September 12, 2014
Yesterday I met an old friend for a long overdue coffee. It was wonderful. It was like old times and always, all at the same time. We used to meet once a week – every week with a third friend, at this same coffee shop – back when our youngest children were babies. We lovingly coined this day as Coffee Club. It was the day that we hashed and re-hashed and solved both our own motherhood troubles as well as solved all the world’s crisis’ – or at least decided on what we were going to make for dinner that night.
Here we were again, re-kindling our Coffee Club – just the two of us this time. My friend had left her job a few months ago to help her mother care for her aging father. She was going to move to another town – a 10 hour drive from here. Six weeks in – she realized that this new move was not going to work out for her and her son…at least, not right now. So once again – Coffee Club was in effect to try to shed some light and make an effort to set a path for a new future for her. I asked her what her thoughts were on pursuing a new line of work…she said she wasn’t sure. She wondered if she should go back to something that she already she knew or try something completely different – maybe even go back to school. Then our conversation turned how she just hadn’t been feeling great for the last few months…aches, pains and ailments had crept up and she was having them investigated. I chuckled and reminded her that she was “eyeballing 50″ (a term I have used, in relation to myself many times over the decade – half in humor…sadly, half in truth) then laughed out loud and told her not to feel bad; Heck – I’m eyeballing retirement I told her (ok, not really… not quite yet!). We shared a giggle.
As she spoke of her increasing maladies – I showed her the index finger on my right hand, now slightly bent with its often somewhat swollen knuckle (hello arthritis – been waitin’ on you!) and thought about how my ankles applaud me as I make my way down the stairs every morning with their snap, crackle and pops accompanied by the operatic sounds that I often make when rising from a chair. Then there’s the hip that aches when I dare to stand for an evening in heels at a cocktail party or get really crazy and dance at a wedding.
Like every other woman who is 50 – I don’t sleep…I really, really want to, and I try so hard – but my brain just spins and spirals from 2 to 4 most mornings. In fact, as I lay awake this morning at 2am, I thought myself that it was a good thing we had Coffee Club in the morning – otherwise I am sure I would still be awake by 6…in time to greet the alarm.
September 6, 2014
My son came home for dinner last weekend, bringing his laundry in tow. I smiled – I expected it. We had a nice family evening, everyone catching up on each other’s week – pretty much like any other Sunday night dinner….but as I looked at him sprawled on the couch, chatting away, I realized that he would be going home tonight. Home – his home – not ours. Seemed funny for a moment because he hasn’t been moved out for very long and so it just seemed so natural that he would be bounding up to his room in the next 5 minutes to study or catch up on email etc.
We got into the car to drive him to his apartment – my husband, my youngest daughter and my son. Of course the two kids in the backseat were just that – being kids – all the way there, like always. We arrived in front of his apartment building and he pulled out his laundry basket from the trunk. I felt I needed to get out of the car for a moment – so I could give him a hug. He stood in front of me , so tall….I don’t remember when it was that he got so tall. I hugged him and whispered in his ear that I missed him – I hadn’t realized how much because the whole experience had been a whirlwind and now, bathed in the glow of the streetlights, I suddenly had a moment to catch my breath…and I was surprised how it stuck in my throat. I exhaled and put my best Mom face on – I didn’t want him to feel bad. This was a great time in his life and I wanted him to know that…so I smiled and silently thanked the night for being so dark…and watched him walk away – walk into his own home.
I rolled down the window on that hot summer night – and the air smelled like 1993….would I find my toddler in his footed pyjamas waiting for me at home? Silly silly me – I chastised myself – of course not. How fast had I been blinking? I prided myself for always being in the moment and enjoying my children – staying home with them, playing with them, learning and growing with them. The thing is that I was always so very aware that this day would come….but I didn’t know that it would have happened in a blink.
August 19, 2014
I walked by your room last night on one of my several midnight wakings and the door was wide open with a single chair in the center of the room, along with a few odds and ends, yet unpacked and scattered across the room. I stood in the doorway for a moment, in the darkness and saw you, not there, sitting on your bed doing your homework.
Last night you moved out.
