Excerpt from working copy of my memoir...
My dad practices tough love when he tells me I had to act like an adult now that I was one. My parents could not do this part for me. I knew he was right but my heart sank as I drove slower than usual down Highway 80 headed to Ardsley Park. I sat outside Mi-Mi’s apartment on 48th Street frozen with fear.
My old beat up Datsun 810 didn’t need a key to crank up; anything flat and thin would work. I used a butter knife as a key on more than one occasion. The classical music station that the radio was stuck on was playing softly in the background as I thought back to my Pa-Pa’s funeral. Sitting in the limousine on my uncle’s lap I stare out the window at the church stairs. I have climbed the stairs to Aldersgate United Methodist more times than I could count, many of those times holding Pa-Pa’s hand. I slowly become aware of the conversation going on between my dad and uncle “Mom says getting out of the car is the hardest part. She would know she has buried sisters, in-laws, and Worry Wart”. The conversation tails off and we sit for a few more minutes before exiting the limousine.
Sitting outside Mi-Mi’s on this hot summer day I ponder how true my dad’s statement was, the hardest part is getting out of the car. Getting out of the car is like seeing a decision all the way to the end. I decided to have sex. I decided to keep the baby. I decided to get married. I now had to decide to get out of the car and tell my 96-year-old great-grandmother I was pregnant. I decide on this sweltering July day I will never stay in the car and let life move on around me.
Mi-Mi was a great cook and made the best macaroni and cheese. I watched her make it for years. She was making it for me as I walked in to have lunch with her. She thinks I am here just for a visit and to take her to the grocery store. I learned the hard way a trip to the grocery store with her meant I was buying the groceries because conveniently she always left her wallet at home when she went out. She was still worked doing alteration by feel because her eyesight was so bad. And she lived by herself! So the least I could do was buy a few groceries (which I in turn made my dad pay me back for).
I watch her in the kitchen but I can’t make the words I need to say come out. As we start eating Mi-Mi breaks the ice and asks me say what was on my mind. Her response to my news was shockingly different than I imagined. My sweet Mi-Mi showed me grace beyond what I thought possible. Her advice has stuck with me all these years later. She told me:
When life gives you lemons you don’t just make lemonade, you can
make anything you want with those lemons. This one decision in your life
does not make all the decisions in your life.
We finish up lunch and I drive her to the Red-n-White. She buys a few bags of groceries; well, I buy a few bags of groceries. I walk her back into her little apartment and put away the groceries. I quick hug and kiss goodbye and I am on my way back home. My day ended better than I thought it would. I drove away from my Mi-Mi’s thinking she was right this is just a bump in the road.
Don't let your speed bumps sidetrack you,