Yesterday I went to the mat early, after staying up and writing until almost 3am the night before. I finally had to switch my writing schedule around — sleep was beckoning. I have been staying up writing past 2am almost every night, my body finally called uncle. I gave in like a 4-year old fighting a nap. The iPad was still in bed with me.
I moved through all 26 Bikram poses in Arlington, Texas. Still no frozen water, but I did manage to get a bottle full of Sonic Ice. This worked almost as well. When you do yoga in your hometown for the first time ever, your entire life is bound to flash before your eyes. I was trying not to let it. It didn’t work.
Sweat is pouring off of me. I fall over. I get up again. I know I am exhausted.
I’m focused on my Memom. The night before class I had cried in front of their house, and I could hear her telling me to “go, fly, see.” So many memories in that house. I’m not sure my cousins, my father or aunt and uncle got the same Memom I got. In fact, I know they didn’t. I was the oldest grandchild by six years. She tossed out guilt trips to everyone else without a second thought of how it would affect them. Not me. Never once. I’m not sure if this was conscious or she thought I wouldn’t listen anyway. Probably a little of both.
I know life can’t be lived backwards, but sometimes I wish you could know when the last time your grandmother was going to scratch your head and back until you fell asleep — even when you’re almost 40. I would have tried to savor it more.
Perhaps the blessing God gives us is that we don’t know. I would have never gotten up from the bed and lived my life had I known.
It’s her birthday today, she would have been 89. Her name was Terry; really it was Alma, but she went by Terry. I think my Mom knew what she was doing when she named me after her. I was named after both grandmothers (Teressa Louise), but I think her name being first was good for her ego. After all, my Gran Gran ended up with three offspring named after him. She had me.
She left home and lived in New York to become a nurse. She moved far away from her family in Kulpmont, Pennsylvania to build a life with my Gran Gran in Fort Worth. A lot like me.
My grandparents got married during WWII in New York City at The Little Church Around the Corner. When I lived in the city I would always go to that church and sit there when I was between appointments, or had time to kill. I say I was never that religious, but I always found myself in churches lighting candles and praying about something.
As I was wringing it all out in spine-twisting pose for the final time before heading home — I didn’t cry. I laughed and thought how damn lucky am I that I had grandparents whose love I can literally feel from heaven right now. Gran Gran taking me to the circus — Memom helping me sew my choir dress — sitting on Gran Gran’s lap even when I was too big to be there — Memom telling me to “go, fly, see, Miss. T.”
After class I went to a three hour lunch with my friend Missy. I hadn’t seen her in more than 20 years. It was amazing. When you haven’t seen someone since high school and you sit down at 43 and it was like no time passed — what a gift. You have a shared history, shared friendships. You’ve been “getting” each other since your were 9 so somehow 43 doesn’t seem all that different.
I had a heart to heart phone call with my cousin Jenny while sitting in a Sonic parking lot drinking a diet cherry limeade. When she was born I would make a tent on my aunt and uncle’s water bed and change her clothes like she was a doll, 59 times in two hours. She loved it. Today she made me cry. She’s always looked up to me and despite being ten years younger, she manages to have just the right words. It’s like she channels Memom — “go, fly, see — you are a beautiful butterfly.”
The night ended at my friend Stacy’s. Again, it was like no time had passed. Yesterday we were riding our bikes to Grandy’s and eating Pu Pu Platters; today we were filling each other in on the past 20 years. It was the same. We even said one sentence at the exact same time. A little older, a lot wiser.
I would never go back, but I do look back on my childhood and feel so blessed. Yes, there was crap and stuff that sucked, but overall I would not trade it for anything. I look at my Facebook friend pics and I think, “I’ve known so many of these people since my biggest worry was please don’t pick me last for kickball. How cool is that?”
The plane is flying west towards Los Angeles. Home. One thing I learned on this 10 day work-live sabbatical: life is lived forward. I want Texas to be home again very soon, but today my home is where my husband and my cat reside; I can’t wait to see them. This plane can’t fly fast enough.
I married a truly wonderful man. Maybe it was a little late for my ovaries, but it was just perfect for us. I wouldn’t trade any of it, not one day — and so it goes. I hope we can make a home that some kids miss so much they cry in front of it when they’re 43.
I hope he knows how much I love him. He pushed me to go and stay and do — this was all I needed for Hanukkah.