Our daughter has been in Philadelphia for several weeks. I miss her terribly just knowing she’s further away than usual. When I opened the refrigerator this morning, I saw her face. Maple syrup from the restaurant she likes. Dunkers that she usually buys at Trader Joe’s for her dad. The bottle of Coke I had to buy yesterday because it showcased her name. Tomorrow I’ll buy some cream cheese and have a loaded steak and whiz sub for lunch. Somehow the visuals and city references bring her closer to home. It’s been a Rocky road for me. Ah, yes, that too will shorten the distance. A mom has to do what a mom has to do.
Saturday’s are a mixed emotion for me. I struggle with how to enjoy a day off and still complete as many chores as possible. This morning I decided to mix business with pleasure and triple task. The plan was threefold:
– enjoy the calm and breezy summer morning
– walk 3 miles to the bank instead of driving
– get in some exercise and tone my legs
It was a great idea but as I got to my halfway point, I thought of another task I should have completed before leaving the house. It occurred to me as the skies opened up and left me walking in a downpour and flip-flops. I could’ve checked the weather app.
Now I’m feeling down, pouring myself a coffee and admitting my plan was a flop.
– The walk wasn’t a breeze or calming.
– One can bank on the fact that my cold cash is now wet.
– I need to set a new tone for the day.
My work is never done.
Throwback to being a younger Mom with a million things to do and not enough time for half of them.
My heart went out to the young woman I just saw running for the train. She had a bag wrapped around the front of her, a briefcase in one hand, a folded umbrella stroller in the other and oh yeah, a large infant strapped to her back. A woman trying to make it all work and not finding time for herself. I was tired for overloaded her as she actually managed to jump on the train.
I still have a million things to do but I am making time for myself – and hoping my girls will never be too old for a piggy-back.
The house was quiet as we settled into the start of summer on Memorial Day weekend. My daughter was lifeguarding at the town pool and my husband was perusing a new novel on the deck. Both were spending their time in a thoughtful and careful way. I decided to do the same.
My guardianship wasn’t in need and my next book had yet to be started. So, I watched out for myself and opened a new bottle of polish instead. I decided to paint my naked toes a bold shade of red. The color matched my sandals and I looked forward to looking like a put together grown up.
I finished one foot and reached for more color. My hand hit the bottle, just like a fugitive Harrison Ford hit the stream. As Tommy Lee Jones would have said, “the nail polish did a Peter-Pan right off the dam(n table)!”
All I could do was watch a spray of fiercely fabulous red hit my kitchen floor. I fiercely tried to stop the tumbling bottle before it covered my fabulous laminate. It rolled under a chair and the pets quickly backed away. They ran from the poison – my venomous response, not the scarlet contents.
I wiped the liquid with a dry towel but ultimately needed nail polish remover to clean up the red mess. My spa time resorted to a household chore laquered with frustration. I don’t have a coordinated pedicure but I do have a stripped floor to memoralize the event.
My girls woke me up to see the sunrise.
Dad is making bacon and eggs and strawberry crepes for breakfast.
We are headed to the ocean.
Family. Earth. Blessings. It’s all right here.
My daughter is right. I ask too many questions. Half the time I don’t even wait for answers. I even did it when I picked her up for Easter break:
Are you ready to go? Are you all packed? Is your roommate still here?
She answers by walking me down the hall to her dorm room. She starts to pack and I observe that her roommate has already left.
Are you feeling better? Did you take your medicine? Did you pack that too?
She answers all three questions by smiling as she hands me her little tote of meds.
Did you change your sheets? Do you want to take them home? Do you have other laundry to do?
She points to her overstuffed Vera Bradley laundry bag in the corner and starts to roll her bedding. I tie it all together and put it next to the meds and her backpack as I continue our conversation:
Did you finish your registration the other day? Were you able to get into all your classses? What are you taking in the Fall?
She pulls out the chair to her desk, I think to sit me out of the way, and hands me her schedule.
Is the dining hall still open? Did you eat after work? Do you want to stop on the way home?
Like her Dad is listening, I get a text that he’ll have dinner ready when we get home.
Why is your purse slung in front of you? Are you going to try to carry all this? How about if we make two trips?
I finally get two words to my 18 questions:
I’m just excited to see her and know that she’ll be home for the week.
I calm down as we start our first walk to the car.
Do you want to put your coat on? Hey, why are you taking that path? Will you wait for me to catch up?
