Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mother-Daughter Time

Rosalyn was dressed and ready to leave for the airport earlier than necessary.  It was the first of her visits to her children since Allen had died.  She promised to visit each of them on their birthdays.  It had been years since she was able to spend a birthday with one of her children and today she was flying to Dallas to celebrate Miranda’s thirtieth birthday.  Miranda had planned some special mother-daughter escapades and Rosalyn was looking forward to them. 
Miranda was the baby in the family and according to all the others, Rosalyn’s favorite.  Rosalyn loved all of her children, but she did have a special place in her heart for her baby girl.  Miranda was beautiful, intelligent, sweet and congenial.  It was difficult to not love Miranda and many teachers had told Rosalyn that very thing.  Even her brothers catered to her, although they would never admit it.  When Miranda was a teenager, every boy she dated had to pass the brother test. 
Rosalyn drove to the airport, parked in covered parking and rode the shuttle to the terminal.  She had an hour wait for her flight, which would take about four hours.  Her Kindle, a gift from Allen, was loaded with plenty of reading material to last the flight as well as the visit.  Rosalyn knew that she needed quiet time and so did Miranda and her husband, Justin, so she was prepared to spend her evenings in the guest room reading.
There were butterflies in her stomach as they landed in Dallas and Rosalyn wasn’t sure whether it was the landing or excitement about seeing Miranda.  Walking in the terminal, she saw Miranda waiting for her and there was no mistaking the love this grown child had for her mother.  They had always had an especially close relationship.  Rosalyn remembered when Miranda was in junior high school and played basketball.  One afternoon she phoned to let her mother know there was a change in the location of the game that evening.  Miranda was standing at the secretary’s desk and before she hung up with Rosalyn, she said, “I love you” which elicited an astonished look from the secretary.  Miranda hung up the phone, shrugged and said, “I love my mom” and walked back to class. 
Rosalyn dropped her bag and hugged Miranda tightly as tears filled her eyes.  She hadn’t realized how much she had missed her children in the years of nursing Allen. 
“Mom, I’m so glad to see you.  I have missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you too, Randi.”
“Let’s go.  I know a great little coffee shop where we can sit and visit.”
Miranda and Rosalyn drove to a shop, which catered to young professionals.  It supplied Internet free and coffee was $5.00 a cup.  Rosalyn thought it would be cheaper to pay for the Internet; but it seemed to be a popular place, judging by the crowd.  The coffee was good and the alone time with her daughter was worth much more than the exorbitant price of the coffee.
Rosalyn looked at her precious baby girl and knew something was wrong.  It wasn’t clear what was going on, but Miranda wasn’t completely herself.  “Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.  We are going to have a good time this weekend.  I have so much planned to show you that you will need to go back to work for the rest.”
“How is Justin?”
“He’s fine.  There’s a neat boutique that I want to show you.  It’s not far from the house.”
“Okay.  How is his job going?”
“It’s fine.  Would you like to go to the Bath House Cultural Center tonight?  I think you would like the play that’s showing.”
“Sure.  Sounds good to me.  I’ve never been to the Bath House Cultural Center, but I’ve heard it is beautiful.  Will Justin be going with us?”
“No.  It is beautiful.  You’ll probably want to take pictures, so I hope you brought your camera.”
“Yes, I did.  Are you sure you are alright?”
“I’m fine.  Now let’s go to that boutique.”
The ‘awesome’ boutique was a little too trendy for Rosalyn.  It carried clothes that looked great on Miranda’s size 2 body, but made women Rosalyn’s age look ridiculous.  Rosalyn spent most of the time in the shop watching Miranda hunt for every bargain available. 
“You didn’t find anything you wanted, Mom?”
“No, I don’t think they had my body in mind when they designed some of these clothes.”
“Oh Mom, you still look great.  Let’s go to the shoe store.”
Miranda’s love of shoes was a family joke.  “Miranda, have you ever counted your shoes?”
“Yes, but it has been a long time.  I live by the rule ‘I can do all things with the right shoes’.  I think it’s in the Bible.”
“I don’t think it’s in the Bible.”  Rosalyn laughed.
“Well it would have been if women had written it.”
Rosalyn noticed that Miranda never looked directly at her when speaking.  Something is definitely wrong.  I will find out before I leave here.
After a day of shopping, they drove to Miranda and Justin’s house to relax for a while before their evening plans.  Justin arrived home shortly afterward, hugged Miranda, spoke briefly to Rosalyn, and announced that he was going to bed.  “I’ll see you in the morning.”  He told Rosalyn as he headed toward the master bedroom.
“Is he alright?”
“He’s fine.  Why?”
“It’s very early to go to bed and he didn’t even eat.  Will he sleep all night?”
