Yesterday morning Damien & I drove to Rome to visit my mother for her birthday. It was a surprise, as she didn't know any of us were coming. My sister Shay went Friday with her family and then my brother Mark and my sister Lucy went just ahead of us yesterday morning. At one point we were right behind them, but we stopped off at a florist so Damien could get my mother some yellow mums, which were stunning. Anyway, by the time Mark & Lucy got there she was already very happy and excited, but when I walked in the door it changed somewhat. At first she couldn't focus on me, as I was on the other side of the room and her vision isn't what it used to be. As I got closer to surprise her and give her a big hug, she burst into tears and began saying "My baby is here too!" Yes, I'm the baby of the family. I held her for a minute or two and kissed her - then she excused herself and took a second Valium.
We had a big barbecue on the creekside, and it was really nice to spend the time with her and my other family. Damien had a good time as well, which I had hoped for in spite of our nervousness about being there at all in the first place. He really liked my mother and she absolutely adored him - which I figured on happening anyway. He's very lovable, what can I say. She gave him lots of hugs and cheek kisses, and called him precious, sweetie, honey, darling, baby, and probably several other endearments that are customary for her when she takes a shine to someone. He's also quite fond of my sister Shay and my niece Amber, both of whom were there and both of whom think he hung the moon. All in all, we had a great time. Even the drive was nice.
I was told about a new addition to the family as well! Apparently my cousin Ben and his wife welcomed a new baby boy recently, and as if that weren't nice enough it was made even sweeter by the fact that he was named after me. Yes, I now officially have a namesake. The irony was that he was born with a birth defect in his heart, some sort of tear or hole or something that required a rather serious surgery, but he's recovering nicely. I say there is irony there because my namesake was also born with a broken heart. Figure that one out.
For whatever reasons, some I know about and some that just escape me, all I really wanted was to be back here at home the whole time. Not that I didn't enjoy myself, just that it felt very haunted and bitter at times and I just really have a hard time being there in the first place. I go with an open and objective mind, I leave drained, feckless, and with more questions than are good for me to ask. I like it here at home where things make sense and I feel that I belong and fill some sort of purpose. Parts of the last two days left me feeling like I was an invisible witness at someone else's party, full of people I didn't know. The proverbial fly on the wall.
I'm glad I got to see her and that our being there made her happy. Now I really want a glass of merlot and a cigarette on my front stoop in the cool air with nothing going on around me but the sky and the sounds in the yard. But my reality is that I am not getting a drink this late, I don't smoke anymore unless I'm already somewhat soberly impaired, and the front stoop smells like cat pee. So much for what I want for myself.
I'm going to bed now, this introspective stuff is a motherfucker. I'm already going to have enough trouble as it is over the next few days just getting back into my life without all of the constant reminders of things I'd just as soon forget.
Props to Dorothy. There's no place like home.