Sunday, August 4, 2013

Family Felonies: How Mom and I stole God.

Of all the things that I had planned to do this weekend, stealing God was not really an option. 

"How'd the weekend go?" I stopped by my parents' house to check on my father and was met with half-hearted questioning. The naturally inobtrusive chap that my father is would have taken a "fine" or a "swell" reply and been content with it.
"I think I comitted a felony," I said, scrunching up my eyes and appraised his most recent soduko puzzle.
He didn't look up. "uhh huh," he mumbled and kept on with his puzzle.
"With Mom."
He sketched in a six and evicted a nearby three.
"We stole God." I tapped at his unfinished square and he swatted my hand.
He sighed a bit, still working his brain over the puzzle. "Probably only a misdemeanor," he said.
What a way to cheapen a mother/daughter bonding moment.
 I have avoided my home town for eight years. There have been a few times where I grazed the outer edges but for the most part I've stayed away. There isn't a long, drawn-out reason for my absence, there's just been no real reason to journey back. It's not the town I was raised in. It's cleaner and fresher with new paint and everything. There are more wineries and tasting rooms than Starbucks in Seattle.
I was born and raised in Apple Country.
But four months ago, my childhood home burnt to the ground. I felt I needed to revisit.

The yard and all of its memories had vanished into the cracks of time and withered and died with the fire. There was nothing left of my childhood home. If it weren't for my darling son who followed me around the property saying, "are you gonna cry? Are you crying yet? Doesn't this make you wanna cry?" I would have been crying.
Everything seemed so small. The yard was tiny. The garden space was tiny. But the view. THAT was still miraculous.
Among the debris and ashes and destroyed flotsam I prepared for my final parting sighs. A rock caught my eye.
"Oh my God."

It was god. It was my father's unfinished sculpture from sometime in the eighties. It had plagued the garden and taunted with his partialness. The phantom of the garden. The unfinished god (btw, god has a semi-handlebar mustache not unlike my father's own).
I knew what I had to do.
That evening, over coffee and chats with my mother, I let it slip. Well, not even.
"I went by the old house, Mom." I said non-chalantly, "I saw God."
Without a breath, my mother turned to me. "I saw him, too. Let's steal him."
What transpired was nothing greater than amateur.
In the early morning sun, I pulled up to the house--or charred crater--and walked casually into the yard. Nobody was around. My son followed and carried a large pink towel and sang, "you're going to jail!"
I felt like the model/burglars in The Great Muppet Caper, except I was wearing a skirt and flip/flops and had a child dangling from my waist threatening to sell-out his own mutha. Pretty close, anyhow.
I skipped across the lawn (which somehow got much smaller) with the grace and agility of Miss Piggy sans Frank Oz. Once arriving at God I deflty flung the towel over him and whisked him from the premises.
But first I had to damned-near throw my back out while heaving the stoic bastard. Apparently, my father had taken it upon himself to apply Hemmingway's "Iceberg Theory" to art in its many manifestations. I centered myself over the unfinished effigy and--
::Thud:: He flopped over. Onto his face. I tried to drag him, waddling him across the yellowed lawn on his face. Bits of dirt filled his one nostril.
My son looked down at his sweaty, breathless mother. "Wow. You're not so good at this, are you?"
I heard a car pull up. I looked to my son. I wanted to kiss him goodbye before I was sent to the penn, but he looked so darned smug, I wanted to do something else.
My mother poked her head into the yard. "It's a heavy sucker, isn't it?"
We waddled and cussed God into the back of my car somehow, and as we wiped the bird poo from our hands, my mother and I experienced a moment. It was a quiet one. We shared a collective sadness for our history as mother and child together. In those ashes she became a mother and I, her first born, became who I am today.
We smiled and agreed that felonies were exhausting and deserved brunch.
Over brunch, many fellow diners may or may not have heard our conversation.
"We committed a felony."
"You say that like it's a bad thing. We shared a moment. It's bonding." 
"Whatever. Felony."
After returning home and telling my father, I drew back the pink towel and revealed the nearly-lost vision of God. I felt like an awkward, mom-like Indiana Jones. Or a relic snatcher--one of the bad guys who says things like, "this is how we say 'goodbye' in my country" and are all very sexy yet still find joys in wearing "house bras" in public. Ooh. Moving on....
My father looked at his work. I think he smiled, but he'd never fess to it. 
I waved my arms triumphantly. "But, JUST LOOK, DAD! I BROKE THE LAW!" I was still a little pumped from my exercise in badassery. 
A good father would have let me feel the thrill and then go through countless sleepless nights worrying about the fuzz coming over to arrest me. Teach me a lesson or something. Maybe even pray for me. 
Instead, he gave it to me--the truth. "Your mother called [the owner of the house who had made it a rental and didn't give a fig over the leftover yard art], and she said it was all yours and thanks for taking it for free." 
Crestfallen, I looked at the bird-crap-encrusted diety in the back of my car. Apparently, I can't even be wildly delinquent if I tried.
So, if we didn't break the law, did the whoe bonding experience even count? I've been rolling this thought around in my cranium for the last few hours. Does being bad make my mother and I more connected? We certainly don't get this kind of bonding at a soccer game or quilting or something of equal or greater mundanity.
Whatever. We have a moment. We were rebels. And we yelled "more, more, more!" around eleven a.m. today, and I guess that'll have to do.

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