My favorite part of the weekend was sitting in the dark with my niece-to-be who already calls me "Aunt Stephanie." We sat on the bathroom floor with a Disney view-master that projected the images onto the tiled bathroom wall. I read the story of Sleeping Beauty. "Wait," I said, "Did you know Aurora was betrothed to Prince Phillip?" I had no idea Sleeping Beauty’s name was Aurora or that she was in an arranged marriage. I needed to brush up on my Disney, and quick. I expected her to reply, "what does betrothed mean?" Instead she said, "can we skip the part with the witch because she gives me nightmares." I love this. Love story time with projectors and fairytales with attentive ears and eyes. Dimples and giggles. I want to be a mother. I’m happy being an aunt.
It’s Mother’s Day, and I’m in New York. Truthfully, I didn’t want to come back, but there were plans to be had. A bachelorette party Friday. A wedding (for a different bride) on Saturday. Mother’s Day Sunday. I was looking forward to seeing the people, catching up, and the hugs, but I wasn’t ready to come back to Manhattan. "I’m not settled enough yet." It’s strange, wanting to miss New York. "I haven’t been away long enough. I don’t want to keep coming back. I want to be away for a long time and return giddy to be back." But here I am, in Manhattan, at 10pm (NY Time) wondering where I should eat. If I were gone from New York longer, I’d know what to have, because I would have missed it. I’d want a gray’s papaya dog or pizza, or lamb with yogurt from Ali Baba. I’d have a have-to-have list and I’d cross things off. Now my to-do list consists of eyebrow threading (since I don’t know of a place in Austin that does this), a bikini wax with my Russian chick, and shopping at Pookie & Sebastian (shipping the clothes so I needn’t pay sales tax).
I feel kind of sick, like I have a fever or a headache, like I’ve been crying all day, except I haven’t. I miss my family. I miss my mother and my sister’s laugh, and neither of them are in New York. What I miss most is making salad together in the kitchen, with wine, and some music my mother loves and Lea and I can tolerate. I miss hearing Lea talk too much without a point, and telling her so. That’s who she is. And I accept her, just as she is. It’s annoying, but I live with it. It’s what I love about family, how we just at the end of the day chalk up "she’s always late," as who she is. Even if the "she" in that scenario is "me." People just know that I’ll be late to things. My family knows. They’ve stopped trying to change me. We’re all happier that way. I miss that, the way we get to have our way, each of us, as if we’ll never change, because that’s what family does. It allows you to just be who you are and have always been. People wish you might change but at the end of the day, they just deal.
I miss the way we’re the same, the three of us. We speak the same way, like the same things, and do all the wrong things exactly the same way. Lea and I are lazy and assume things will just work themselves out. If it matters, we’ll get to it sooner. It will get done. We don’t worry. We’re called irresponsible and lazy. And we just shrug our shoulders. It’s who we are. It has worked out fine so far. Until you’re in a relationship. I’ll leave that one alone today.
I want to be near my family because they just know who I am and deal with it. "That’s Stephanie; it’s just who she is, always has been." I think what I love so much about my family is no one expects anyone else to change. We just bump into each other sometimes, but overall, we all exist and are close and we love deeply. So what if Lea is a lazy, needy, pest. Big deal. So am I. My mother lets us be who we are; it’s what mothers do. Well, actually, it’s what fathers should do. Mothers teach their girls who to be. By example. By showing them how to put a napkin on their laps. Mothers can be critical of their daughters. Fathers shouldn’t be; it’s not their role. They should love unconditionally and make their daughters feel special and invincible. I’ll probably have all boys and wonder what I should be teaching them: to walk on the outside bits of street when with a girl, to stand when she excuses herself from the table… no, those are things fathers teach to their sons. I’ll need to not turn them into mamma’s boys (something far worse than the uncircumcised penis), and somehow teach them to one day ignore their parents wishes and live their own lives… much like Sleeping Beauty would have had to do, had that stranger with whom she danced in the woods not turned out to ultimately be, indeed, her said betrothed… Prince Phillip. I wonder why Disney threw that whole arranged marriage thing into that story anyway. If I have children one day, I’m going to ask them to think about this. I want some sort of an answer and can’t think of one on my own. Children are wonderful that way.