Pss. 109:15 “Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.”
It has been an interesting ride into an epiphany or intuitive insight into the essential meaning of something. In this case, I know why I’m here in Nebraska!
As a kid growing up, my mother and I were the best of friends. We share a birthday so I was considered special from day one AND the fact that that I was the baby helped that position along.
Living in the city without a car left us shopping in the locality best known to unknowns as Light Street. No seriously, that was and still is the name of the street lined with shops and stores. As we would walk past the glass lined buildings with the picture window shops and apparel, my mother would always reminisce of what that store was many years ago; it was a quite nostalgic trip on weekends for my mother and I.
We’d often go into Epsteins, (locals pronounced it Ep-stines while non-locals called it Ep-steens). Epsteins was like an old day version (only smaller) of WalMart. They sold everything from clothes to curtains, carpets to furniture, vacuums to hardware; Epsteins was the weekend hubbub of Light Street. We’d pass jewelry stores, a fish store that sold bunnies in their front window, the more expensive clothes stores for men, shoe stores, café’s and diners.
We’d often (and I do mean often) go to George’s Lunch where they had orange padded booths and a few tables lining one side of the wall and the streaming aroma of the grilled onions and Coney Island hamburgers, steamers for buns and hot dogs along with fresh baked pies where slices sat perched in front of a mirrored shelf! Their specialty was a rice pudding with a cream on top with a dash of cinnamon that I would get every single visit!
I loved the old time look of the place with the individual spinning stools that separated the cooking being done, the waitresses and the small aisle where the booths sat always filled with hungry patrons. Often we’d have to wait for a seat because the place was the highlight of Light Street and everyone just loved the food.
In the summer months, I would always meet my mother for lunch and George’s is often where we’d dine. Sometimes we’d head to Polock Johnny’s or The White Coffee Pot but there we were off doing stuff together.
My sister and brothers resented my closeness with my mother always claiming that she gave me everything. I won’t deny it, she DID! She gave me anything and EVERYTHING I ever wanted. BUT, to clarify, I did everything FOR my mother. Whether it was cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, painting or hanging wallpaper, I was an actual participant not an observer feeling neglected like the rest of my siblings.
The way I see it, it went both ways. She didn’t give me everything because I asked for it, she gave everything to me as an appreciative act for all I did for her. There IS a difference.
As years would pass I was now dragging my (ex) husband into the mix and had him doing all sorts of handyman work for my mother and father. I lived next door to my mother in my grandfather’s rental house for thirteen years. When the rental house was sold, my parents sold THEIR house to move right around the corner from where I had moved.
They just wanted to be close to me and near to my son. I surely didn’t mind because they were basically my best friends at this point. We continued with taking mother shopping on weekends, I always cleaned her house, and she was always giving me soup, spaghetti and whatnot.
I was close to my siblings too, helping my sister out with her six kids; when she went away I would clean her house spic-n-span! My brother would invite me to his house, much to the chagrin of my sister who was now HIS neighbor.
My sister and brothers all longed for the relationship I had with my parents but none of them were willing to put any effort into the rapport. No, they just wanted my parents to show THEM attention but as always, I was the only one who received the attention they longed for.
Then I left Baltimore and all of my family behind. Quite suddenly I might add. A two-week notice and I was well on my way to happiness. My sister invited Steven and I to dinner the night before we left for Texas and she invited my brothers but no one showed up. My mother and father did!
With me gone, they could have my parents all to themselves but no, that wasn’t the case. Weeks would pass before my sister ever called my mother and often it was my father who called and told HER to call my mother sometime. The only time they showed ANY attention to my parents was when my mother would tell them over and over again how “Joni calls me every night and twice a day on weekends!” It irked them into caring!
Back to the epiphany I began with, the why I am here and not there? It was not meant for me to be there. My siblings had to step up and actually DO something for my mother and father. When my father was in the hospital I literally had to goad my one brother into going to see my dad before he died.
Had I been back there, they might have seen too much love for me and not enough attention focused on them, they needed that. My sister is now calling my mother every day, taking her out of the house, inviting her to dinner, taking her to the doctor, you name it; my sister is now sitting at a diner (not the same one that me and mother frequented) and is now being given the attention that she needed all those years; the attention that both of them needed.
My brothers are paying attention, my sister is paying attention and it sure is sad that it took my father to die for them to notice that time on this earth is not guaranteed it is precious! With me out of the way, they can now focus on what needs to be done and that is to give my mother the attention she so richly deserves!
Pss. 145:7 “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.”