Prayers, Prunes, and Popsicles

I haven't been in the best mood the last couple of days. Sleep deprived and emotionally wrought, I honestly wish to escape in a book (one that is less of a heavy read) or resort to playing video games that were best sellers before the turn of the century. It is a way to let my mind rest and focus on something more enjoyable because, right now, I am in an encompassing state of uneasiness. Just a short while ago, I took comfort in my brother's "Serenity Prayer," which is something that he learned at the very beginning of his rehabilitation. It is commonly seen, recognized, and used, but until today--nearly five years after my brother entered rehab--I did not truly reflect upon the words myself.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Each phrase resounded within me, and, as I spoke aloud, I elaborated on each section, sharing with God my feelings, opinions, facts, observations, truths, and seemingly avoidable consequences. Though praying didn't necessarily make me feel any better--indeed, saying the words made tears run down my face for the first time today--but it was necessary.

My mother's joking was also a welcomed necessity last night. I was outwardly calm but inwardly broken from the words of a two-hour phone conversation that was unusually one-sided on my half. I had hung up the phone, taken a deep breath, and walked to the bathroom, where I turned on the light. I took off my glasses, set them on the counter. I leaned over the sink to examine my semi-puffy eyes. I shook my head, reaching for my toothbrush. From the room next door (my mother's bedroom), an enunciated voice rang out.

"Shut OFF the light!" I had left the bathroom door open, as I was not engaging in any incredibly private matter.

"Quiet, Geraldine!" I yelled back, despite the fact that my mother and I were only separated by a few inches of plaster. "It's not bothering you!" Toothpaste drooled from the corners of my mouth.

Giggling at the fact that I had deliberately called her my grandmother's name, my mother responded by explaining exactly why I was to turn the light off. "There is a glare of light on my closet door that is in my eyes. It is bright and it is bothering me. Turn it off!"

"Why?" I exclaimed loudly, spitting. "You're not going to bed yet!" I rinsed out my mouth and ran my toothbrush under the faucet.

My mother responded with gentle, expounding, sarcasm. "I’m IN bed...well, on it, really." She paused for approximately two seconds, then seriously questioned, "Is there a difference between going
to bed, being in bed, and being on the bed?

"I don’t know, is there a difference?" I was drying my face off in the hand towel.

"Prunes," she responded, not skipping a beat.

I snorted. "Prunes?"

"Yes, like Family Feud. 'What are the differences between bedtime phrases?' It's a category of its own."

I sidestepped out of the bathroom and into the doorway of her room, shouting with Richard Karn enthusiasm, “Show me....PRUNES!” I pointed angrily to an imaginary game board in the corner.

My mother exploded in laughter, but I continued.

“I’m sorry, you but cackling is not the number one difference between bedroom phrases. The top answer is...POPSICLE!”

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