Woke up before 5am today. Too much to do, too much on my mind, so going back to sleep was out of the question. Figured I might was well get up, get a jump on things, maybe back my to-do list far enough into its corner that I’ll sleep better tonight.
Hungry, though, and it’s one of those cold, almost-winter mornings that had me aching for something more than just the usual bowel of Cheerios. So I pawed through the pantry and saw the box of Malt-O-Meal. Made me smile. What my mom used to make sometimes on cold mornings like this. So I whipped up a bowl of that, put the brown sugar in it like she used to, maybe a little more than mom would have approved of.
Mom’s been dead since just before the millennium turned over. Yet in that weird Billy Pilgrim way life sometimes has, she was with me for breakfast. Dad’s been gone five years now, too. But that sense of him being here, too.
And I guess he was, I guess they were. My mind often ain’t right. Tends toward melancholy, always has, and I can’t really say why. I grew up with every advantage. Material, sure. Nice houses, nice clothes, good schools. But also always knowing I was loved. Always. There was nothing complicated about that, nothing conflicted, no sense of sacrifice being lorded over me. Just loved. Not in that dutiful parental way that sometimes implies, but like they were honestly glad I was around. Like they didn’t just love me, they liked me.
Been a rough few years for me. Not going to get into that. There’s stuff that just ain’t your business. Stuff some of you know, some of you don’t. But the last month or so, also the sense that maybe there are second chances.
So the melancholy thing, I’ll live with it. We all have our natures. But it wouldn’t resonate the way it does if it didn’t have this deep well of contentment to play off of, the memories I have of my childhood, the memories of being loved in an uncomplicated way that wanted nothing from me but my company, nothing for me but my happiness.
Saw on Facebook today where a guy I barely know lost his father yesterday. From his posts, my guess is he felt about his dad more of less the way I felt about mine. My first impulse was to say I’m sorry – it’s what we say. But sorry for what? Fathers die, mothers die. Or at least they do if life works out the way it should. If we’re lucky it’s hard to lose them. If we’re really lucky, then it’s really hard.
Takes a little distance, I guess, before you realize what a lucky bastard you are. Maybe I’ve finally got enough.