I Am Matriarch, Hear Me Do Whatever I Want
I’m not an idiot. I knew I did not want to chaperone my son’s band trip by bus (see My Son’s Mecca from February 2012). I instead flew to Texas by way of St. Louis, crashed part of the event, and was shunned by the rest of the parents in attendance. To be clear, I don’t care. I had a blast. I took time to get a haircut, which I rarely do, I spent time with my kiddo, which I think he appreciated, and I did not ride from Florida to Texas on a bus with a group of teenagers. The fact that I showed up in a rental car upgraded to a red Mustang peeved the band director, which I again, didn’t care, but which also proved to be a just dessert for him.
I’m not one to give a shit what others think. I toot my own horn, which of course I do off tune, and come and go as I please. This school event clearly represents this truth, but in fact, I am simply fine tuning the day when I will serve as the reigning matriarch of my family. I am well on my way, as I do tend to piss off my siblings with somewhat regularity to stake my claim. I expect doing whatever the hell I want will be on my family crest during my ascension to the throne, and quite likely the text on my tombstone. “That bitch always did whatever the hell she wanted.” One of the items on the do-what-you-want list: I have no intention of being buried, with a headstone or with any other accoutrements.
Eat The Damn Pizza
When I change planes in St. Louis, I leave the airport as my schedule includes time enough to visit my Aunt Helen – the reigning Kentzinger matriarch. Just a handful of days away from her one-hundredth birthday, Helen continues to be the flag bearer for not taking life too seriously. Many years ago, Aunt Helen told me she gave a fellow resident what-for because the woman complained about the selection of pizza toppings served for dinner at their senior living facility. There are too many people to special order, she told her. Just eat the pepperoni and shut up. That’s my Aunt Helen – practical with a polite touch of STFU. Besides not taking any bullshit, even a century on, she keeps a smart and sassy mind. This is what I intend to be when I am knocking around in the latter half of the twenty-first century. Thirty minutes with her are worth the entire trip.
Aunt Helen came to visit us in Arizona when I was young. She didn’t bring her swimsuit, so she just got in the pool with her clothes on and enjoyed the sun and fun. She wasn’t the oldest, she was just the boldest, and she deserved to wear the crown, even before all the older women died off. And now, here I am – older. Hopefully I am courageous and certain of who I am, too. I want to be witty and wily and not afraid to say what I think. I don’t want to adhere to the norms of what senior ladies ought to do and instead do what I want to do. I hope I will speak my mind when it matters and be accepting of whatever happens to be on my pizza when it doesn’t matter. In short, I want to be Aunt Helen when I grow up.