head off to his excavating job. Back then no one took their kids to daycare. It was unheard of. Most women were housewives who took care of their children at home. All three of my sisters were seven years above me. They were already in school, so mom had to mindlessly entertain me from 1 o’clock in the afternoon until all of my sisters came bustling home from school. My mom was my best friend. She spent the entire day with just me. She made sure I was entertained - and that’s a hard thing to do with a brat like myself. Nothing has changed really.

Even as I grew older, my mom still felt the need to see me as her baby. They would refer to me as “the baby”, until I reached the age of 10. It was sort of embarrassing bringing my little friends home and then hearing one of my parents say, “Where’s the baby?” I’d cringe and pretend I didn’t hear it. I’d just sit there and wonder when they would stop calling me “the baby”. Grandma seemed to keep the legend alive, until she passed. She used to stay with us for a few weeks, and then go back to her penthouse tenement in Brooklyn, New York. I loved it there. I always begged her to take me back with her. She used to make the best homemade pizza and bring me down to the farm market a few blocks down. I loved the city life, but was stuck living in the secluded mountains. Nothing has changed really, except that my neighborhood now is more like Brooklyn in a way.

Last night I had the worst nightmare. I woke up crying. Madelene woke up and thought something had happened or that I had received a disturbing phone call. I received a disturbing phone call, however it was only in my dream. My sister Carla called me and informed me that mom was no longer with us. I never in my life woke up with such pain in my heart. Tears kept seeping out by the dozens and I couldn’t talk. I thought it was real. Even when reality kicked in - that it was all but a dream, I couldn’t stop crying. Madelene stayed up with me and said, “I know how you feel. The difference is, when my dad passed away, I wish it were a dream.” If anybody knows me personally, you know that I’m basically still connected by the umbilical cord. My mom is my best friend and to even think that one day, she may not be around to answer my phone call and talk about funny gossipy things or to go out to our favorite restaurant and laugh till we’re making a spectacle out of ourselves...kills me. Tonight, I’m bringing her out to dinner to her favorite restaurant. I had to lie and say I won the lotto, because she never wants me to pay for anything.

Nothing has really changed.
It was all but a dream.
Thank God.