Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ruminating on Rita-isms

My mom liked a good frenzy. She collected stuff. Rita just loved STUFF. And she HAD to have whatever it was she was obsessing about. The hottest "IT" toy of the holiday season for kids she didn't have or kids who were too old for Tickle Me Elmo. Madame Alexander dolls, baseball cards, other sport cards, VHS tapes of movies, you name it. And she got crazy about whatever it is she was looking for, going to any lengths necessary. She didn't have the internet when she was at her peak of obsessions. Had she had that kind of access, she would've been lethal with a credit card.

But part of it was just the thrill of the chase. What does that mean and how do I know this? Well, it means there is nothing like the high of having gone to five different Marshalls all over northern Jersey only to walk into that last one, ten miles away, in rush hour with your 4 year old in tow and quickly scanning their large shoe section for the red boots you've been stalking for two weeks. Boots that don't even seem to exist on the Internet outside of a country where the language is in symbols vs letters. Then, laying eyes on what could possibly be them, pulling said 4 year old's arm as you break into a run, seeing it IS really them, tearing open the last three boxes in existence to discover there is ONE PAIR IN YOUR SIZE. There is nothing like that moment when you and the kid are high-fiving over open boxes of Franco Sarto boots strewn on the floor. How do I know this? I got the "Frenzy" thing from my mother. And I would be fairly certain that my son has it too. Because his face was priceless when we found those boots. "MOMMY, YOU ARE SO HAPPY!". Granted, he'd been with me on the quest for them in pretty much every discount brand name store in Bergen and Passaic counties so he did have a vested interest. He had just said in Saks Off Fifth- "It's okay Mama, don't give up....". We didn't. We couldn't. The thrill of the chase is in our blood.

It's September, which means "Deathiversary" is looming...and I just didn't feel like waiting to write something. It's funny, I'm pretty much the least private person out there. I'll talk about any typically taboo topics from money to getting a Brazilian. But I don't really want to talk about missing my mother. I don't really know why. I'm not even going to go too deep here...I just felt inspired to say something after the boot thing happened. I know people, especially those who consider themselves religious or spiritual, talk about how they feel their loved ones around all the time, feel signs, etc. I don't necessarily feel that. Signs or spiritual. But I guess there ARE certain times I feel like my mother had a hand in something going on around me. When I saw that box with my size on it, I immediately thought of her and pictured how she'd be laughing at the whole scene with that proud look she got whenever I persevered and "won" in the end of anything. Not typical parent pride moments, like making a great sport play or becoming a valedictorian. But stuff like getting what I want even when the deck is stacked higher than the Empire State building against me. Sure this is just something frivolous like footwear, but my mom was kind of frivolous. She would totally be psyched about something on the same level. If there was ever a time I felt she was with me, it was when I found those boots.

I think of her a lot and how she would've loved my kid. I watch Dancing With the Stars because she loved it. I like to watch and predict who she would've been rooting for and who she'd have a bug up her ass to be sent home because she perceived their ability prior to the show too good to be fair. I watch new shows thinking how she'd love certain things and how they'd be her new Gossip Girl. Maybe I'm thinking of her more now, or in September more all the time, not because the date of her death and her birthday are coming but because it's always the start of the fall TV season. No one loved TV more than Rita. She was programming her DVR, other people's DVR's, and if I'm not mistaken, she still had some VHS going on too. I take after her in that too....I've never met a tv I didn't like. I turn it on as soon as I walk in the house.

I've also been having some incredibly late nights recently for no other reason but getting caught up watching tv. A few nights ago I ended up until 3am-ish watching Pitch Perfect for the 25th time. That one would have been a favorite of hers for SURE. I was imagining her sitting at the dining room table, 3am, joyfully watching and doing whatever else she was doing at that hour. Maybe eating Snackwells the way I eat Jelly Belly?

One night last week, I'd been in and out of the bed. I'd nodded off around midnight or an hour after but woke up around three o'clock in the morning because I still had the lights on and probably the television. I get a second wind around then and I decided it would be an awesome time to make E's lunch and do a load of laundry. I'm back at work full time now so I was gleeful at all I was getting done before I had to get up and start the day. While I was doing laundry I thought I could also save time if I put my work-out clothes on and just slept in them. I came back upstairs, B woke up, looked at me, and in an exasperated voice asked what I was doing and why I left the room hours ago in one outfit and came back in my workout gear. I just said not to worry about it. Too much to explain my thought process in the middle of the night. But he decided to tell this story to someone a few days later, describing what did sound kind of like a lunatic and all I could do is laugh. Laugh because I just thought of my mom and her all hours of the night antics.

Rita still has a Facebook page and people write on it to her. I guess if there is an afterlife, she might be on FB playing whatever is the game du jour. But I don't want to write there. Again, I don't know why. I suppose it's because I know she isn't really reading it so I don't feel a point or a connection there. It's fine that people do, it's just not my thing. On my own blog though, where I am connected, I just wanted to publicly reminisce about the funny and endearing Rita memories that stick because I see these parts of her in my and/or my son. E and I can laugh at everything and nothing and get into such a fit of giggles that won't quit. It makes me smile on the inside when I realize where that came from. My mom always enjoyed my writing immensely, so the best way I can think to honor her memory is to write something specifically honoring her.


  1. Very nice Tara. Rita is missed so much, she was always smiling and used to make me laugh as she was so honest and wouldn't bite her tongue on many things. Thank you for sharing :-)

  2. Thanks D- that means a lot. :-)