Family Life

I’ve never been sad about Fiona’s hearing loss until now. I see how she thrives with her hearing aids. How conscious she is about them and the difference between the two worlds she lives in, hearing and non-hearing. We take an afternoon walk down by Target, along the bay with Billy. It’s windy, so I don’t put on Fiona’s hearing aids. We finish our walk and head to Target. I have to pee so we go into the bathroom, it’s nice and big, the double stroller fits. It even has a diaper changing station. I take out Fiona’s hearing aids from my backpack. She looks at the little silver box and her blue striped hat. She lets me put on her hearing aids, and doesn’t try to pull them off. I say, “OOO, Ahhh, MMMM, Shhhh, SSSSS, Hi Fiona! Can you hear me?” She smiles and says, “Ahhh.” And a few other cute noises. I go pee, “I’m flushing the toilet now.” I tell them. They have it all here, food, baby stuff, cute workout clothes, it’s dangerous! I give Fiona a box of crayons to hold, I hand them each sippy cups with bunny ears. I feed them their dinner,  a Happy Baby food pouch, “The Gobbler” and let them taste chocolate milk for the first time. At the cashier I put everything on the belt except the crayons, Fiona does not want to let them go. “Just for a minute baby.” I tell her. The cashier scans them super-fast and I hand them back to Fiona. She smiles, “Are you happy Baby?” I ask. She laughs.  When I get back to my car there is a caravan parked next to me. An old pickup truck with a Texas license plate with old motorcycles and bikes in the back. Attached to the Truck is an old ratty tatty trailer filled with crap. There is a tall man with a long sweatshirt and beard, smoking a cig and talking loud enough so I can hear him. His voice is raspy, “I think that toys broken.” He says to his sons, who both have super blond hair and look between four and six years old. They roll around a yellow plastic truck. I want to take a picture of them but I know that’s rude and invasive. I know they’re tweakers. I imagine what kind of life events have brought them to this place. I wonder if the kids will grow up and be tweakers too. I’m also scared, I know it sounds crazy, but I know the tweaker mentality. There are so many scams they could try and pull. I even wonder if those boys are really theirs. I only saw the back of the moms head in the cab, I imagine she’s doing a line while he’s watching the kids play in the parking lot. I go between wanting to just be a peaceful human and think the best in everybody to wanting to get trained to shoot and buying a hand gun for protection. I want to take some road trips with the babies, but I think I want to have protection. I’m at least signing up for a self-defense class.  We get home and I keep Fiona’s hearing aids on through the rest of the night, even bath time. When I go to take them off, I make sure to get eye contact. “I’m taking  off your hearing aids now, I love you very much. You’re such a good baby.” I say and give her a big hug. lying deep, in warm rose petal bathwater I’m thinking about my Grand Aunt Betty who recently died. I found out tonight through Facebook.  I haven’t seen her for many years. I recently got her phone number and was going to call her. I start to think about my grandma Jean, Betty’s sister, and my Great Grandma Ruth, their mom. They were so close. It felt like Betty came over to visit every day. The thing I remember most about Betty was her voice and the way she talked with her strong New England accent, her eyes and facial expressions. She also seemed the least damaged to me, the happiest and the most sophisticated. Sitting at the kitchen table my forearms stuck to the vinyl table cloth, it made me sweat. “Jen, have some tea and soup, sit down with us.” My grandma says. There was always a pot of tea, a pot of soup, a bowl of salad, and a loaf of bread at lunch time. The pot of soup was added to indefinitely, it sat on the stove and could be heated up anytime someone passed through. I can’t remember what kind of soup it was. The salad bowl was the same. After every lunch or dinner my grandma would add more vegetables to the bowl and cover it with Saran Wrap, then put it back in the fridge. I loved being with them and was bored at the same time, I had to learn patience, I was young. They would tell stories, talk about eye appointments and cataracts, and just spend time together. It was the only time I was with women from multiple generations in my family. My great Grandma was blind, she would pat the table, sometimes humming a tune.  I would reach over and touch her hand, her skin was so soft and thin. I wish someone was still alive. If only I could have one more conversation with any of my deceased female ancestors. Now that I’m a mom. If only I could examine their traditions one more time, hear the stories, smell my grandmas kitchen. I need an elder and everyone’s gone now.

3 thoughts on “Family Life”

  1. The story about Fiona and her hearing aids is so sweet! It is how I started my day and it was perfect.

    I’ll bet your elders are with you in lots of ways in the way you do things with your kids. I know it’s not the same though.

    Is a tweaker a word for a drug user?

    Like

  2. Thank you! And yes “tweaker” is a name for a certain type and style of drug user. The drug is crystal meth, speed, there’s other names too. It messes up the mind bad, habits that go aling with the tweaker lifestyle are hording crappy stuff. I feel bad for them. I can talk about it because I was one when i was younger.

    Liked by 1 person

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