But I do love a botanica. I just found another one in Long Beach, hidden on a side street but filled with a million delights. Shelves that nearly reached the ceiling were stocked with perfumes, oils, cleaning sprays, amulets, religious figurines, herbs, and candles.
I grabbed a bottle of Arazza Todo oil for a friend, and a pretty teenager with blood red hair asked if I needed help. YES, I told her, and asked in a cheery voice: “What do you have if your kid hates you?”
She led me to a candle labeled Santa Clara, and said mothers used it to pray for the well-being of their children. She added that the shop’s owner sometimes turns on three candles at once, arranged around a bowl of water. I love the idea of turning on a candle! I might have to go back there to buy a “Court” candle that you turn on if you’re in legal trouble. My kid who hates me has threatened a restraining order against me because I can’t stop sending him email.
[Note to you kids who hate mommy on Reddit: fuck off. This isn’t about you.]
Now that I’m home, I’ve turned on my candle and burned a stick of palo santo to cleanse my house of bad vibes. I can’t actually pray, because duh, atheist, but I can speak to the candle in a tone of respect, like I speak to clothes hangers or things I trip over.
It occurs to me that my reactions to my kid breaking up with me are similar to symptoms of PTSD: Irritability, hostility, fear, rumination, insomnia and nightmares. It is traumatic, after all. One minute it’s Where’s the clean towels? and the next minute, Please leave me and my family alone.
In my most morbid moments, I wonder if I’ll get to hold my child again before I die, maybe because of all the biopsies. In calmer moments, I figure that none of this matters. Life is but a dream. You’re here, stuff happens, and then you’re gone, poof. Why agonize about anything?