Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scared (10/90)

I called my Mom hurriedly this morning to ask for the ingredients I’d need for her chili recipe as I was rushing off to the grocery store.

Chili powder, beans, an onion, a green pepper, Barilla sauce, noodles and ground beef, she told me.

“That’s it,” I asked.

“That’s it,” she said.

“What did the doctor say,” I asked, hoping the answer would be simple.

“Not good,” she said. “She scared me a little bit.”


I watched my Mom have a seizure when I was thirteen.

I had spent the weekend at a performing arts workshop in Ohio with two friends. The last day of the camp was the big shebang, when we performed a closing concert.

I remember watching from the stage as my parents and friends’ parents arrived and found their seats on the bleachers. Halfway through the “Hallelujah Chorus” I watched as my Mom got up from her seat and walked strangely to the telephone booth at the other end of the gym.

As she walked back toward her seat her walk became even more uncoordinated, her feet sliding across the floor as if they’d never walked before.  She sat several rows down from where the others were sitting, and before long she was seizing. I remember watching her body slide down into the bleachers, jerking, her eyes rolling.

I was frozen in fear as I stood watching from a distance, the “Hallelujah Chorus” echoing around me.  I watched for what seemed like an eternity before my adrenaline kicked in and I jumped up and pushed my way through all of the unalarmed bodies surrounding me.  I ran up the bleachers to where she was, though by now she was surrounded. My dad and friend’s parents were among concerned strangers and two EMTs.

There wasn’t much they could do beside stabilize her. When she regained consciousness it wasn’t long before she asked me if I was all right. I assured her that I was.

She told me to go back on stage to finish the concert, and I refused.            

I had a talk with my sister a while ago about what things would be like when our parents got older and found that we have totally different perspectives. I didn’t understand that until I realized that our experiences within the same family have been totally different.

I am the youngest of three children, and I’ve done my own thing for as long as I can remember. I never spent much time in the house. I was always out and about running back and forth to practices, club meetings and sleepovers, anywhere but home.

I assumed that I wasn’t needed at home and I wasn’t missing anything. I found out too late that I was wrong on both accounts.

My brother and sister both have memories that I don’t of things that happened at home, because they were there. And, I have memories that they don’t because I am here now.           

Which doesn’t change the fact that I should have been there when it mattered.


I have lived alone with both of my parents now, which I believe has caused my shift in perspective.  I now see them as human beings, with the complexities that we all share, who happen to be my parents. I’ve been exposed to their vulnerabilities.

And there are choices before me. Only now there is more than one there where I am needed and am missing things.

There’s a concert to finish, and I’m scared. 


Brad King said...

Ah kiddo. This is beautiful. I think I know what you should be writing about.

Tiffany Holbert said...

Thanks a lot! :) And what's that- I'm almost scared to hear!

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