Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Maybe my favorite word: Beginning
Juliana, Jeff and I were able to sneak just the 3 (erh, I guess I count as 2, so 4) of us to Manhattan for several days while the rest had farm days at Grandma's house over spring break. Consider this my excuse note for the blog principal. Main intention being getting an early look at Parsons for Juliana, but, of course mixed in with plenty of eating, shopping, training, cabbing, with the bonus of spending every night with my brother George and his family on Long Island. And the double-dog bonus of getting to eat my brother's homecooked meals at each day's end. But it was a beginning of sorts. The beginning of taking a proactive approach to finding a college home for the big bub. This is new. We can talk all we want, but move, and fly, and gather information books, and talk with counselors, and tour? Really? Are we sure? Okay.
The trip was filled with such a range of emotions, most of them excitement and promise and interest. But please. I really don't mean to dote on the teenage-mom-now-has-teenage-daughter and has-found-herself-pregnant-and-filled-with-misty-eyed-ironic-thoughts theme but, spare me another will you? Standing in the welcome center at the school I found a few people sort of staring at me, or the 3 of us, like maybe they were trying to figure it out. I asked Jeff why he thought people were kind of looking, and he casually blamed it on my belly. Which, naturally, transported me back to the welcome center at Ringling where I was the subject of several stares aimed at my mid section, only I was the enrolling student pregnant with the young woman I now had next to me who was soaking in the whole scene in the middle of Greenwich Village. And it made me giggle and, of course, share the thought with my cohorts.
Later in the day, when we had moved on to the part where my back was aching, my feet were swelling, and I wobbled towards anything that smelled good, (I think they call this shopping but I seem to have forgotten how that's done lately, unless you could say I was furniture shopping as I seemed to be looking for chairs everywhere we went) Jeff and I found ourselves in a coffee shop. No Juliana. We had all sort of reprogrammed ourselves after a few hours to allow her some lingering interludes in this or that store on her own, armed with the map in her blackberry and only a few calls to us with phrases like, "I walked all the way up to 7th and didn't see UO!" and with replies from me, like "that's because you walked right past it before you even reached 6th - open your eyes, bub - we'll meet you there in about 30 minutes" And in that span, sitting there, just us, I realized what we were really at the beginning of. Seeing her off. And I confessed into my sweet husband's eyes that whether she travels 10 miles down the road or 950 miles up the country, I will bite into a bitterness in those days. You can hardly say my nest will be empty, still fuller than most, but new, and the beginning of something else. Maybe the beginning of her. Just like she was the beginning of me.
The ripple went with me all the way there and back and has ended up to be a larger blanket than I had originally planned. But rather than just a blanket for baby, I thought it should be a blanket for us. To warm the two of us during sleepless nights when the house is just ours. I don't know why its taken me so long to learn, but each new life in this house is also the beginning of a new family, a new mother, a new father. And each new phase of our children's lives seems a chance to either cry over the one that was traded out or cheer on the first steps on a new path. You can call it optimism, but I am thinking of it these days as simply emotional survival.
And thank you so much for letting me say so. xo,AM