“Oh, yes.  Justin can sleep more than anyone I know.  He’ll be fine.  Let’s get ready to go to the theater.  The play starts at 8:00.”
The play was based on the true story of two African-American sisters, born in the late 1800’s, who lived to be more than 100 years old and was a reenactment of the book they had written.  Both sisters were well educated—very unusual for their time.  Rosalyn was so inspired by their accomplishments that she bought the book during intermission.  Miranda seemed to be distracted during the play.
“Did you not enjoy the play, Randi?”
“It was fine.  Did you like it?”
“Yes, I liked it a lot.  It didn’t look like you were listening very much.”
“I was listening.  Are you ready to go home?  I’m sure you are tired.”
They drove home in silence.  It seemed to Rosalyn that Miranda had either talked too much or not enough since they left the airport earlier that morning.  She either moved too fast or like molasses.  Rosalyn had the feeling that Miranda was trying to avoid telling her something.  I know you, baby girl.  You are not fooling me.  Something is wrong.
The next morning Justin, Miranda and Rosalyn had a wonderful breakfast together and then mother and daughter started their jam-packed day of ‘girl stuff’.  Justin stayed home to mow the lawn and work around the house.  By noon, Rosalyn believed Miranda’s warning about being so tired that work would feel like rest when she returned home.  Her feet and back hurt and Miranda showed no signs of slowing down.
“Please, could we take a break?  I really need to sit down.”
“Mom, I’m trying to show you a good time.  There are so many things I want to share with you while you are here.”
“I didn’t come here to see the shops and attractions.  I came to see you.  Can’t we just talk for a while?”
“Sure.  I guess.  If that’s what you really want to do.”
Rosalyn bought an ice cream for each and they sat at the table watching the people walk down the mall.   There were people with all colors of hair.  One woman had beautiful black hair, but she had sprayed the left top section pink, the right top section blue, and the middle was sprayed purple.  It reminded Rosalyn of a rainbow- flavored snow cone.
They returned to Miranda’s house late in the afternoon.  Rosalyn noticed immediately that the lawn had not been mowed and the house appeared to be in the same condition as when they left.  Going inside, they discovered Justin asleep in his recliner.  Miranda attempted to rouse him, but was unsuccessful.  After a light dinner, Rosalyn retired to the guest room to read.  She would be returning home tomorrow afternoon.
The next morning, they loaded Rosalyn’s bags in the car.  The plan was to breakfast at the local pancake house, attend church services, and take Rosalyn to the airport.  Justin claimed a headache so Miranda and Rosalyn went without him.  The restaurant was crowded, but the wait wasn’t extreme.  The waitress placed Miranda and Rosalyn in a corner booth and took their orders.
“Randi, look at me.  Something is wrong and I want to know what it is.  Don’t even try to tell me ‘nothing’ because I know you have been avoiding eye contact with me since I got here.  You answer any of my questions with one word and change the subject.  Now what is going on?”
“Mom, I’m not happy.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m thinking about leaving Justin.”
“Is there a reason other than not being happy?”
“It’s too many things to mention.”
“I can see something is wrong with Justin.  He has slept the entire time I’ve been here.  Is he sick?”
“No.  He’s fine.”
“He’s not fine, Miranda.  Stop telling me that.  No one sleeps that much unless there is a problem.  I didn’t see any alcohol in the house, but does he have a drinking problem?”
“No.  He rarely drinks.”
“Does he have a drug problem?”
Miranda hesitated and then said, “Well not exactly.  He takes prescription pain pills for his back, but he takes them more than prescribed.  He goes through a month’s prescription in two weeks.”
“That’s a drug problem.”
“He doesn’t think he has a drug problem.”
“Just because he is not buying them off the street, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a drug problem.  Anytime prescriptions are abused, it is a drug problem.  It is no different than the addict on the street.  Have you talked to him about this?”
“More times than I can count.  He doesn’t want to get off of them.”
“Would he go to counseling?”
“I asked him and he said absolutely not.   I’ve prayed about it, but I don’t know what to do.”
“Well you are the only one that can make that decision.  I can be here for you, but I can’t make the decision.”
“If I decide to leave him, can I come back home?”
Even before they married, Allen and Rosalyn discussed how they would rear their children.  Security was the number one priority.  They wanted their children to know their home was a safe haven from the world’s storms.  “How could you ask me that question?  Of course you can come back home.  I would not want you to leave Justin for trivial reasons, but if you have a serious problem I will always be here for you.  I would definitely call this a serious problem.”
“I know that when you had a serious problem, you couldn’t go home and I just wanted to know how you feel about me coming home.”
“How do I feel about it?  We can go get your things right now if you want.  That’s how I feel about it.”
“Not yet.  Let me settle some business matters first.  I want to try one more time to talk to Justin.  I want to know that I did everything I could before I dissolve my marriage.”
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