Actually, it IS Rocket Science

Voice of unreason

I have a tendency to make unruly assumptions about highly… … …ruly things.  Like how I realized once around 5 years old that I had failed to return a copy of Harold and The Purple Crayon to the North Philadelphia Public Library on time that I was without a doubt going to jail as soon as they tracked me down (which they were no doubt doing on a scale comparable of a manhunt which one could relate to that of  the movie The Fugitive).  Or how I thought that by taking your hands off the wheel of a car you were driving meant immediate death (you guys, my mom tortured me on that one.  I should really donate a blog entry to that alone just to get her back).  Or the time I found a spot on my thigh that was absolutely, certainly cancer which I estimated gave myself two months to live before ever getting it checked out.

Oh wait, I didn’t discuss that part yet? I prepare myself for the worst-case scenario.  Always.  By my twisted logic, by doing so I can’t be let down.  If you start from rock bottom, there is no “downhill from there.”  Get it?  Brilliant.

The only drawbacks are the ulcers and constant indigestion.

One time, around 7, my granddad underwent a relatively minor surgery when I overheard my mom and aunt talking about the bill, only I didn’t pick up on the fact that they were talking about said bill.  My aunt took a look at the paperwork, looked over at my mom, and begrudgingly admitted, “Oh man, Dad’s gonna die.”

This is how fast my brain shuffles through Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief and loss:  within 5 seconds I was fully ready to get my family through the loss of their father.  I didn’t want to believe that I was losing a grandfather to outpatient surgery, but I was so fired up about it that I was sure I was going to single-handedly keep this family from falling apart.  I’d deal with bargaining and depression later.  It was time to be strong and take up the family ax.  Because there’s a time of change, and when that comes, dying is a piece of all dyin’, and bearin’ is a piece of all bearin’, an’ bearin’ an’ dyin’ is two pieces of the same thing. An’ then things ain’t so lonely anymore. An’ then a hurt don’t hurt so bad.

And then someone rolls their eyes at the terrible Steinbeck reference.

My brain coarsely evaluated the statement my aunt had just made.  “Dad’s gonna die.”  Did you catch that??  GONNA.  Meaning it hadn’t happened yet!  There was still a shot at redemption and miraculous recovery!   We still had a chance of saving the family patriarch.  Was it too late to pound on his chest and loudly will him to live, dammit?  Because that shit totally works.  I’m pretty sure I saw it on L.A. Law once and maybeeeeee a MacGyver here and there. America.

I interjected and in my most somber yet courageous effort became the rock I needed to be for my soon-to-be-orphaned family members.  And I could do this.  I was doing this.  This is being done.  By me.  This was the mantra I used to tell myself before I realized how stupid it is (side note:  I actually still use it quite frequently.  It’s my own personal Rocky theme, and shit works, yo).

I physically pushed myself directly in front of my family and said in my “strong voice” (the voice you use to tell a stranger you will NOT go with them) “Now, wait.  Just hold on.  We don’t know that for certain yet.  He might make it through.  We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Can you just stop for a moment and imagine your 7-year-old daughter trying desperately to be the voice of reason in a convoluted world?  Wait.  A 7-year-old daughter who has gotten her best phrases from primetime 80’s drama series?

The outcome, which I suspected would range anywhere from changes of heart and shielded tears of a new hope, surprised me.  I didn’t get the dramatic outpouring of emotional breakdown I was expecting.  Instead I got two women who immediately stopped what they were doing and looked down over at me with a look of absolute surprise and startled silence.

And then they began laughing.

Am I seeing a pattern here?

My mom immediately kneeled down so we were facing each other on the same playing field.  She pushed my hair back behind my ear (total mom thing to do.  But I still love it) and said gently:

“Aaaashlin.  Grandaddy’s not going to actually die.  I’m so sorry you thought that.   We’re speaking figuratively.  He’s going to ‘die’ when he sees the bill.  …Because Grandaddy hates money.”

Which was when I felt like a completely stupid dipshit.  Because I was ready to quit school and work full time to support this family, however necessary.  And now I realized I had magnified the issue to a disproportionate scale.

But to her credit, I think my mom saw my look of dejected sadness and proceeded to note:

“Geez.  You really thought Grandaddy was going to die??  You really handled that well.  I’m proud of you.”

Which was when I realized that I could do this.  I was doing this.  This had been done.  By me.

So there.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Sula says:

    I love the your 7-year-old fierce-heart and brave intentions! You did good!

    You were a serious one, though…I totally remember the upset tummy-syndrome on any given morning before school…No telling what evil, disasterrous scenarios were lurking outside your front door! Poor baby….

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: