Friday, May 28, 2010

Move In Day!

Last weekend we moved our daughter into an apartment in her college town.  She’s 19!  I have this sinking feeling that she will never live at home again.  Like I was at that age, she is fiercely independent. This makes me happy for her, sad for me. 

I took such care into setting up her new bedroom. I lovingly made up her bed with clean sheets, a new comforter, bed positioned against a wall in a room that some stranger had occupied just days before.  I resisted the urge to crawl in with her beside me, stroking her hair as I did when she was little.  I kept these thoughts to myself.

Her dad hung shelves.  He tended to the cable hook up for the TV as Giant games are a must for her. He was quiet with an occasional reference to the Giant’s hitting slump and possible preferred line-ups that might remedy the problem.  He kept his thoughts private busying himself with what dads do. We were not novices at this, having gone through it with our older daughter.  Yet it didn’t make it any easier.

I didn’t want to leave, but couldn’t stay. We left her with her older sister helping her plan her first dinner at home.  That was comforting.  They’re very different, personalities worlds apart, yet close as only sisters can be.  Just a town away, they will enjoy spending time together as summer approaches.  I am so very grateful for their relationship.

Daughter #1 cooked for daughter #2 that night.   They continued to unpack, visited and laughed a lot, probably at our parental faux pas. 

She survived her first year without us, not without drama, many ups and many downs.  The learning continues for her.  And it continues for us. 

For the last 10 months, we’ve adjusted to the rhythms of a home without children.  We got reacquainted with free time.  We became pleasantly accustomed to a clean house.  Yet, oh do I miss my girls. 

Year one as empty nesters is coming to a rapid close as I write.  Giants game in the background, I hear my husband talking on the phone about Matt Cain’s one hit game.  He’s talking to her.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Suzie Smart, Timmy and Willie!

I wasn’t the kind of young girl who played with dolls.  One would find me more likely playing with worms.  I was never impressed with the collections my friends had, and I once traumatized my poor sister when I beheaded her Barbie.  The only doll I remember from my childhood wore a plaid school uniform, glasses and had a string on the back of her neck so when pulled she could say something smart. Weird!

So imagine my utter surprise when my 52 year old husband informs me we have to leave the house FOUR hours early to go to the Giants game! Why? To stand in line for a Bobble head doll.  He claims he’s saving them for our grandchildren.  Grandchildren!  Our daughter’s don’t even have boyfriends at this time.

The first time I agreed, I not so tactfully bailed out when the line stretched to parts of San Francisco I had never seen before.  See ya.  Into the stadium I went, book in hand, butt in seat while I happily waited for the game to begin, sensa doll.

That same game by some fluke in the ticket line, my husband got redirected and ended up with the much-coveted Tim Lincecum doll.  As he joined me in our seats, I made him hide it as I just couldn’t bear the look on all the little guys faces who didn’t get one.

This last Sunday, it was Willie Mays Bobble head day commemorating his famous back to the plate, over the head 54 World Series "catch"! My husband bribed me with breakfast out, a massage and any other “favor” he could think of.  Because he’s a nice guy and does a lot for our family, I agreed.  But for the life of me can’t understand the appeal of these dolls.

The morning went something like this:
            Leave house at 9am
            Drop me off to get in line by 10 am
            Stand in line.
            Do New York Times crossword puzzle (easy version)
            Shiver, blow on hands
            Give dirty look to the bald guy who tries to cut in front of us
            Glare at husband to not confront big bad bald guy
            Shiver, and blow on hands
            Begin walking to gate with other fans 11am (sweet relief)
            11:15 not one doll but two in hand
            11:16 hide dolls in bag
            Avoided all eye contact with children who didn’t get coveted doll

The rest of the day was lovely.  Breakfast followed by quite an exciting game.  Gave away extra doll on way home to a good friend who also likes bobbles.  That was nice. We certainly don’t need two.

