02:30:20 pm on
Monday 22 Jul 2024

If I Had the Words
AJ Robinson

"I’d sing you a morning golden and new.
I’d sing you a morning golden and new.
I would make this day last for all time,
Give you a night deep in moonshine."

Many people know those words from the movie Babe. The mice sing it and it’s quite cute. For me, this day, it is so much more.

I made a wish as I blew out the candles.

You see, today is my birthday and as is the custom, I made a wish as I blew out the candles on my cake. As a kid, I made the wishes of childhood: toys, candy, a new bike and so forth. As a teen I even ventured to wish for love or at least a hot girl! When I reached adulthood, I tended to simply wish for a long and happy life.

Not this day, though; not this birthday. Over the weekend, I received word that my mother (above with son Gregory), who is ninety-four years old, was in a very bad automobile accident. As she lives in Naples, Florida and I’m here in Orlando, it wasn’t as if I could hop in the car and race to the hospital.

Fortunately, my brother Greg was there. He got to the ER shortly after a medical helicopter delivered her there and the doctors assessed her injuries. She has two broken legs, crushed foot, broken ribs and brain bleed.

At her age, 94, these are not the sort of injuries with which you want to be dealing. My soul was as crushed as her body.

And at that moment, I prayed for life. I wished with all my heart that I could do something, but I wasn’t there and I’m not a physician. So, my efforts were rather limited.

Driving home with Jo Ann and our foster boys, I tried to focus on the road, on my responsibilities. After all, I’m a dad and a husband. Certain things are expected of me.

The road was slick, the rain heavy. I had to concentrate on driving safely. Yet, everything around me tortured my mind and soul as all the images and sounds my body brought to me made me think of my mother.

Rain, it rained so often on Martha’s Vineyard, when I was young; my mom would help me get my raincoat on so I could go run in it. A drinking glass, mom is so meticulous about scrubbing a dirty glass. A cloud, we used to find shapes in the clouds when we went to the beach.

Mom was going into surgery.

Then the texts started from Greg. Mom was going into surgery to try and stabilize her legs. The surgeon wasn’t sure if they could save her foot.

Minutes became hours, as the clock tormented me as we waited for word. We watched America’s Funniest Home Videos to pass the time. More torture. I heard mom laugh, saw her smile and my mind’s eye began to summon up images of what she might look like now.

When word came that the operation was over and had been a success, I sighed with relief. Still, I knew she was far from out of the woods. Jo Ann and I made plans to visit as soon as possible.

There was Respite Care for Damian, a friend to take Gandalf and bags to pack. Now, on my birthday, we’re ready to leave and I keep coming back to my birthday wish and that song. As a writer, words are my forte and thus the song takes on a very special meaning for me.

If I had the words to make a day for her, I would sing her a morning golden and new, despite me not having much of a singing voice. On this day, I would gladly stand on a street corner and sing the full catalogue of Lady Gaga material, if that was what it took. Were it within my power, I would make a day last forever.

A good day, a fine warm summer’s day like we used to know on Martha’s Vineyard, when I was a little boy, and pain was a skinned knee, which mommy could fix because she was mommy. Yes, I’d make sure the night was deep with soft moonlight.

Pollen in my eyes.

You’ll excuse me now; I have a long journey ahead of me I think Jo Ann will have to do most of the driving. For some reason, my eyes are a bit watery. Must be the pollen.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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