I know she was just excited for our road trip. We had a lot to talk about. I think I thought of a few more questions on the way home.
Understandably, my daughter sometimes has little faith in my memory. Today she called from campus knowing we’d be stopping by tomorrow. She asked if I had an empty box?
“Yes. I can bring one.”
“No, are you sure? Can you go check?”
“I’m in the cellar as we speak and I’m already walking back up the stairs with a Xerox box.”
“Now that you’re upstairs with it, can you go in the bathroom?”
“You are going on a scavenger hunt. That’s why. See my flannel shirt hanging in the laundry closet? Put it in the box.”
“Oh! Is this how the game works? Hold on, let me fold it.”
“Whatever. I also forgot to pack some AAA batteries.”
“I like this part. I actually cleaned the hall closet and now have a box just for batteries!”
“I know Mom, I was there for the holidays, remember? I also need my gym bag in the entry way.”
“Got it. What next?”
“Go in my room, please.”
(Laughter ensures.) “When have you ever said that to me?”
“Just for a minute. See the canvas bag next to my light? Put it in the box.”
“This has all your stationery and stamps. Does that mean you’re finally going to write Christmas thank yous?”
“Now you’re being nosy and irritating. Just open the colored drawers and put in my black headband too.”
“Sure. Done. Hey, I like it in here with the new futon. I think I’ll stay and write at your desk today.”
“Mom, get out of my room.”
Now that I realize I’m being told where I can go and what I can touch in my own house, not to mention that I’m being her bitch personal shopper, I start toying with her.
“Oops. The cat just snuck in.”
“Mom, stop. Go get the cat out of my room.”
I let her hear the sound and struggle of the door opening and closing to pick up the cat that’s actually asleep near the stove.
“That’s it. Stop being funny. I’ll see you tomorrow. Text me after you drop Trisha off.”
“Yup. It’ll probably be around dinner time.”
I was surprised she didn’t tell me to bring the box outside to the car on this wintry cold night, so we don’t forget it tomorrow.
I headed back upstairs with my book and tablet.
A minute later I could hear her ring tone. I knew she was thinking I hadn’t put the box in the trunk. Now if I could only figure out where the sound was coming from and remember where I put the phone…
This morning I was trying to change the world and asking everyone to post about a time of need. I’d originally wanted to post tonight about my Big Sister experience. After dropping my daughter off at her college campus, I prefer to tell you another story instead.
I was running on empty and selfishly sad because the holidays were truly over and my daughter wouldn’t be at the house for more than a month again. My husband stopped at Dunkin’s and I slowly emerged to get a couple of hot drinks. I trudged in barely aware of my surroundings. I heard the person behind the counter ask how my night was and realized I was the only customer.
That never happens to me at Dunks.
At first I wondered if he saw my unhappy face and then figured he was just bored. So, I gave a vague answer and he seemed interested. We talked as he made my drinks. In those couple minutes he tried to assure me that he had friends that had attended that personable school and that she was in good hands. I chuckled and told him that deep down I knew all that but I was just being a Mom. I told the young man he cheered me up. I left a nice tip.
I never do that at Dunk’s.
When I least expected it my barista had changed my world.
Now that the girls are home from college I also want to catch up with their friends. I’m interested to know how they’re all doing. Have they chosen majors? Who is studying abroad? How are their roommates? I need to know if all the other kids that grew up to some degree in this house are happy with their decisions too. We still care and are invested in them as much as needed. That’s my side of the story.
I asked my daughter the other day when her bestie, one of our unofficially adopted girls, is coming over again?
She seemed to take exception to it and told me to “get my own friends”.
Now we have all spent time together. Everyone seems to enjoy having our house to visit. We’ve all caught up. I like to think my daughter now realizes her friends are our friends.
You work hard to give your children a higher education and know they are settled where they are. Then something like this happens. Less running. A quiet house. Time to fill.
It makes you realize things about yourself. I’m not the best housekeeper. I’m still not on a regular exercise routine.
I have tendencies – to be disorganized, unfocused, dreamy.
I pay more attention to the things that I have ignored – extended family, friends, the pets, my husband.
We were always so busy with so much, it was hard to relax. I’ve relearned that I enjoy reading, writing, snuggling on the couch, watching the fire, listening to music and being creative.
I still have a few things to work on but I can now embrace the silence and myself. I’ve had a higher education. I know I am settled where I am.