That night while reading in bed, I glanced over and who do I see perched on the cabinet staring at me, head moving like it has tremors from Parkinson’s disease, Willie!  Creepy, but the image made me laugh.  Still don’t get it though.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mercury In Retrograde!

I can laugh at it now.

Mercury and I are not on good terms.  Apparently, this planet has been in “retrograde” for the last month.  And, when it’s in “retrograde”, it appears to move backwards.  When it appears to move backward, all hell breaks loose here on earth. I didn’t know that, but I’ll take any explanation for the spate of challenges these last few weeks, even if it means compromising my scientific reasoning.

The list of annoyances went something like this: daughter 1 drama, daughter 2 drama, husband drama, mother drama, drama, drama, drama.  And that means teacher, mother, wife, woman (me) running out of steam to “fix” anything and everything.  More drama.  

It was really very pathetic as I tried to negotiate my way through the maze of issues.  I pulled out all of my self-help stops, visualizing, praying, laughing at the absurdity of it all coming at once and then trying to convince myself that lessons were to be learned and personal growth was right around the corner.  Still waiting on that front.

That’s when out of the blue, I heard about this lovely hot planet wreaking havoc on our wholesome water planet.  Oh, that explains it! This little tidbit of information came to me from an unlikely source whose identity I will not divulge.  

The good news, starting today, Mercury is back on its orbital path.  And I’m on my way to a problem free couple of months.  Finally!  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Home For Dinner!

Be home in time for dinner!  That’s what parents of the boomers said on warm summer days, prior to the 1970’s. And that’s what many of us did. We’d leave early and emerge late at age 11, 12, 13!  What parent in their right minds would say at 10 am, “be home for dinner at 6 pm”?  Many. There was less worry about safety then, or perhaps ignorance about it. We rode bikes without helmets.  We’d play in abandoned barns.  Or play pick-up games in the street, making up the rules of the game whenever we could stage an advantage, ignoring bloody knees and grass stained jeans.

As an awkward 13 year-old teenager, the freedom was intoxicating.
Dee-Dee, Linda, and Michelle, were all friends with horses who generously shared their steeds with me. I would ride side by side with them through the apple orchards, along the long country roads, in the middle of the railroad tracks, clip clopping along, fantasizing that it was my horse I was riding, wishing that the day would not end. 

And we took incredibly stupid risks.  This one still makes me cringe.

Horse galloping at full speed across the corral at Linda’s was a thrill I remember vividly.  Hanging on for dear life, completely out of control, there was a fleeting moment when I thought about how this may not have been a good idea.  I couldn’t stop the enormous beast.  I was not a skilled rider. There was no choice but to surrender to the horse, the goal being not to fall off.  I’ll never know what possessed this animal to finally stop running at full speed.  Could it sense my paralysis?  Did the impending fence do the trick?  I hung on and lived to tell my mom years later.

We were all reckless, risk takers, oblivious to the potential irreparable damage from our careless decisions.  By the grace of some higher power, there were no serious accidents.  And we all reminisce about the freedom, how lovely it was.  We laugh at our idiocy. 

None of my peers grew up to be parents who trusted their kids with complete abandon, including me.  We were all in varying degrees protective, demanding to know where our kids were at all times when they were 11, 12 and 13.  We made them wear helmets, play within the boundaries, check in with us constantly, even before the days of cell phones.  And that is how it should be. I wonder, however, if we deprived our kids of the same kind of freedoms that we enjoyed during our youth just to keep them safe?  My guess, that particular deprivation left no lasting deleterious effects.

 Now that my girls are 19 and 22, would I parent differently? Would I extend the boundaries beyond my neighborhood for my kids in retrospect?  No, I can live with my decisions, just as my parents are living with theirs.

Even though times dictated that we kept a closer eye on our children, my kids have their own stories to tell, their own secrets to confess to me when the time is right.  Adventures and childhood fantasies to which I am not yet privy will one day emerge and take me by surprise.