Opossum Mama

I would have loved to start with a… my anger has passed, my resignation is over.  I have reached the Nirvana!  Well, I’m afraid I have to inform you that no, I have not yet arrived at the so called more “zen” stage of grief.  I continue being a sourpuss and I don’t see it going away any time soon.  But, the news is, within this grouchiness I now have a new expression:  remember when we were kids and we used to play the freeze game? Well, that is my new stage this week.  Every time I see little hand prints on the windows, every time I hear someone yelling the word Mom!, every time I see clothes or shoes laying around, every time there’s yelling or hair pulling, I just stay still, very still… without moving at all, looking at the horizon, with half-closed eyes.   I did not invent this, this is a natural reaction that awoke in me.  Some animals do this.  Opossums play dead, it’s a legit strategy to survive.   Now, in my “Covidian” free time, I learned that it’s called Thanatosis.  When threatened, some animals not only play dead, but their heart beat and breath pattern slows down and they can maintain a stiff posture for long periods of time. 

So, this 2020 Mother’s Day catches me in this weird opossum stage.  My husband, an optimist by nature… Have I told you that Juan wakes up in the mornings singing  and whistling?  Something that annoys me completely, because of course, grinches want everyone else to accompany them in their grinchness.   Anyway, he tells me that this Mother’s Day I will be pampered, I will not work at all, they will do everything and I will rest all I want.  Ok then, when do I confess I have been Googling options of hotels near my house to escape and spend the weekend completely alone this weekend?  Options where the risk of infection was lower.   Yes, you heard correctly.  I wanted that to be my Mother’s Day gift.  To be all alone, with a bottle of wine, three bags of Barcel’s Takis hot popcorn, (my favorite!), watching Downton Abbey the whole weekend,  tucked away, far, far away from my house.  How’s that for a good mother?

But, obviously, in the bottom of my heart, I knew this option was not an option.  Because one thing is to “put your mask on first” and all that modern pep talk everyone talks about all the time, and another thing is just being a plain old bitch.  So, knowing that I would not go anywhere, I accepted the offer to being pampered all day long.  I told them that except for my morning hug, they let me sleep all morning, and that I wanted to order from PF Chang’s and that yes, yes, thank you, I will happily accept to not move a finger the whole day. 

So this Mother’s Day, after watching the whole long second season of Restaurants on The Edge, I woke up lazily, I took a shower and I dressed nicely for the first time in a long time, with a long skirt and a sleeveless shirt that exposed my arms which by the way, have suffered a brutal transformation from a solid state to a gelatinous one.  So much so, that every time my daughter hugs me, she then squeezes the upper part of my arms and makes funny faces, like when you play around with those jelly like stress balls.   I can see the satisfaction on her little face. 

Then, my kids worked on the house.  One swept, one cleaned the windows, one pretended he was doing something, of course…and they alternated.   Now that I feel totally weird without doing anything, I sat at the kitchen table and in my philosophical silence, I noticed the flies.  I don’t know at what point they all got in, but there were millions of flies flying in my kitchen that day.  Huge green flies, small fruit flies, medium flies, flies, flies, flies everywhere.  I remembered a nanny we once had in Mexico that used a damp rag to kill flies.  Maybe it’s because of the quick movement that renders them unable to escape from the lethal whack, but I’m telling you, you can even kill two flies at a time with this method.  Try it, you’ll see. 

We ate PF Chang’s until we were stuffed, then we went for a long walk on the Riverwalk, to the touristic part where oddly, there are no tourists at all these days, and that brought me peace also.  At the end, who am I kidding?  I was happy I didn’t spend Mother’s Day at a hotel where I would surely have gotten Coronavirus because of my bad karma. 

That night, I confessed to Juan my macabre plans.  Because I grew up Catholic, I continue with that thing that you have to confess your sins or else…. probably that’s why I’m always “oversharing” my weird thoughts with people.   If I’m completely honest, and my husband had told  me he wanted to spend Father’s Day, his birthday, or any other day in a hotel to “rest” from us, I would have been furious with him, it would have awakened all of my demons.  But no, always cheerful, he asked me to keep in mind those hotels I had picked out and maybe soon, we could have a little getaway to one of them, just the two of us.  I smiled.  With this, he had absolved my sins.  

So now you know.  Because this “put your mask on first” is now bullshit because, today, everyone already has their masks on, the next time you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, just look at the horizon, stay very still, play dead… and if there’s a damp rag around, it might come in handy. Namaste. 

Regina Moya, day 62 of lockdown.