An Open Letter To The Councilwoman
This isn't a letter about neighborhood zoning or s-1 overlays. It isn't about how the mayor had some typos in his last letter to the city (he didn't). And it isn't about my frustrations that Snowie machines weren't allowed to set up shop until June.
This is a thank-you.
When I arrived at the hospital yesterday you were in the waiting room chatting with a white-haired gentleman about the new UVSC library. Even when your daughter is having x-rays done you find time to rub shoulders with the who's who and settle civic affairs.
I was so nervous. You know how hospitals make me 25% angry and 75% sad, so you told me I could have some new earrings when all is said and done. Then we watched Donny Osmond talk about being Gaston in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast on tv. How does it make feel that you are Donny Osmond’s councilwoman? And by-the-way, he likes avocados on his sandwich (in case you ever ask him to be a guest councilperson at an upcoming meeting.)
It wasn't that long ago that we were in and out of hospitals and surgery centers trying to correct the hole in my eardrum. I don't know if it was ever fully repaired, but we know this; we make a good medical crisis team, you and I.
Also, the hearing in my right ear is less-than-stellar.
When they called me back, you came with me. You took a seat in the hard plastic chairs positioned in the glossy hallway. From the bathroom, I could hear you chatting with people as they maneuvered heavy carts down the hall.
On the x-ray table I decided to be like you. I started to chat it up with the x-ray technician, asking her about children and life outside of the radiation department. I think she could tell I was nervous because though I tried, I couldn't stop shaking. When she left my side for a moment to get the doctor, I started to cry.
Moments later I heard a door open from behind my head. I looked up to see that the doctor doing my x-ray was a long time friend and neighbor. You had found him in the hall and made sure that I'd get the gentlest care. So I stopped shaking and started breathing again.
The procedure was uncomfortable, bordering painful. Everything looked great. This I know because for some reason, there were half dozen PA-hopefuls gathered around the x-ray monitor. I don't know who all you people are, but that is my uterus you are glaring at. I thought. Dr. C kept telling them that they were looking at a normal x-ray. Clear fallopian tubes. Then he'd yell "SHOOT!" And the x-ray machine would make a terrible groaning noise.
"How does your mom like the city council? I mean, really like it?" He asked as dye was shooting through my womanly center.
Councilwoman, how do you answer questions in such pressure? I mean physical pressure?
Dr. C wasn't in the room long after that, I watched him rush out the door. Back in the bathroom changing, I could hear him pressing you for the latest on neighborhood issues.
So much for my lovely uterus and fabulous fallopians and the reason why we can't seem to procreate.
"Your mom is one of my favorite people . . .your dad too." Dr. C told me--once I had changed--out in the busy hallway.” Well, good luck and don't let your husband out of your sight this week!" He winked.
We walked out of the hospital together. You felt relieved, I was confused. I wanted to find the reason for our inabilities. But I guess a healthy system is never unfortunate.
You made good on your promise and took me out to buy me, not one pair of glam earrings, but two. Two earrings because I was brave!
At lunch we shared a Waldorf salad and misordered penne pasta with garlic and artichokes. You read to me something from your American Architecture book that talked about miners going into the belly of the earth as a sexual metaphor for men and their desires. You wrote in the margin of the book "Who comes up with this stuff?" The men at the table next to us were listening and laughing. Then you picked up a crayon and wrote on the white butcher paper table cloth:
ovulate (short o)
"Why don't we pronounce ovulate with a long o?" you asked.
After lunch the cramps started coming. The hospital staff had warned me, but I didn't think it would be so painful.
We drove to Partyland, which stays in business because of you. How could anyone else survive in that little downtown store with the pedestrian ramp off the backdoor? They count on you buying loads of balloons at least monthly. You had them fix a bouquet with red, white and blue (extra helium) for the council's booth at the community fair. And because you are my mother, and fun is your full-time job, you hand picked some jack-o-lantern balloons to spice up the otherwise patriotic bunch. It was the fourth of July rubbing shoulders with Halloween.
You could see I wasn't doing too well. You talked to me about having babies and the ensuing discomfort. After the council's booth was decorated at the fair, you told me to go home and get in my big bed to rest for awhile. So I took my earrings and went home.
I fell asleep and felt much better later that evening. I remembered what was waiting for me on my jewelry counter. Sparkly earrings earned for bravery. I hoped Chup would take me out on a fancy date soon, so I could wear them with my various winter sweaters.
I talked to Stephanie for an hour on the phone. Thanks for giving me sisters. Amazing sisters.
All of this is to say, we are never too old to need a mother. Even if she is a part-time councilwoman, balloon connoisseur, and a doctor's best friend.
Actually, that previous sentence should probably read "Especially if. . . "
. . . especially if she is just like you.