The Jennifer Chronicles - Volume I
March 14, 2010How to Attend Your Mother's Wedding - Part One
Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again. But if you do, bring your laundry. He didn't say that last part. I did. It had been three months since I'd been in New York, almost four since I'd taken the giant leap of accepting Peter Duncan's offer to stay with the company and transfer to Seattle. It's amazing how things turn out. I don't mean in the sense that it turns out exactly as you imagined it. Oh no, that Good Ship Lollipop, Wizard of Oz train left the station last year and I was not on it. No, I mean, literally, life twists and turns in ways you don't see coming. And I was the poster child. The last year of my life had included such unexpected feats as getting engaged, getting dumped, getting fired, getting a man that I should have promptly thrown back into the pool, and getting another man I still have the occasional twitch about, wondering if I should have let him go. Ultimately, I decided I couldn't exist as someone else's idea of me when I still had no idea who the hell I was. So I chucked it all and said goodbye to Long Island. And after all that, I'm back for the holidays, taking a breath from being master of my own fate and living on my own terms. And what was I doing? Loading up a washer with dirty clothes that I had stuffed into my suitcase. Sometimes being master of my own fate eats into my time management. I had tried to keep my mother away from my suitcase. No such luck.
"Joanie, you packed dirty clothes? You shouldn't do that. How can you put clean clothes back in your case? You could get a skin rash."
"Mommy, I was rushing. It's just a few things."
Even while overstuffing the washer, I managed to get a look at the clock. It only took ten minutes for us to slip back into our old roles. Maybe you can go home again.
"You're right Ma. The baggage check fee was huge. Next time I'll UPS everything home."
"Ma, focus. You're getting married tomorrow. You need to concentrate on that. Where is Randall anyway?"
I hadn't seen my mother's soft spoken, genteel significant other more than a few minutes since I'd been back. I figured he was either hiding out in the basement to give us space or he was on the phone ordering cases of male enhancement products to last the next decade.
In all fairness, Randall is fine. My father died when I was little and the space next to my mother had remained empty until Randall had come. My mother deserved to be happy.
"Joanie you haven't said much about your job. Why can't you stay more than a few days? How come you're leaving right after Christmas? I thought you were staying through New Years. Do you like Seattle? What's going on? Is everything okay with your boss?"
"Duncan is fine, Mom. He's very busy. He likes to plunder companies. It's a hobby." Actually firing people was Peter Duncan's hobby. For some reason known only to God he had taken a liking to me. Like Atilla the Hun with a soft side. Go figure. "Seattle is fine. It rains all the time and I'm thinking of taking up depressive poetry as a hobby."
My mother made a face. I gave her a kiss.
"Joanie, are you sure it's all right, my getting married?"
I slipped my arm around her shoulder. "Ma, it's wonderful."
"You know Joanie, I'd like to see you settled down."
"You will Ma. I will. Soon. I'm too busy being a career-oriented, independent woman."
My mother was silent for a moment. "I know Joanie, but, how long do you think that will last?"
I controlled the urge to smile. My mother was nothing if not practical. "I don't know Ma, we'll see. You have to get ready to go. You don't want to be late for your own rehearsal dinner."
Next week: How to Attend Your Mother's Wedding - Part Two.