Back to the Future

by Marinka on May 8, 2013

Sometimes I wonder what it’s going to be like when my kids are all grown up and visit me with their families. Will they learn to accept Ryan Gosling as my new significant other or will they continue to be starstruck in his presence?

I know I’m being presumptuous. I mean, there’s no guarantee that I will be acquitted of the murder charges that will certainly be pending against me if my husband buys the whole milk instead of the 2% one more time. I’m pretty confident in my defense, but juries can be unpredictable.

But assuming things work out, I wonder what our visits will be like. Will there be grandkids? Will they want to look at the photo albums that I have of my children? (reminder to self: shove photos into albums.) You just never know. But it’s nice to think about.

I thought about it a lot when we visited my parents past Sunday. It was Russian Orthodox (Mama’s faith) Easter and we celebrated at my parents’ apartment. We hardly ever go there, all our visits are either at the dacha or at our place, but it was nice to be in their Queens apartment.

At some point one of my kids needed a tissue and Mama brought out a box. “Do you recognize this?” she asked me meaningfully.

It was a box of Kleenex, with a drawing of a bunny in some grass. Maybe more than one bunny, truth be told, but none of them looked familiar.

I shook my head. (Adorably.)

“You sure?” she asked, pushing the box closer to me, as Papa said “not now” in a hushing tone.

Obviously I had to eat the Russian Orthodox Easter lunch as quickly as possible so that I could get to the bottom of the tissue box mystery.

I asked her about the tissues and Mama said that when I broke up with my boyfriend Paul (circa 1994, if I remember correctly) and he was moving out of my apartment, I came to stay temporarily with my parents and I was crying and brought that box of tissues.

Mama seemed surprised that I didn’t remember this event.

So, a few questions.

WHY DID THEY KEEP THIS BOX? (Mama said they don’t use tissues because “my nose doesn’t run because I know how to take care of myself” and Papa uses a handkerchief.) Subquestion: IF THEY DON’T USE TISSUES, WHY DIDN’T THEY THROW OUT THIS BOX INSTEAD OF KEEPING IT AS SOME SORT OF AN INSANE RELIC?


But it also made me realize–the gauntlet has been thrown. How can I possibly top this for when my own kids come to visit me?

I knew I should have held on to that placenta. I’ll have to check on ebay.

One year ago ...

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]
May 8, 2013 at 8:37 am

Don’t be ridiculous. Your kids will appreciate all of the newspapers you collect, lining the halls, stacked next to every piece of furniture. Especially when they have to dig you out on an episode of Hoarders.


Susan Weinstein May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

Depends on what you keep. I had a photo of a friend and my son at age 4 singing. He’s wearing a mermaid costume with a blue wig. He said if I showed this to anyone, no jury would convict him.

The tissue box I guess was significant to your parents. Perhaps they thought you were launched in the world and then you came back! A fantasy of some empty nesters that you still need them?

Anyway, I know the many cartons of photos and early art are something that will probably go unappreciated. Now if you have a sentimental child, they may treasure the stuff, instead of lighting a bonfire.


joeinvegas May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

1994? Your mother does have a very good memory.


Loukia May 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

This is hilarious! I’m keeping everything my children make/doodle/draw. You never know…


dusty earth mother May 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

So… wait. It was an actual cardboard box of tissues from 19 years ago? Am I reading this right?


deborah l quinn
May 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

I suppose a box of kleenex is fine. What would’ve been weird is if they’d been USED kleenexes. Glad to know that Mama has some boundaries.


Awesome dude May 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

If you are looking for placentas, the microscopic slides of them should be on file in the hospitals.


May 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Wow I must really not take care of myself. I got through boxes of kleenex like levels in candy crush.


Mamaintheburbs May 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Ryan Gosling? Isn’t Tim Riggins going to be pissed off!


Gail Shust May 11, 2013 at 7:59 am

wow. that is so beautifully insane. i LOVE this and your blog.


the mama bird diaries
May 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm

A 20 year old box of tissues?! That is some serious saving. Wow.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes May 13, 2013 at 7:01 am

Perhaps you should start saving their single socks.


Angela K. June 27, 2013 at 8:18 pm

As a first generation American child of Russian parents – I vouch for you Marinka. This is a totally normal Russian thing (maybe other cultures do it too, I don’t know). My parents are thankfully assimilated, for the most part, but my grandmother pulls these stunts all the time. She saves all my “american” things for years and years because she doesn’t understand what they are or why I use them, but won’t get rid of them… ever. It transcends random knick-knacks into food items too. She keeps an old bottle of Cola in the fridge for me – the soda’s been flat for at least 5 years. She has a jar of old (now expired) peanut butter that I brought over years ago, ate once, and hasn’t been touched since. And she has a bottle of hair gel in the bathroom (L.A. Looks, I think) from close to 20 years ago… It’s sort of endearing but very very strange to outsiders.


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