Oh, Mom. I wish you could see me now. Finally making an effort to stick with writing. Finally trying to make my passion a career, a reality. No longer living in the fairytale of becoming some world-renowned A-list multi-millionaire author. Dad bought me a tablet for Christmas and it came today, so I’m busy making sure everything I need to write that perfect first novel is on it. He even bought one for himself! Never thought we’d see the day Dad tried to use technology. (Sorry, Dad!)
Teaching him how to use it brought me back to the times when I taught you. We had our first desktop computer about 15 years ago. That big, bulky white thing (which in retrospect was so heavy it could have been used as a murder weapon) and we had that horrible NetZero dial-up. Gosh, how excited I used to get to see that flashing white envelope signaling a new e-mail. (Pretty sure we still called them “letters.”)
I put the Post-Its on the power keys for you so you’d know which ones to press to turn them on. Who would’ve thought ten or 12 years later you’d be using a laptop??? That took some getting used to, I know. I tried to help as best I could. If I ever seemed frustrated when you asked me a question, it wasn’t because of you. I wasn’t frustrated that you were asking questions. I’m the last person to get mad at someone for asking questions because I pretty much base my entire existence off asking questions! My frustration was because I was on the other end of the phone, usually driving home from work or sitting in my office and trying to figure out how I could help you, wishing I could be there to figure out what the problem was, and trying to think of the best way to explain it to you without making you feel dumb. I never wanted to make you feel dumb.
You had so many problems with that computer toward the end. You were always asking me for help, and I just didn’t know how to help you. You wanted your new printer set up– the printer that I helped you pick out online. I wanted to do it. But every time I came over we would get caught up talking. It never got done. It still hasn’t been done, even though Dad has asked me. Of course I’m always busy, only able to stop by for an hour or so at a time.
And that’s where my frustration is. Frustration at the fact that I don’t have time to help those that mean the most to me. That when I do have time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have time. It’s realizing that everyone’s life doesn’t revolve around my schedule, and that sometimes I just need to shift things around or give up me time to help those that need me. I’ve learned. There were plenty of times, especially in your final few weeks, where I had time but you weren’t feeling well. I was frustrated. Not really with you– I understood that you didn’t feel well– but I was frustrated because all I wanted to do was see you. All I wanted to do was hug you. Play with your hair. I was frustrated because you weren’t feeling well and I just wanted you to be better. I wanted you to be okay.
I guess, in the end, you were okay. At least, you are now. That’s what I like to believe. But I think it’s true. I think that wherever you are, you’re finally out of pain and you’re happy.
But here’s my vow: I will make time. I will do what needs to be done to help people when they need me. It’s so easy to take people for granted. It’s so easy to pretend they will always be there. Have you ever noticed that, generally speaking, when it comes to family and best friends we’ve known for years, we tend to slack off a little in our friendship/relationship with them? We tend to maybe not give as much as we used to, whether it be time, affection, whatever. But, when a friend that we’re close to but not necessarily “locked in” to comes along and needs something, we seem to bend backwards for them as far as we can. Why is that? Perhaps because when it comes to family and lifelong friends, we are a bit TOO comfortable. We know they aren’t going anywhere. We know they’ll always be around no matter what (I mean, unless we kill their puppy or something… That might change things.) But with them, it’s nothing a simple “Sorry, I was so busy!” can’t fix.
And that’s not fair. It’s not fair to anyone involved. One day, you will wish you’d made time. I know I do.
Another vow: I’ll hook up that godforsaken printer if it’s the last thing I do.