Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sigh. Heavy sigh.

My heart is heavy. My dad is gone. My mother is dying. My daughter, Elizabeth, has left. We kicked her out. Well. Not really "We," rather, her dad. When I was out visiting my mom on the Fourth (a trip that requires I take half a Xanax ... ), he and Elizabeth were arguing.
She'd been ill; just that morning, her dad had taken her to a minute clinic, an urgent care facility, so a physician could troubleshoot her sore throat and her headache and her lethargy, and after two hours of waiting, the visit and diagnosis came: tonsillitis and sinus infection. Antibiotics were ordered, and bed rest, and the fluids we always hear about. And then, after she lay on the couch, she suddenly felt better, what with 3 p.m. rolling around and fireworks stands beckoning.
"I'm going out to buy fireworks, Dad," is how their conversation started.
"No. No. You're not," is what her father said. "Remember, you're sick."
"I suddenly feel better."
"You're not going. Besides, you're still in trouble for the other night." (The "other night" is a separate posting.)
"You can't make me stay home," she taunted.
"Oh, really? Watch me."
And then she was off, a renewed agility in climbing the stairs to her second-story bedroom, to the place that housed her make-up and straightening iron, the room that would prepare her for the night.
That's when things turned ugly. At some point my husband told our mouthy, entitled daughter that she was going to follow house rules, that she was going to show respect to her parents, at which point she complained of living in a prison (our home), and how horrible we were as parents, and how it wasn't fair that if we "made so much money" why wasn't she getting to go to school in Chicago and assorted other complaints, culminating in "I HATE IT HERE AND YOU CAN'T KEEP ME LOCKED UP HERE WITH YOUR RETARDED RULES ... ."
You know, I wasn't there to note who said what at what time and if there were, in fact, any expletives exchanged. All I know is when I returned to the house, my hubby had gone to a concert (which, later, he said was ruined on account of the conflict earlier in the day) and my previously ill daughter was out on the town.
Ignoring our house rules.
When she returned at 11:30 p.m., a half hour before her newly curtailed curfew, she figured her life would soon be back to normal, but OHNO, Daddy was mad.
"Get out of my house," is what he said. "Give me your house key. Take the clothes on your back and get out."
Which she did. No tears or anything, just a narrowing of the eyes and hatred spewing from her cold, dark pupils.
The next day she phoned. Wanted to come by to pick up the rest of her stuff.
"You have sixty minutes to clear out your possessions," we told her. (We have to be on the same page, my husband and I ... .)
She came, delivery made possible by a friend driving a four-door red car. She packed her stuff in humongous yellow garbage bags. Her friend sat out in the car, waiting. Fifty minutes came and went. She hauled out her belongings.
And then she was gone.