Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cat Got Your Tongue?

I'm taking this antacid for my stomach woes and it's left me with nothing to say. I catch myself at times totally silent - sitting at dinner with Betsy, on the phone with a friend - and realize I'm not speaking. I'm not depressed. And actually it's not simply that I have absolutely nothing to say. It's that I forget to speak. I just sit and think.

I have to remind myself, "You should be talking. People talk."

And then I think of something to say but soon drift off again. Bye bye.

It's kind of nice in other ways. My stomach feels better and I'm less anxious and can get things done. Probably because I'm not talking to anyone. What a perfect time to go on a silent meditation retreat.

Instead Lucy and I are heading to Provincetown for a couple of nights. It's an annual tradition. Every April we stay on the beach, pick mussels from the breakwater, jog alongside the ocean, shop, and eat, eat and shop. Leaving Betsy is complicated and hard but she is steeling herself in incredible ways. Choosing to take advantage of my absence to grow herself some more.

She's only once chosen to go on a play date without me - the homes of friends and family not included - but sure enough she wants to go home with a girl from her class one of the days I'm gone. If I were here I'm sure she would have wanted me to join her. So off we both will be on our separate adventures, me and the baby who just left my body.

When Bets made her announcement I was reminded that when I was her age my mother used to force solo play dates, send me off sobbing to the homes of friends. No surprise I was so traumatized I wound up in therapy by the ripe old age of 7. If it's not one thing, it's your mother. If Bets needs more time she can have it. I've always known I never would repeat my mother's mistake. Not that one anyway. I've got enough of my own to make.

Lucy and I planned to return on Saturday with just enough time to get to the airport and greet a dachshund corgi mix from Puerto Rico but lo and behold our furry friend couldn't get a flight out of San Juan. It's come to this: searching the Caribbean for a dog.

Betsy almost had me convinced we should get a rat instead. We were at the animal shelter for the 78th time and the only available dogs were an 8-year old poodle with epilepsy and the loudest hound I'd ever heard. So off we went off to look at the rodents. Rats are fine until you see their tails. It's that bald, ringed tail that makes a rat a rat. But she almost had me.

At least I found the words in me to say "no" to the rat. Then she wanted a bunny but we agreed we couldn't tell bunny poop from bunny food and that would be so confusing that maybe a bunny wouldn't be a good pet either, besides the kitty would kill and eat a bunny.

Until a dog comes our way we are going to break the law and steal some tadpoles from a pond in the Arnold Arboretum. If you are from Boston and find this reprehensible just take a Prilosec and shush yourself. It's a science experiment. We want to see if we can keep them alive long enough to watch their metamorphosis into frogs. It's unlikely we will succeed. But that's not enough to stop this research team.

A friend of mine who works for PETA says real animal activists believe there should be no domesticated animals, no pets. I cannot imagine they would like our tadpole caper. But why they would have a problem with the cat who is snoring next to me in bed I don't understand.

And that's enough talking for one night.


lisa gee said...

Good to hear your voice again.

Ms. Moon said...

Thank you for writing. You always give me something to think about.
"If it's not one thing, it's your mother."
Ah- too true.

Are You My Mothers said...

Oh mostly I've been inundated with the kindergarten play, pansies, and this glorious weather we're having. Blogging is odd: both a choice and a chore. Such is life. Thanks dear readers.

Sara said...

Maybe I've been down the playdate road too many times. I was dropping my youngest off at age 4, solo.

being a mother is bittersweet. With every amazing step forward they take, every breath of independence and accomplishment, they step away from us.

As it should be. As it must be.

Let her go. And always be right there.

the balance is an art we will never perfect.

downtown guy said...

Is that giant thing a tadpole? RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

(Sorry, just my batrachophobia acting up.)

(no subject) said...

i like the tadpole experiment!!!