So, the movers came, and Mom's "stuff" is here.
And there are boxes *everywhere*.
Chaos reigns supreme.
It is hard enough to be her, without all of the crap we have had going on around here. The never-ending pain, the crushing load of homework she has this year (all Advanced Placement/Honors classes; now you know why she hasn't blogged in months) and the usual stuff that 13 year-old girls go through alone is enough to bear.
Nowadays, the living room, the library, the game room, and my office are full to bursting with moving cartons and her Grandma's furniture. This means that if -by some miracle - she can get all of her homework done before bedtime, she can't get to her video games, she can't get to the air hockey table, the pinball machine, or even her favorite books. So, it's either The Sims2 or repeats on The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, or one of her library books from school.
Twinks is truly a creature of habit - she likes for things to be predictable, and organized. This has been tough for her; every day boxes, furniture and sometimes, entire rooms are being shuffled around. My "office" is now a corner of the dining room table, and an extra briefcase that I can drag from room to room along with my laptop. Gone are our quiet afternoons together as she does her homework; now I am typically unloading boxes and trying to figure out what I can cook for dinner that will please the majority of those dining at my table that evening.
She has been a wonderfully, remarkably, patient kid through all of this. I wish I had a way to really reward her for being so good. Don't misunderstand - it hasn't all been bad for her - with Grandma living here, she suddenly has another ally. She gets to spend as much time with Mom as she wants - and she wants to spend all of it that she can with Mom. Even if it is to just sit on the floor near Grandma and do homework, she is content to know that her beloved Grandma is going to be here with us now, and for the rest of her life.
Every day, I try to make a tiny dent in this huge pile of boxes. Every day I open a few more; so far it is clear that the movers did an excellent job; nothing has been broken. In many ways it has been like Christmas for me, seeing things that I had forgotten about. It has touched my heart to learn what Mom had saved, what she had treasured for so many years. Often, we never get to see what our parents kept of our childhoods until they are gone, but I have been given a rare gift. Mom shares it with me freely, and happily.
Last night, hidden in the bottom of a suitcase, I found some of the letters I had sent to Mom over the years. There were also pictures of Daddy, and some other small mementos of her life previous to The Stepdad. Before I could ask the obvious question, she just shook her head, and patted my shoulder gently, and said "He (meaning the Stepdad) would have thrown those things away if he had found them, honey. I can't tell you how many of my things I have fished out of the trash cans over the years." It makes me sad and angry to think that my Mom has had to hide entire portions of her life like it was something bad or wrong; to know that someone discarded her personal belongings in an attempt to "erase" the parts of her past that he didn't like, or want her to remember.
So, this is how I spend my days.
Unpacking, sorting, stacking, folding, and putting things away.
As the piles of boxes grow smaller, my determination to help my Mom live the life she should have been living grows. Every day she makes a bit more progress, buy she is still really damaged and fragile. It scares me sometimes to think about how close we were to losing her just six weeks ago.
With every box that is emptied, a new part of her life begins again - a little more of her freedom is restored.
A quiet little rebellion, right here in the middle of all of these boxes.