Lydia Oh Lydia! Lydia the Tattoo Lady!
Or … she won’t sleep a wink. It’s the damnedest thing.
One particularly sleepless night. One particularly sleep deprived daughter. One particularly not at all sleepy mother. I had even crawled into bed with her in a no-sleep-’til-Brooklyn haze in a last-ditch effort to entice her to remain in a horizontal state. It did not work as I woke up groggily to Mom outside the bedroom doorway, looking over her shoulder at me whilst beckoning me to join her down the hallway. I begged her to come lay down. Pleaded with her that I was too tired to get up. She approached the bed, continuing to gesture at me until I realized she wasn’t giving me a come-hither motion at all, she was actually pointing at her shoulder blade where her one and only tattoo resides.
“You gotta see this!” she exclaimed. “Your tattoo, Mom? Are you talking about your tattoo?” I replied. She laughed, “Is that what that is? That’s just the damnedest thing!”
I was so exhausted I couldn’t figure out which end was up, but I could recognize that my mother, who had had a week long stretch of extreme anxiety and sleeplessness, was utterly incredulous and delighted to find this colorful bit of body art underneath her nightgown. I chuckled, both at her and with her, explained that she had got it when she went to Hawaii with her sister Ginny about eight years ago, got her back into bed, and fell fast asleep next to her within seconds.
What seemed like only seconds later I woke to the swift movement of Mom sitting straight up in bed, bursting with excitement “You gotta see this!” she spouted, arms flailing around her shoulder like a dyslexic drum major.
Me: “Is it your tattoo?”
Mom: “I have a tattoo?”
Me: “Yeah, you got it when you went to Hawaii with Ginny about eight years ago.”
Mom: “Well! Isn’t that the damnedest thing. That’s just the damnedest thing!”
We repeated this performance two more times, each successive time we laughed harder and longer, that crazy kind of laughing, like church giggles, when you just can’t keep it in, and then can’t catch your breath and are pretty sure your bladder isn’t going to be of much service with one more guffaw. I finally managed to drag my dead-tired, laughter exhausted butt to the bathroom to relieve myself and towel the tears of mirth from my face. When I came back to bed Mom was sound asleep. It was the damnedest thing.
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