Friday, August 19, 2016

Little Comforts

For my birthday a couple of years ago, I received a very cozy blanket. It was velvety soft on one side and wooly warm on the other. Perfect for my evenings in the living room, ostensibly watching TV with Pete and a kid or two but really just falling asleep on the couch, wrapped in a velvety, wooly blanket.

It was such a perfect blanket that all three kids clamored for one to call their own. Come Christmas, each found one of their own velvety wooly blanket under the tree. One of those blankets found its way to UCSD with Eldest last year. But what of the other three?

Youngest has laid claim to all of them. One -- his -- is his bedspread. Another -- mine -- along with Le Daughter's form a cocoon atop his bed. He has a triple threat of velvety wooly goodness each night.

I grant you that he is old enough to "make" his own bed. Still, as day two of high school rolled around this morning -- and I had missed day one as I was otherwise engaged bringing Le Daughter off to college for her freshman year -- I found myself in his room, doing my standard morning task of folding those blankets on his bed. I don't deny taking the chance each morning to stroke my cheek with the velvety side of one of the blankets. I took that chance again this morning.

They represent something, those blankets, although I can't say with certainty what that "something" is. Comfort, certainly. Familiarity, sure. Consistency, too. Ritual, yeah. And maybe trying to hold onto something that seeps out of my house, unable to be contained no matter how I try.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Are You Really Not Ready?

She asks me that or something similar with increasing frequency as the summer passes, as her time living in our house full-time passes with each shortening day of sunlight, each day of work drudgery, each payment of college fees.

Two weeks today, she and I will make the trek down to school. I'll drop her off the next day, help her unpack, take her to a grocery store for supplies, maybe play the tiniest bit of PokemonGo -- who knows which ones are there! -- and then I'll make the long journey home alone. And when I arrive home, it will be to a home with one less of my peeps occupying it.

"I would think you'd be used to it, since Eldest left last year," she says.

I know what she really wants to know. So I tell her about how I had a baby and then found I was pregnant with another and I couldn't fathom being able to love that second baby as much as I loved the first. I was panicked, I said.

Just like my love grew then, my sadness grows now. I've got plenty of both to expend.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Your Access as a KP Caregiver Expires"

The email alert from Kaiser Permanente came this morning. Click on the message, and what comes up is the title of the post. It's in reference to Le Daughter, 8 years old when I started blogging and 18 years old tomorrow.

Unlike when I was 18, she can't celebrate her birthday by going and legally buying a six-pack of beer.

Unlike those who turned 18 in California prior to June 9 of this year, she can't celebrate her birthday by going and legally buying a pack of cigarettes.

So she'll celebrate the achievement of adulthood by going and buying a lottery ticket. That's one up on me.

She's turning 18 mere weeks before heading off to her freshman year of college. As I said when Eldest went off to college last fall: I'm not ready. I'm still not ready. He was. She is.

I'm not.

I'll remain not ready for the many next chapters ahead. I've not been ready for a new chapter since the day the first kid was born. I'm not ready to skip to the end, either, mind you, nor am I interested in looking ahead. [Okay, I'll admit I've wished at times that I could just take a peek at an upcoming chapter. But, I swear, no genie ever granted that wish.]

Ready or not, here they go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Small World

The irony is not lost on me that my very next post after my last one following Nice would be this one, the one where I note that it's a small world. It was made smaller for me and mine -- especially Eldest -- when he was out and about on his last day of "freedom" in Europe before he made the trek to Berlin for his study abroad session. He was in a biergarten in a happening place, joining thousands of others out on a Friday evening.

It's a small world, all right, as he discovered in Munich, caught up in the shooting that killed nine, all of those nine shot dead by a man younger than Eldest. He spent some time under a table and then in the company of many others watched over by armed police. Chaos for awhile, then a catnap on a mat in a gymnasium, a roll of toilet paper serving as a pillow, until transit opened up again and he made it back to his hotel around 4 a.m.

He's long gone from Munich and is in Berlin now for about a month, studying history and politics and the like while having encountered the making of history just a few days ago. He'll have a thrilling tale to share for the rest of his life. I just wish the tale would start with, "I was just a block away from one of the last mass shootings ever to occur."

That won't be the start of the tale, I'm afraid.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Something Happened in the World Today

I was going to start by complaining that I attended a meeting that lasted from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. today and how I never thought a meeting could actually take all freakin' day -- and even go 15 minutes past the listed end time.

I was then going to bitch about how, even hitting the road home later than usual, traffic was at a freakin' standstill and it took an extraordinarily long time to slog my way home.

I was furthermore going to start by harping on the fact that some kid who was supposed to be picked up an hour ago is still here.

Instead, I choose to start with this:

I hadn't heard the news about something happening in the world today until I was driving home. Near about 80 were killed in Nice. [The English speakers among us look at that typed word in that sentence and ponder many an antonym to "nice."] Bastille Day. Fireworks at the seaside. Revelry. Terrorism.

Horror.

It could have been anywhere, really. It has been anywhere and everywhere.

Today, it wasn't in Amsterdam, where Eldest is at the moment.

It wasn't in Oakland, where Le Daughter and I were.

It wasn't in Petaluma where Youngest was at soccer camp.

It wasn't in Glen Ellen where Pete was working.

And the horror of it is it could be anywhere tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Visitor

He came to stay for a full four weeks. You always wonder if you’ll have it in you to have a guest stay for such a very long time. If house guests, like fish, go bad after three days, what happens after four weeks? For me, after four weeks, right about the time I’ve fallen into the familiar groove of having him around, I don the new(ish) mask.

Eldest (and I) survived his first year of college, 600+ miles away from home. I should note that he did more than survive; he thrived. Around about November, he started talking with wanderlust in his voice. Instead of coming “home” for the summer, he's coming for a couple of visits. Saddled between four weeks here after spring session ended and three weeks here before the fall session begins, he’s going to be wandering around Europe for a couple of weeks and then he’s going to spend four weeks studying at the Free University of Berlin.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that my first summer after college was the last time I came “home” to my mother’s house. From then on, I visited. I don’t think I ever spent more than two weeks “home” again. I wondered, here and there over the early years, if that was unsettling for my mother. I don’t think it was. I think I’m the one who pinpoints that summer as the end of something.


I can’t imagine how excited (and anxious) Eldest must be, having boarded that Dublin-bound plane just 30 minutes ago. From Dublin to Manchester to Amsterdam to 11 days going wherever and whenever by rail until he needs to arrive in Berlin. He’ll pinpoint this summer as his grand adventure. I, on the other hand, will pinpoint is as the end of something. And the continuation of our new reality.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Be Happy, for me

The exchange with Eldest, in text.

Me: I didn't tell you enough that I love you and I hope you get everything you want. Safe travels, honey.

Eldest: I love you too Mom. Please try to be happy, for me?

Me: I'm so very happy for you. You will go so far and do such amazing things. I envy you your life!

Eldest: Thanks Mom. But I meant, try to be happy now -- for yourself.

Me: Oh. Missed a punctuation.

***

Oh.

Oh.

I have nothing to offer but: Oh.

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