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.

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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 edited...my 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.


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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.

7 comments:

Diahn said...

Oh, blast it all, you made me cry.

And I can see why you took so many pictures of trees - those are the most gorgeous trees I've ever seen!

Cling a bit...start to loosen your grasp a bit...it will all be just fine.

Linda said...

Dadgum it...you made me get a little teary eyed there, too. You're going to be fine, you really are.
(sniff.)

(I'm going to call my girl now, thank you very much...)

Linda said...

Oh yeah, and if you come back soon, I promise we'll work on that parade. We really will!
:-D I loved finally meeting you!

And now that we're Facebook friends, too, I see that you are also the only other person I know (besides my hubby) who loves David Gray. I should have known, especially since you are the only other non-musician I know who loves the Decemberists! And Flogging Molly? Get out of here ... Drunken Lullabies is on my wish list. Karma, baby. :-)

Dan Kent said...

I remember when my son went away to college. Hard. Very hard at first. Since he has left, we have seen him mature in amazing ways that we could hardly imagine.

There is life on the other side .. every break when he comes home (just kidding). No, there is. And you get to share it with your grown child.

sheri said...

change, change, and more changes...where would we be if we didn't know we are not alone? my heart goes out to you...knowing that this 'letting go' is such a scary and exciting thing to do...i pray you will come through this amazingly :)

beth said...

let me give you back a bit of the support you sent to me....you'll need it when she leaves. i know you will.

i actually love being an empty nester...is that bad ?

thanks again for all your support....it means so much !

Seven Gates Farm said...

I am where you are. I feel I've lost control and I'm out of control. Nothing ever stays the same; I'm trying to accept that. What do empty nesters do? I guess we will find out one day. Debi