“We’ve been married… wow! It’ll be 30 years this June. Poor Nanna.”
“Nanna” means dad in my mother-tongue. My mother is speaking.
“I used to think ‘poor me.’ Now I only think ‘poor Nanna.'”
If in five sentences I could summarize the necessary climate for a healthy marriage, it would be these five little but significant pearls that have just dropped out of my mother’s mouth.
I feel lucky– not just because of the business potential to monetize on a mother who issues pearls from an orifice that most people only talk and eat with– but because most mothers and most father and most spouses never figure out what my parents did. And the secret to marriage that they discovered is this:
Every day you thank your lucky stars that there is someone who is still willing to put up with your shit.
Anything on top of that– cute, funny, smart– is just sprinkles on the sundae. And if you got really lucky, if you managed to find someone who cares about you and tries to care about you better today than he tried and cared yesterday, weep with gratitude.
No need to be shy. We’re all friends here.
Someone how I have managed to get myself a man not only handsome, witty, intelligent and sweeter than cotton candy, but one who is also willing to wake up to me every goddamn morning and come home to me every goddamn night. I’m drowning in sprinkles.
Oh baby, I weep. Like a baby, I weep.
Maybe it’s just me, but after years of not being able to turn up the music loud enough to drown out my arguing parents, now with my parents here for the holidays, dropping little pearls of sweet kindness about each other all over the sparse square footage of our tiny Manhattan apartment, how could you not believe in miracles?
Pearls. Out of the mouth of a woman. Tell me you don’t believe in miracles.
After twenty-some years of “poor me” my parents somehow learned “poor you.” Turns out old dogs can learn new tricks and old people can learn new ways of life.
You’re not that old, Mom. It’s a literary device. It’s called parallelism. It means you say the same thing twice because it sounds good. My friends still think you’re thirty.
And you know, pearls aren’t that immediately recognizable. I don’t know too much about this, but I’m pretty sure they come locked up in clams and you have to open a lot average-looking clams to get to a pearl. Even then they look only so-so until you polish and spiff them up.
And we, in our clumsy humanness, offer our pearls of kindness clamped between mistakes.
But we try. My parents try. And they do a whole lot better now that they have silenced the chorus of “poor me” in their heads.