It was time – you are almost 24 and your decision was made with a cool and logical head, not in defiance, as my own move out had been. You need to be closer to school and are ready to be on your own – and truth be told, I am bursting with excitement and happiness for you. You found the perfect place for yourself, for right now, and I am so thankful that you have let your Dad and I be an active part of the whole process.
It’s been a slow “move in” – taking things over in small loads every other day for the last couple of weeks, but last night we took your clothes and your bed – the final item. As we drive downtown with the mattress strapped down to the car, we passed all the usual places, but last night they jumped out at me….the parks we played in, the donut shop that you and I would go to once a week before going grocery shopping, the restaurants that we used to frequent as a young family, Dairy Queen…I thought about all the times I had to make emergency drop offs (often driving in my pyjamas and a coat) to school or the subway station because you had slept in or because the unreliable bus that is at the corner of our street simply never showed up.
I know you aren’t moving across the country and are only downtown…but you aren’t here everyday, anymore, and our family will be forever changed for it – and necessarily for the worst – just changed.
I couldn’t sleep last night – I kept listening for your footsteps on the front porch….the fridge door being opened several times….the sound of the TV left on because you’ve fallen asleep on the couch …again!
It was all quiet…so very quiet.
I don’t feel sad….because I have been preparing for this day ever since you were 6 weeks old – no kidding! I knew then – I had foresight, as I have had on many other occasions….but I will say that it is most bittersweet…..truly bittersweet. I now really understand what that word means – I feel every letter it.
May 31, 2014
Sooooo excited!! I am up at 6am this morning – on a Saturday. Ok – the truth is that with three kids and work, I am up at 6 every morning…but today it’s not not in the hit-the-snooze-button kind of way; today I am bouncing out of bed because today – I am getting new stairs /front porch!
Now I titled this a “bouquet” of stairs because yesterday at work, my beautiful 23 year old co-worked was telling me all about her new beau who was taking her for dinner and has been romancing her with among other things, her favorite bouquet of flowers…..and as glorious as that sounded to me (and it did sound damned romantic) – knowing that my husband was going to FINALLY build me my new (simple) front porch with stairs that I can walk down straight way (as opposed to sideways). That, my friends – is a married-for-26-years pressure treated wooden bouquet.
Now, of course I will be helping (ooohhh, a shared romantic activity too!) by probably just watching and advising…my usual role. I will greet him with a fabulous lunch midway and an ice cold beer after the job is done…might even wear my fancy apron – Lol!
May 13, 2014
My Mother’s Day was one of the BEST days of my life (and I have had a lot of days). It was unconventional, non-traditional and absolutely perfect in every way….and it all started with my husband being out of town (yes I know how that sounds – but read on).. My husband rarely goes away on business anymore. About 15 years ago, his job required him to be away several times a month, which at the time, my kids loved. They were 6 and 8 (the youngest wasn’t here yet) and it meant pancakes for dinner, sleepovers in Mom and Dad’s bed, going for ice cream after dinner – and other fun stuff.
This year, he was away for a week at a conference with the last day being Saturday. The first thing in the morning, my oldest asked me what the plans were for the day. I told him I could take them all to a mall, thinking that was what he was hinting (it was the day before Mother’s Day after all!). But he and his sisters weren’t overly keen on that. So I told him what I really needed to do was go to the bulk food store to buy some black rice, stock up on a few spices etc. All three kids’ ears perked up… Bulk Food Store = Bulk Candy, as well as real food. They were all quick to say that they would be happy to accompany me. I have to admit, I was kind of excited – all three of my kids (aged 23, 21 and almost 14) willingly hanging out with me? YAY!!!
Off we went, It was a beautiful day – surprisingly warm enough to traipse around in just t-shirts, after a truly long, cold winter. The sun was out and as they piled into the car, there was not a single argument about the seating arrangement (youngest called Shotgun!). Phones were off and we chatted as we made the 15 minute drive out. Once at the bulk store, we split off to our choice aisles and about 20 minutes later, purchases in hand, we got back into the car (again – no discussion about seating!). “What’s next” they asked, saying it was too nice day to just go home. How about lunch? Great idea – off we went to a popular chicken eatery that we used to frequent when they were smaller. Lunch was perfect – good food and lots of laughs… I really felt that I had reached Nirvana.
