To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tales From the Turntable: Un-Happy Mother's Day

Since Mother's Day is upon us we are going to venture away from the turntable and visit real life. When you are away from home for over 3 years the odds are real things are going to happen. It can't always be parades, theme parks, game nights and water rides.

I could probably find exact dates because, it shouldn't be a surprise, I have ever photo labeled with locations and dates - sometimes even the time - but I'm not going to. I remember being at Crossing Guard and our overall area manager, Scot, and an attractions manger passing through. There was a pause in the flow of guests so I had to find courage to talk to them about some time off I needed. Yes, I was going to go through the proper channels, but this was so last minute that I wanted to have a chat to help make sure I could get the time off. My grandma had been given 1 to 3 months to live. I had to get back to Oregon to see her. This wasn't even an option in my mind. I would get to Oregon no matter what.

In no time at all I was alone on a plane across the country to go see my family. The trip is a blur, but I have some memories that stick out so much and still make me smile. Growing up everyone in our town liked to eat at Pete's Drive-In... crispy fries and goop, y'all!... so that's just what we had together one last time. Grandma didn't seem to eat much by this point, but she had no trouble eating those fries!

A hospice woman came while I was there. That is something I wish I could forget. I'm not even going to write about it. I do remember her telling the woman that she didn't care what happened, but she wanted to still be around for my wedding. Sadly that didn't happen... but she actually was there - the photos seem to show it!

If my memory isn't failing me, my mom, aunt, grandma and I were all hanging out together in her living room watching ice skating on TV like we always used to. We didn't even think Grandma was awake, but leave it to her to crack us up when she started making comments about how big the skater's boobs were. That's Grandma!

Leaving sucked. I can still see all of that perfectly as well. Knowing it is the last time you will see someone is just not a great feeling.

It wasn't long after that trip that I was on the phone with my mom, who was with Grandma. It was right before Mother's Day. She gave the phone to Grandma and we had our final conversation, which was mostly me talking to her and she was making little noises to respond. I knew it was the last call. "Happy Mother's Day Grandma, I love you." Those were the last words I got to say to her. Dammit and now I'm crying again.

The next day our Kali group had plans to go play laser tag down at I-Drive in Orlando. I was driving and sitting at a red light when my phone rang. It was my mom. I knew exactly why she was calling. My friends were all there, ready for a fun night. I think I would be a terrible actress. I'm an awful liar. So maybe I deserved an Oscar for my performance that night. I didn't want to be a downer. If they knew my grandma had just passed away they would have surely been great friends and tried to take care of me. But I just didn't want to have to react to it all in public or ruin the evening plans. Somehow I got through that laser tag - okay being alone in the dark with a fake gun makes it easy to not have to fake smile for people. Afterward we went out for drinks at TGIFridays. Alcohol helped! I think it was at the end of all of that that I finally told them.

Fast forward to the funeral. I was told not to come home for it. Flights were outrageous - like $800 round trip outrageous. So while my family was together I was working at Caravan Stage for the Flights of Wonder bird show. I tried to hang out under the bleachers a lot so I could pause from smiling and dealing with guests. I came out from under them and one of our younger cast members was goofing off and completely slacking on stuff that had to be done. Being a trainer, I knew I had to say something to him so we could keep things flowing. And what was his response? "Who died and put you in charge?" Worst. Timed. Comment. Ever.

And then the tears happened -- away from the guests, of course.

I have no idea how to end this, so here's a photo of Grandma and I in Hawaii - Grandpa, too!

BUT to have a positive ending, Mother's Day has taken on a new, happy tone, finally, thanks to a little girl you may have seen a time or two in this blog!

ºoº See ya real soon!

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