November 9, 2014
I had lunch the other day with someone who I have known for a remarkable 26 years. Although we don’t see each other all of the time – she is someone who has known me from the time I was a newlywed, through motherhood, career changes and now struggles with aging parents. We met when I came to work at the same magazine (she was even my boss at one point) and although there are several years between us, she has never made me feel it – we have simply been Friends, each one of us bringing something wonderful to our relationship. We have stayed in touch all these years but sometimes years would pass before we would see each other, our lives were simply busy travelling in different directions.
Then one day, a few years ago, we decided to finally “do lunch” and I am happy to say that this is now a regular occurrence. When we get together we do sometimes touch on the past – barely. Mostly, we talk about today and our conversations are endless.
I always feel so full when we part company and I think it’s because she knows me for Me. Not someone’s wife or mother … just me. She has a good idea of what my hopes and dreams are for myself and she knows of some of my struggles, as I do hers.
We have a history, but are not so intertwined that it is ever old….and when we get together, happily – neither are we.
November 9, 2014
My husband and I were looking through old pictures last night. We are working on finally cataloging and tagging them all. As each frozen moment in time floated across the screen, so did my heart. People who are the dearest to me, captured in easier times. All physically so free and easy and well….it really wasn’t that long ago, and of course all of us were so completely unaware of what prisons were to come for some….thank goodness, I guess.
I saw my children so young and sweet, and I desperately longed to just reach through that screen and scoop them up into my arms and onto my lap – as I used to do. Each picture was more beautiful than the last, and I was amazed at how perfect I found each one – because I do remember that at the time the photos were taken, I was often kind of annoyed at how many times at least one child was squirming, making a silly face or looking away. As a photographer, I have the habit of always searching to create the most magical moment and for each picture to be absolutely perfect.
Now I realize that every one of them….is.
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!