Monday, December 3, 2012

Suffering From Failure to Launch?

Forget the clock and just give me a white flag to hoist up the pole. I can’t seem to do anything in a timely manner at home. I’ll have keys in hand and be ready to hit the door only to have my son remind me that I was supposed to do something, or that I really should stay home and do the night-night routine. I’ll run up the stairs to get my glasses only to pick up the discarded shoes, socks and the new roll of toilet paper that didn't make it up the stairs in the first place, and put them away. Half an hour later I still won’t have my glasses and I’ll be in the laundry room loading the dryer. I suffer from failure to launch what I need to launch, when I need to launch it.

I come by it honestly. At some point after age 60 my mother stopped worrying about when the Christmas decorations went up, and when they came down. One year when my Aunt Magdalene was visiting my mother, she called their sister, my Aunt Kathleen, and told her it was so beautiful being at my mother’s house. Everything was always so beautiful to Aunt Magdalene. Her rich European accent would have you spell bound, believing that even the New Jersey Turnpike was a thing of beauty. The conversation between them went something like this:

Aunt Magdalene: “Oh ya! It is all so lovely.”

Aunt Kathleen: “Are the flowers still in bloom there?”

Aunt Magdalene: “Oh ya, ya, and the Christmas tree is so beautiful!”

Aunt Kathleen: “Christmas Tree? What are you talking about? It’s JULY!”

Yes, it was July and Mama had decided enough was enough. She kept the eight foot tall, fake, flocked, Christmas tree up all year that year; occasionally dusting around it. She didn't care what anyone thought. When the heat of the summer seemed to stifle all the spirit out of you, she’d light the tree. Fake as it was, it pulled you back to where the days were crisp and the warm glow of home prevailed.

Maybe I need a fake, flocked Christmas tree. At this point I’m willing to try anything to get things off the ground, or to have some semblance of a schedule. I should be in bed around ten every evening, but I usually hit the sheets around 11:30 or later. I wash a dish, or fold a load of clothes, or see a chin hair or two that needs plucking, or a button that needs to be sewn on. Making my way to bed becomes an obstacle course of things that I didn't get to in the day. Mornings are worse. It’s all the above, done in a breathless rush between hugs, and goodbyes, and where the hell are my glasses! I make it into work by the skin of my teeth, panting and disheveled. It’s a frightening sight.

Now that Christmas is just around the corner, I’m struggling with boxes full of decorations. My five-year-old son is full of enthusiasm, wanting every decoration out for the entire world to see. I try to be upbeat and smile, well, it looks more like a grimace or maybe it looks more like someone who got hit up with too much Botox, but I try. Maybe I’ll take the decorations down this year, and maybe I won’t, but first I’d like to get them all up, after I find my glasses.


  1. Hooray for "Mama"--she had the right idea! Relax, and don't worry about what people will think. . . and enjoy Christmas in July. I also like your aunt, who thought everything was beautiful.

  2. As Mom said many times, "There's a method to my madness."


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