Let’s Go Behind the Scenes of So Hard to Do! – Part 2
by Sally Basmajian
Oh, dear. If ever a young woman needed to develop sensitivity, it’s Jannie. Her heart is good, and she’s a smart executive, but she has so much to learn (and, dare I say it, it’s just so hard to do).
Here she is, in an early-in-the-story first-person draft, mulling over her mom’s imminent departure. As usual, she’s much more concerned about herself than about her poor mom’s situation. Don’t worry—she’ll evolve (eventually).
It’s not as if Mom hasn’t given me any notice. She’s been dropping hints for months. Like, there’s a great big world out there and she’d like to explore at least part of it before she dies.
Now, at the risk of sounding insensitive, I can attest that my mom, who is as lithe and graceful as a decorative willow, is also as strong as a mighty redwood. She may have silver hair but she’s not even sixty, and she’s hardly going to keel over any time soon.
She’s got years and years ahead of her to travel. She can see Gay Paree in her seventies, surely, when I don’t need her as much. The Eiffel Tower will still be standing, and, with her giant-tree constitution, so will Mom.
Besides, even if I know this isn’t realistic, she has to outlive me. I love her with all my heart. A world without my mom isn’t a place I’d ever want to inhabit. Period.
In any event, when she doesn’t move out right away I begin to relax, thinking she isn’t serious. But then, just recently, Mom tells me she’s looking at apartments.
“A place of my very own,” she coos.
Yes, coos, as if living alone is something to be thrilled about. To me, it’s inconceivable that Mom’s demented dream of a solitary existence could be preferable to sharing a warm, cozy space with her own flesh and blood. Who loves her dearly. Who wants her to stay so, so badly.
“You’ll be lonely. And I need you,” I say.
“No, and no, dear heart. I will be alone, yes. But that’s a good thing.”
“For who?” I say, too rattled to remember to whom it up properly.
“For the two of us. You need your independence. You saved hard to buy this condo. I was only supposed to be here for a few months. We both need to move on with our lives, and …”
“No! You don’t! I don’t! We’re a team.”
As if I haven’t interjected, my mom says, “You know I’ve never had a chance to have my own apartment. I went directly from living with my folks to living with your dad.”
We gaze into each other’s eyes for a moment. Dad was a dearie and we loved him without reservation, but we both dealt with his manic ups and desperate downs. Like when he gambled away everything, including the family home and then cardiac arrested before he could engineer his usual miraculous financial turnaround. Life without him these past few years has been smoother, if less exciting.
Shaking off her momentary reverie, Mom continues, “Bless your heart, sweetie, for giving me a home and letting me share your life. You’re the most wonderful daughter a mother could ever have. But it’s been a long time now since your dad died and I find myself craving my own place.”
Oh, she’s good, Mom is, at making me feel special and then zipping the homespun rug right out from under my feet. And I’m not a monster—I actually do sympathise with her wanting to develop and grow. But I wish she could spread her wings and still come home at the end of each day and roost with me.