Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Greatest Catch of Her Life

I was walking to work through Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning. (Yes, that Frank Ogawa Plaza. It really is quite beautiful.) A bunch of high school kids were playing a pick-up game of team Frisbee. I looked up from Pokemon Go long enough to watch 45 seconds of the action. A Frisbee was thrown far, far, too far for the 16-year-old girl to reach and catch. Only, wait a minute, she dove and caught it. Applause and cheers burst out. The looks of amazement and, yeah, achievement were visible on her face.

Waiting for my bagel at the deli, it occurred to me what a sad state of affairs it would be for that girl if that catch was the high point of her life to-date. Worse still, what if it was the highest point of her life she would ever achieve? None of her fellow players, friends and rivals alike, will recall it ever again, really, unless prompted by her in days and weeks to come. "Remember that catch I made the day we went to City Hall for a field trip? That was awesome!"

I told myself to remember that catch so someone beyond that girl remembers her glory for the rest of her days.

[What can I say? I was hungry. And when I'm hungry, I'm not a happy person. I'm better now. I'm sure she'll go on and have a most magnificent life.]

Monday, September 19, 2016

What You Learn in 1,009 Miles

  1. The time to take a kid to college is far shorter than the time it takes to get back after drop off.
  2. The Central Valley is as Christian as it is Spanish-speaking.
  3. The one palatable radio station will play songs you hate but you will make a deal with yourself if you can just hear any song you recognize, you will listen to it until the bitter end. Praise Jesus. Alabado sea el SeƱor.
  4. If you leave Fullerton without bringing anything to drink with you, you can make just one stop for gas, bathroom and a drink three or so hours up the road and not need to stop again until you pull into your driveway.
  5. My remarkably different oldest children live on remarkably different campuses. Too few toilets remain a similarity.
  6. Drop off is gut-wrenchingly difficult. Two in one day just doubles the fun.
  7. The trip register really does show I drove 1,009 miles in 42 hours. Which means saying 1,009 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything might get you partial credit on the quiz at the end of this post.
  8. My kids -- all three of them -- are really fun to be around.
  9. If you hear "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" on the radio somewhere around Patterson, you will sing loudly. And cry.
  10. I do owe the time of my life to Pete. I need to focus on making sure he knows that, particularly as we enter our 18th (I think) year of marriage. Happy Anniversary, hon!

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.


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.


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