Two People, One Heart
I found my 12 year-old daughter lying on her bedroom floor, unconscious, and my heart stopped beating!
As her dad and I attempted to revive her, seconds felt like days as panic and fear battled for space in my head.
No, death can not be this cruel and brutal by taking the only person who is responsible for the rhythmic sensations that I feel each morning when I awake to see her sunny disposition or hear her intellectual curiosities.
Secretly, although I feign busyness or mild interest, I look forward to her mischievous antics and adult-sized inquiries!
No, death can not give me excruciating pain and crushing grief by snatching the only person who is my “heart throb” and the one who sends me to the celestial sky each evening as she gently and sweetly kisses me goodnight and ensures that I am tucked securely and comfortably into my bed.
Hey, shouldn’t that be the other way around?
No, death can not steal the only person who I permit to tell me innumerous corny jokes and who entertains me with boring monologues each afternoon. Shhh! Hopefully, she won’t ever discover the secret to my infectious laughter. I just tickle my “funny bone” so that a hearty laugh replaces the make believe ones!
I promise, God, that I will never ever complain again about these monotonous rituals!
No, death can not sweep away my opportunity to see her dad escort her to the senior prom. For years, it has been Mantha’s ardent dream, Mantha’s ardent wish, and Mantha’s ardent desire to save that honor for her dad. Despite my motherly protests and insistence that she should consider taking someone more age appropriate or invite the young man who will be her first love, she lovingly replies to me that her dad is her first love.
Without a hint of shame, she knows that her dad will be 76.5 years-old by that time yet she relishes the fact that it will be a joyous occasion to “rock and roll” with him even if he’s confined to a wheel chair!
As a rebuttal, I tenderly reminded Mantha of the possibilities that her dad may be dead and again she should reconsider her long-standing invitation to him. She quipped, “Then, I’ll take dad’s ashes!”
No, death can not yank away the daily hullabaloo that’s created when I enter her ransacked room and discover candy wrappers; molded food; dirty dishes; half-eaten snack containers; empty soda bottles; clean clothes mixed with dirty ones; trash hidden under her bed; a failed attempt to make-up her bed; McDonald’s Happy Meal toys; last Christmas’ dolls; ten books which are stuffed under her pillows that she swears she is simultaneously reading; a propped Lap Top computer and I-Pad each displaying the latest teen sensation and gossip; her dad’s I-Phone which is programmed to the Disney contest hotline; outdated issues of Archie and Veronica magazines; a month’s worth of dust, strewn shoes and toiletries, a flat-screen television that is blaring some teenage lunacy; a couple of dead (yuck) roaches; perched by her faithful Miniature Schnauzer, Tuesday, who is quietly enjoying the mayhem while attentively listening to another mother-daughter scream fest.
Is she 18, yet?
No, death can not deprive me from the innumerable pinkie promises Mantha made with me after each school, church, or community theatrical plays and performances. Perhaps its fantasy, but Mantha vows that someday soon a talent scout will discover her creative acting, singing, dancing, modeling abilities, and her effervescent personality. Similar to the Beverly Hillbillies, she predicts that we will be headed to Hollywood where we will meet fame and fortune.
As the mother of a newly-minted movie star, will I still be allowed to shop at Goodwill and Salvation Army?
No, death must not snatch my champion cheer leader, my vociferous civil rights warrior, and my courageous heroine who always demonstrates the spunk of Fannie Lou Hamer, the keenness of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, the finesse of Nancy Wilson, the beauty of Halle Berry, the fortitude of Harriet Tubman, the oratorical skills of Ida B. Wells Barnett, and the scholarly aptitude of Mary McLeod Bethune.
Mantha, words can not express the depths of my pride and joy in having you present at each of my speaking or training engagements. Like the conductor of an orchestra, I marvel at your confidence when you lead the audience in rewarding me with standing ovations.
Without fear, I am astounded by how you expertly mingle and network with dignitaries to secure additional opportunities for me. You also leave me speechless as you rally the audience’s enthusiasm with a chorus of your contagious laughter, amens, or other fire-brand responses.
Next, I am amazed by your level of sophistication and professionalism when you engage each decision maker with reasons why they should secure your mom’s services. Finally, I just love how you softly and humorously chide any of my competitors away. (smile)
Similarly to how Tom Cruise demonstrated his joy for Katie Holmes by jumping on Oprah’s yellow coach, I screamed “thankfulness” upon seeing that the “bain of my existence” was miraculously still alive.
As sung by Willie Nelson:
“Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl, I’m sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind.”
Mantha, not only are you always on my mind—you are always in my heart!