Sunday, August 7, 2011

Would You Smile a Perfect for Me?

My empathy meter needs a new battery, my heart needs to be recharged and I definitely need something good  in my tea, or maybe peyote in my Special K. A new rule wouldn't hurt either--- no more disturbing anythings at midnight for them to seep in, get toxic and wake me up wrong.
Taking Mama to get her car and wondering if they will have done as promised, and driven it to reset the battery so we won't  fail emissions, again. Thinking I won't be happy if these people who have had our loyalty for 20 years do one more thing to piss me off. Mama is telling me a story about some friends, whose lives are a bit shaken up and so this year they won't be going on vacation. My empathy meter is still set at minus 100. "Well Mama, they have had three fabulous vacations a year for the last 8 years so I think that will be OK, this year without."  Then she regales me with a few more of their problems, and I am thinking about the friends around and close to me, all  in deep and harrowing places of suffering, except the two this week who'd found a seven year cycle ended and a full circle turned upward spiral, the big Grace on the other side of their long challenge. Maybe all the suffering has shut my meter down, sometimes our own hearts draw a line about how much they can soak up and soak in. And missing a year's worth of vacations (who the hell puts s's on vacations anyway) is just not right up there with the rest of it. We get there, and Mama in her Southern grace and beauty and dignity and strength, rolls her little push walker straight in the door me behind her, hoping...
"Oh, we didn't expect you yet, we still haven't driven the car."  (The exact words I didn't want to hear because yesterday I'd planned on doing just that and they'd usurped the privilege.)  My mother's hand reached back to apply a little pressure on my arm. I kept my mouth shut for a minute. They talked, the behind the counter person walked away and Mama knew I was pissed. "Don't get mad, OK? Just give me a smile---could you smile for me?"
"NO." I stomped off. I never stomp off.
I was not going to respond to a request for  a fake smile, the one Mama had expected for almost 60 years, the kind that is the smile you "put on" in public even when you are thinking mean things in your head and saying a "Bless Your Heart" to the person who has pissed you off.  This time I'd revolted, in public and stomped off--- well really just turned on my heel and walked out, counted to 10 and walked back in (the counting to 10 part pretty easy because it was 100 outside and made me count faster.) Some things are not going to change, including a mother who wants you to always be perfect and especially so, in public.  I stood there, I waited, I contributed a few words to the conversation, we left. On my way out, I turned and said, "Thank you Mary, Thank you Sam." Nicely, sincerely nicely. Mama waited til we had made our gracious exit and said, "Thank you for being nice when we left."
Crap, well, and there it went.
"Mama, when have you known me  to NOT be nice when I left and when have you known me to actually MAKE a scene? " I put the pusher thing in the back of her car, put the pillows in her seat and said, "Have a good time."
On the way home I'm thinking about the real versus fake real and how for me it has always pretty much been about the expression of real, being it, trusting it and whenever possible making real, better. I can count on one hand the number of scenes I'd actually created in public, but I couldn't begin to count the "good" real times.
A few miles later I started to pray, don't let anything happen to Mama today, because how awful would it be if she had asked me for a smile (fake or not) and I hadn't given her one.


I need to get my empathy meter adjusted, my heart charged up and quit reading and listening to crap at midnight. Today is going to be another day where I am going to be starting the "I am grateful for..." list any minute, and it will start with Mama,  perfect smiles or no, and then it will move to real.


  1. I comment with eyes moist from tears of thankfulness that want to cut loose and have their way......but the children's bickering in the next room won't allow it. My heart is chuck full near ready to burst with admiration, appreciation, genuine love and sincere gratitude to know you and have you in my life. Reading your blog makes me laugh, cry, think, encourages,inspires and say, "Hey, I'm not the only one who struggles with not so nice thoughts, attitudes and behavior! Realizing that, confessing it and praying for an attitude adjustment is all we can do and exactly what we should do!! ... Your writings take me through a gamut of emotional extremes.......all wrapped in the BIGGEST GRATEFULNESS you can fathom!I love you my dear friend! Thank you!! XOXO ~L

  2. Lucie, YOU ARE the perfect smile.

  3. Your writing is like tinkling glass, twinkling stars. It moves and wiggles and we can't stop reading.

  4. I get up from reading this, stir the beans on the stove, and wonder about gratitude. Perhaps gratitude comes in layers, like letting go, dissolving the ego, forgiveness, onions.
    My gratitude at the moment is for having a friend like you who takes the time to think, write, and God forbid FEEL! Keep it all up, dear Juicy.

  5. I am actually the one who does make a scene.
    You are generous to a fault, with your mom, with everyone in your inner circle.

  6. "Your writing is like tinkling glass, twinkling stars." How totally precise and descriptive of your posts!
    And Lucie, your empathy, patience and loving heart are just fine -- it's the rest of the world that more often needs the aid of more empathy, recharging, good stuff like peyote, and a BUNCH of new rules,imho...