Graduation

Dear M,

Just a minute ago I was pushing a stroller with a beautiful black haired, blue eyed baby who laughed in his sleep. Saturday he graduates from high school. I bought the special tickets, the ones that you have to line up for at 6 am in front of the school- those tickets. It’s silly but it is important. There was an ultra competitive Mom who got there at 4:15 am. She claimed insomnia made her do it, but I don’t believe her. A few hours of awkwardness for me with the driven tiger moms. This is more important than awards for achievement. This is endurance, fortitude, humility, quiet determination for our baby boy. I must see him up close. I must BE “the parents.” It was nice to share the blame for bad parenting with you when you were here. Now I find myself holding the bag and hoping I am doing ok. It’s hard without you encouraging me and reminding of what the books say. The very same books I recommended but didn’t find time to read

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Golf clubs and pie pans

Dear M,

I miss you and you+me. I underestimated the “+” when we were both here on earth together. I am a bit frayed , threads still visible where the fabric was torn. Some of my struggles seem silly but the struggle is real. I have been struggling with your golf clubs and pie pans for months. As you know I don’t play golf and I don’t bake pies. Yes, the kids might take up golf some day, but not likely until after college if real jobs afford them a pastime like golf. I finally put the golf clubs and four of your pie pans in the van. Truthfully this is the second time. The first time I changed my mind and returned them to the house and garage. I drove over to the used sporting goods store only to find they were permanently closed for business. One Florida strip mall over I found Goodwill. I deliberated about the political correctness of Goodwill vs. Salvation Army. Knowing the correct choice would have been the Salvation Army. Salvation Army would mean more driving and another chance to change my mind. Goodwill it was. The clerk announced,”It’s golf club day! Everyone is cleaning out their garage today and bringing in those golf clubs.”

Remember you were rolling out a piecrust the first time I called you at your house on Capitol Hill? You had to call me back, as you explained, rolling out a pie crust is a delicate matter. I digress.

I returned to the house knowing that going to Goodwill with a dead husband’s belongings wasn’t the kind of victory that I could share with just anyone. It would make people uncomfortable. I didn’t want to make the boys sad since they still see your belongings as a part of you. They are not golfers and they are not pie makers but you were. I distracted myself by hopping on my exercise bike. It wasn’t working by itself, so I added some tv. Seinfeld reruns might make me laugh. I always enjoyed Seinfeld during its original run. This episode I’d never seen: The Bottle Deposit. Elaine loses the golf clubs won at auction for her boss Mr. Peterman. The clubs, previously owned by JFK, have been left in the backseat of Jerry’s Saab. Jerry’s auto mechanic Steve decides he cares more about Jerry’s car than Jerry. Steve absconds with the car and the golf clubs. Kramer and his friend Newman, the mailman, make a mission to Michigan with garbage bags full of soda cans and bottles they hope to return for the five cent deposit. En route to Michigan Kramer spots Jerry’s Saab and a very slow car chase ensues. Kramer realizes that Newman is weighing down the mail truck and slowing the chase. In order to offload some weight Kramer speeds off after convincing Newman that he has pulled over so Newman could visit a non-existent roadside pie stand.

So it was that I knew I’d done the right thing about the clubs and the pans.

Love,

S