Some Days Your Bucket Is Cracked

So a Good Neighbour excitedly stopped me on the street the other day with some pretty cool news. I was happy to hear it. Thanked her for the info. Felt pretty good about it. Told a couple of the kids. Mentally crossed that one off the Bucket List. And then promptly got busy and forgot all about it. (Seriously, completely forgot about it.)

Over the weekend, my sister and her kids came over to help me and my girls start the clean out of my mom’s apartment downstairs. Mom’s become increasingly forgetful the past few months. It’s harder for her to clean up and move things around. I’ve pulled the fuse on her stove. She hasn’t been taking her meds. I’m starting to worry about her cat not being fed regularly. And she has a very long-standing and committed relationship with Publisher’s Clearinghouse. (Suddenly, the ‘clearinghouse’ part makes sense…) Before the PackRat becomes a Hoarder, we need to attack this.

Just clearing the clutter and numerous fitness gadgets made a big difference. A good kitchen wipe down and thorough vacuuming was welcomed and appreciated. But it was the boxes of books going out the door that made the biggest difference.

Mom is a reader. And a fast one. Too fast, perhaps, so that now she’ll start a book thinking it seems familiar, only to realize halfway through that she’s already read it. She’s devised a little system to help her out: she takes her brown felt tip pen and marks three ticks across the bottom edge of the pages when she’s done. Now when she sees the brown ticks on the book, she moves on. The last time I took her to the hospital for her regular blood transfusion, I found myself browsing through the clinic’s library, and wasn’t surprised to find three ticks on the bottom of virtually every book they had.

Watching the boxes of ticked books moving out to my sister’s car, I promised Mom I’d take her to the library regularly. As the doctor recently made me take her car keys, she’s not trusting me to keep my word.

Mom Getting a Library Card at Hamilton Public Library

Mom Gets A Library Card

And so on our travels today, with an hour to kill between appointments, we stopped at the library. Mom got herself a new library card, and I snapped a pic.

And that’s when I saw it.  With my own eyes – as well as my Good Neighbour’s!

I am not a selfie kind of girl. But this. This demands at least a moment of self recognition!


I mean, seriously. That’s my book! In the Hamilton Public Library! Right there! On the shelf!

I stood there stupidly for a while, not sure what I should do. Am I supposed to tell someone? Should I show anyone my picture on the back page?

Should I sign it?

I decided that the only thing to do was to show my mom. She was excited when I gave her a signed copy of it. And she was perfectly critical when she read it. But now it’s in the library! And I get to share one of my proudest moments with my biggest cheerleader!

Annoyed that I kept trying to get her attention and drag her this way, instead of over to the Large Print shelf, or the James Patterson Section, she finally followed me back to my shelf.

I pointed proudly. Look!

She looked, not knowing what I was pointing at. So I took my book from the shelf – the brand new copy, freshly labelled and stamped, Feb08 2017 – and handed it to her.

“I think I read this one already,” she says. And then she looks at the bottom. And there’s no tick marks. “Maybe not.” And she puts it back. And heads over to the ‘P’ shelf behind me.

There’s good days and there are bad days. And then there’s shitty days.

There was the day I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, but learned that she has Down syndrome.

There was the day that my husband died, on the eighth anniversary of our ‘Family Day,’ the day we adopted three-fifths of our kids.

And there was the day that I saw my own book on the library shelf, but realized that I was losing my mom.

I don’t care how full the glass is. If it’s cracked and leaking, it’s a shitty glass.

I have three shitty glasses on my shelf.