Monday, December 08, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Cobra Back

N emailed on Sunday to invite Katie and her boyfriend and me to dinner the weekend after Christmas. When I called to accept, we laughed and cried together. When she mentioned something about the future, I told her we are going to be fabulous grandmas someday.

Today I picked up a "University of Minnesota Mom" coffee mug Katie gave me her first year at the U. As I put it in the cupboard, it struck me how much a mug like that would mean to N and made a mental note to suggest it to Katie.

Katie forwarded an email she received from N this evening, pictures of some lovely cakes N baked and decorated. Katie is a big fan of Ace of Cakes (and all things Food Network), so she was quite impressed with the cakes and called to make sure I'd seen them. After we hung up, I noticed Ns note to Katie, which ended by saying that she looked forward to baking together soon.

Something hot and fierce rose in my chest, spreading its hood like a cobra ready to spit venom. I had to get a drink of water from the frig and take Cassie for a quick walk in the cold night air before I could really breathe again.

"Get a grip, Jerri. They will share special things. Of course they will. They will do things together. That's what developing a relationship means. You know that.

Apparently I can be generous when I'm dictating the terms—acknowledge N as a grandmother and a U mother as long as it's abstract or printed on a ceramic mug. But let butter and flour and sugar enter the picture (in HER kitchen, no less), and it's all cobras and mongooses inside my chest.

The problem is not N or cakes or pictures. It is me, clutching, grasping, clinging to what I wish for rather than accepting what is. I go along in pretty good shape for a while and then my equanimity gets shattered by the smallest thing and the cobra rises up and spreads its hood of jealousy, lured out of its basket by the flute of irrational fear.

Seriously that creepy seen-a-snake feeling was so strong after I went to bed I had to turn on the lights and look around.


So many miles to go, I may never sleep.


Michelle O'Neil said...

This time she's gone too far!!!Okay, here's what you do.

Drive on over to N's house, in your apron, holding a wooden spoon, and when she opens the door, take her by the collar, shove her up against the wall and say,

"Look Toots,Keep you damn oven mitts off my Katie, or else."

Then do that finger across the neck thing,for dramatic flair.

Leave the spoon on the counter to give her something to think about.

That bitch.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I gotta ditto Michelle on this one!

Go Mama said...

Sucks being human, doesn't it?

...mine, yours, sharing the sandbox, feeling dark thoughts, throwing things, watching them smash, taking your marbles and going home, losing it....

Ah, life.

Deb said...

That you can tell the truth about this means it doesn't have any real power over you.

If you want to follow Michelle's advice, and would like some help, just holler. Your posse will be there in a flash to cover your back.

Much love to you.

luckyzmom said...

I'll bring my rolling pin.

Jerri said...

No oven mitts. No rolling pins. I don't need 'em because I know you guys have my back.

All I really need is your support and an occasional reminder not to get so dramatic.

Jess said...

I'd be glad to join that posse anytime.

I'm with Deb though, you have so much awareness around all this that you will be fine.

luckyzmom said...

If you can't share your drama with us, then who? Sides, your drama is so well written!) We all need to hear an occassional "poor sweet baby, been there, done that and survived".

kario said...

"Not get so dramatic?" I'm fairly certain you got just as dramatic as you needed/deserved to. I even got a knot in my guts when I read that and I read it second-hand! You did exactly the right thing, drinking some water and going for a walk. No doubt you'll find yourself doing this over and over again.

No doubt you'll be forced to remember just how many of us have your back over and over again, too.

All my love.