Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Summer I Grew Up

I fall in love a little with every city that I visit. If I could travel more, and one day, I will, my heart will be spread out around the world.

At the beginning of the month, I visited Diahn in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her boys welcomed me with my own, special door.

I am not exaggerating when I say that her children are the politest, kindest, coolest, most well-behaved children that I have ever met. Ever.

And exceptional tennis players, as well. I know because I witnessed their skills first hand. As D said before I watched their match, "So far, you've seen what's on the outside. Tomorrow, you get to see what's on the inside." He was right.

The whole family made me feel so welcomed and spoiled me a little.

The only thing they didn't do for me was have a parade. Maybe next time.

Diahn and I sat outside on her beautiful deck and talked for hours in the evenings, with glasses of wine and bottles of beer in hand. Monty Python movie quotes were rampant.

We made pickles and probably had more fun than two grown women should have making pickles.

And on Saturday morning, we went to the farmer's market where I met Linda...finally! It was like I had known her for years. The whole weekend was lovely and such a nice relaxing, reprieve from the summer of transition.


At the beginning of this week, my daughter and I visited the LSU campus in Baton Rouge for freshman orientation, where I promptly fell in love with the campus, the old oak trees, and the steamy air. The photo below isn't lens fogged up before I took the shot.

The oaks on campus are worth millions and some are actually insured with Lloyds of London.

When I got home, I was showing the pictures to my husband and I realized every shot was of a tree. And maybe a street lamp or two. The campus is sprawling and beautiful and fills me with the urge to study and read. I loved college.


My blog feels stagnant. My writing is very surface these days. This daughter going off to college leaves me feeling like an exposed nerve. I am sad when I hear her walk in the house late at night and realize these are the last few weeks of this place being her home. I am angry with myself when I think of all the missed opportunities of time spent with her and wish I could take back every harsh word that's passed between us. I am overwhelmed with the list of all the things I haven't told her and yet confident that this is how it should be. That she will have to learn these things as she makes her own path. I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. I am reminded of my age, of my parent's age, of how tall my Grandson is becoming. I am fearful of going through this whole process again next year when my youngest child leaves the nest and the house is quiet and empty. How many years have I spent dreaming about the very thing that now terrifies me?

So I cling to the familiar. I cling to my husband. I cling to my family and friends. And I cling to the mundane tasks of my day. I cling to constants. I pray a lot at night as I'm falling asleep. My prayers aren't organized or concise. Instead, they are the ramblings and pleadings of a woman who feels like she is gripping the edge, holding on for dear life. They are the prayers of a child at night, eyes squeezed shut, covers pulled up to the chin, trying to pray away the monsters.

This woman also knows that on the other side of the empty nest, there are new pages to be written. There is a shedding of the skin, in a way. There are big weddings, new son-in-laws and sweet grandchildren on the horizon. There are roads to be traveled and cities that are waiting for me to love them.

But for now, I'm still clinging.

Friday, July 01, 2011


It's 2:23am and I'm having a serious cup of coffee. No messing around. I'm leaving in an hour with my husband to take my stepdaughter home. And then up to Tennessee for a much needed visit with Diahn.

And since it's 2:24am and I'm slightly delirious, I thought I'd share my epiphany with you. The one that I had at 11:30pm when I finally laid down to try and go to sleep. My daughters are out of town so I decided to sleep in Stevey's room last night, to could get away from the noise of the television that my husband sometimes watches until late at night, and that's when it hit me.

She's leaving in five short weeks.

My baby girl is moving out and moving on. And even though she'll come back for holiday breaks and summers, it'll never be the same. Even though I'm so proud of her that I'm practically bursting at the seams, it'll never be the same. I laid there in the dark, breathing in her "Stevey" smell from her pillows, looking around her room at her bulletin board, her paintings and her clutter of clothes scattered around the room, and started to grieve.

And I still can't stop crying.

I'm sure it'll get easier with time. I'd rather get most of it out now than later when I'm helping her unpack at her new apartment. I seriously hate goodbyes. I'd rather stick hot pokers in my eyes than say goodbye. I don't like to get that emotional in front of people and nothing gets me more emotional than saying goodbye. I know, I's not a permanent goodbye.

But to my mother's heart, it sure feels like it.