We started back towards home and on the way, I wanted to stop and pick up a small flowering plant for their god-mother who hasn’t been well lately. We were int he neighborhood anyway and I figured that we could just leave it on the front porch. Low and behold, we pulled into the driveway and saw their uncle/godfather standing outside. He was pleasantly surprised to see us as it was completely unexpected and invited us to come around back to sit on the deck, calling his wife out to join us. She was so happy to see the kids and we sat out and enjoyed a warm, sunny half hour visit. I looked down at my watch; it was mid-afternoon and I was concerned that she was getting tired plus, we had been out half the day and I figured that the kids had probably had more than enough “mom time” and were ready to get back home. As we started down the road, the kids kept commenting on how beautiful the weather was so I asked them; “Highway or Scenic Route along the water” – I knew they wanted to get home to their computers etc…but to my complete surprise – they opted for the scenic route!
So we drove along the winding road – the river was so high that we could feel a faint spray through the open windows. Some brave souls were kite surfing – the colors of the different sails so brilliant in the sun. Further along, another club was kayaking along the canal – We were really being treated to some incredible, colorful sites. We pulled over for a moment or two – just to get out and see the wild and choppy water up close – and taking advantage of their good humor, I asked the kids to pose for a picture or two – which they did willingly!
We got back home pretty close to dinnertime – I was in heaven having spent the entire day with my children…laughing, talking (and no electronics). I know that Mother’s Day surely inspired the day but I don’t care. It was a wonderful, wonderful day – a day I told them that they would understand the importance of, later on in life.
The next day, Mother’s Day itself – there was no annual brunch, no cards or gifts – none of which is important anyway. But that Day….that spontaneous and free-flowing day, it was pure magic – pure gold. I felt giddy,inspired, blessed and most of all…Loved.
Happy Mother’s Day to me!
May 9, 2014
I am writing this with my eyes having sunk to the back of my head as I have now completed a fairly sleepless Night # 3. It isn’t really because my husband has been away this week – that is purely co-incidental. It’s insane – it’s age (so my doctor tells me) – it is God knows what….I’ve never been a good sleeper, as you’ve probably read before.
But here I am thinking; I will enjoy the King size bed alone – stretch out while he is away – because you know how it is when you share a bed with someone; you are conscious of them being there, in a respectful way.
First things first. It is finally Spring – so I am going to leave the window open a crack to get that fresh night air that my Grandmother always raved about. Snuggle down under the covers and begin to drift off….
Now it all begins. It’s around 11 pm and our 17 year old cat starts her ritual caterwauling. I get up to run the tap for her as she has taken to wanting to drink water from ONLY a running tap (never mind that she has a fancy bubbling cat fountain and a second “back up” bowl). Ok – she is satisfied, so I can go back to bed and snuggle back down.
I wake up, oh probably 2 times, to use the bathroom because I drink so much water in the day (or, once again – could be age).
Toss and turn another good hour or two because I’ve had a couple of extra coffees (to help keep me up during the day because I haven’t slept the night before).
I have reached 3 am – the witching hour. After taking a Gravol (because reading a few lines in my book, followed by relaxing all my muscles and doing a bit of pseudo meditation – I am still awake) I feel myself finally drift off to sleep Ahhhhhhhhh.
4:30 am – A neighbour gets home from shift work. Dropped off by a co-worker and now chatting. Here is the thing about chatting in public at this hour; the volume is ten-fold louder because everything else is at a standstill.
5 am – Now the damn birds start chirping and to top it off, lucky us – we have crows that roost in our trees outside. Oh yeah, you know it; Caw! Caw! Caw!
I know that my alarms are going to go off in another half hour – yes, alarms. It’ll start with the cat, then the clock radio (yep, still have the same one from when we got married 26 years ago). This will be followed by the triad of alarms – my son’s spacey alarm, my oldest daughter’s rooster alarm (followed by her fire engine alarm – because the first one never works for her) and then my youngest daughter with her buzz-buzz-beep-beep alarm. Oh – and by the way…the whole idea of spreading out and enjoying the entire space of the King size bed? I woke up sleeping on the absolute edge – like usual.
I get up…make a coffee – you know, just to get that cycle going again and because I have to face day full of children at work… I am going to need something to keep me going.
Hmmm – wonder how my husband slept – alone in his quiet hotel room?