Yes, she got married.  And it was wonderful, almost perfect, in fact.  The one dull note was the groom's father, in bad health, with cancer, compounded by a reaction to the chemo that put him in the hospital where he got a staph infection.  He checked himself out of the hospital the day before the wedding, and was there, smiling and happy and looking like shit, in a wheelchair, at the wedding.  During the reception, he collapsed and the paramedics took him back to the hospital.  Very sad.  

But as I said to Diana, "is it worth living a couple of weeks longer if you miss your son's wedding?  I would have done just what he did?  After all, what are you living for, anyway?..."

We lit a candle for my first wife, my daughter's mother, so she was there in spirit. It's hard to realize that she has been dead nearly 16 years.

Diana's first response after landing in California, her first trip home in 9 months, was "there's so much concrete here!"  I was struck again by how wide the roads are--even in residential areas, the roads are four or five lanes wide.  The road we are living on now is about a lane and a half wide, it seems.  It was a dirt road a couple of decades ago.

The trees are turning here.  I can hardly wait.  But a late very muggy couple of weeks has slowed the process.  Finally the turgid air left today and we got some of the crispness I remember, before it started to rain.  I'm actually ready for fall, although not looking forward to winter...

So, what's the title about?  I saw it on a license plate the other day, and it instantly blew me back about 25 years.  My first wife was into making granola, but my son didn't like the nuts she put in it.  So she started making a special batch for him, and calling it "SNG" (for "Son's Nutless Granola"  (instead of S, we used the first letter of his name)).  One day, she made a batch and forgot to make any SNG.  He was just learning to read and write, and often got up earlier than we did, so we left a note: "We are sorry, but we didn't make any SNG.  Have some regular granola and pick the nuts out."  When we came down the next morning, he had written us a note in his childish block letters: "DONT WORRY MOMMA.  I LIKE NUTS NOW."  We were delighted, of course, until a later conversation revealed that he really didn't like nuts after all.  He said "Well, I don't like nuts, but I didn't want you to worry, momma."

Don't worry, momma.  In later years, I've come to see the same thing operating in me (and that's where he got it, at such an early age).  Don't express my own wants, needs, likes and dislikes, if it might "worry" the woman in my life.  Lie to others, lie to myself, even, about what I really want, and expecially how I really feel.  And especially if I don't feel good about something.  Stuff the emotion, make nice, and for God's sake don't worry, momma!

Conditional love.  I was loved if I didn't worry my mother.  Even more, since she was by nature not a warm person, I was loved only if I dazzled her with my intellect, and didn't "cause any trouble".  I'm dealing with an employee with very low self esteem.  And I see the same pattern, minus the work I've done on this issue in the last decade.  How sad that a kid should have to prove themselves worthy of love.  How crippling.  I suppose I'll always walk with a bit of an emotional limp as a result of this, kind of like the Chinese women who had their feet bound as children.  I had my feelings bound as a childs.  And the courage needed to step out emotionally (not even to think of dancing emotionally) is at times far out of me reach.  I can do it, but I'm looking over my shoulder, reminding myself that I'm an adult now, that momma has been dead for three decades, and that the most important person I can love is myself.  And I venture forth with little mincing emotional steps, fearing that I'll fall.  But if I do, "don't worry, momma".  

As a trainer and friend said, "hearts were made to be broken".  The fear of venturing forth is worse than most things that can happen to the venturer.  And the rewards...  Ah, the rewards!

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2002 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.