I've heard the part of your life after the kids leave referred to as “Part 2.” This does glide over the tongue better than “lonely decrepitude.” Spuds is all wrapped up in his final childrens' theater performance and I barely see him. He has a night off from rehearsal. Himself is teaching so for the first time in a while it's just me and Spuds sprawled out and eating on the couch. I know that human contact is something you can't bank but I still try to drink in my time with him in deeply and consciously, remembering that he's leaving in August and I'll only see him a couple times a year. We talk about people we know and his observations are razor sharp yet compassionate. Himself can talk about ideas until the cows come home but he, unlike me and Spuds, isn't much interested in people. I confess we do our share of gossiping but we are both intensely curious about why people are the way they are. We have such a nice talk.. I realize how much I will miss this and turn away so he doesn't see me tear up. How sad it is that when your kids reach the point when they're low maintenance and interesting that it's time for them to leave.
There are other changes afoot. I will be moving my office shortly and have no idea where. The mover comes to make an estimate. I open the door, he sees the film racks and he gasps, “Oh my God!” My sentiments exactly. Come autumn there will be no breakfast to prepare with vitamin and Xyrtec neatly arranged on the napkin and no oatmeal ever. Most likely I won't be crossing the Hyperion Bridge into Silver Lake. I don't know where I'll be going in September and it's been over three decades since I was able to say that.
I guess to heighten my sense of drama with the pending big shake up I decide to try a trail near the house that I've always been afraid of. I've turned into a really good walker and have no trouble with stairs or hills. But, I totally freak out walking on loose ground or rocks. The path is steep and narrow and really rocky but I cover some distance, steadying myself with my hands a couple times. I must have taken a wrong turn because it ends abruptly. I try to traverse the brush but it is too dense. The thought of returning the way I've just ascended is terrifying. I think of calling Himself on my cell phone but it is 6 a.m. and short of ordering a helicopter, there is nothing much he can do. Finally, in desperation, I slide myself via derriere down to the street. The early hour I think is to my advantage because I'm pretty sure there are no witnesses. I guess the lesson is that I need to be more selective about which fears I struggle to conquer.
Today is my sister Sheri's 70th birthday. Joe College has shadowy memories of the the two trips we made to visit her in Las Vegas. Spuds has no memory of her at all. Sheri's daughter Cari is staying at my house, in town to visit her own daughter and granddaughter. I make her breakfast. It pains me that she grew up with the at sea sensation of having been surrendered for adoption. I was only 7 when the decision was made but as the last man standing of the family I still feel culpable. I do have happy memories of my sister but if I were to characterize her life, I would say it was a sad one. Sheri sacrificed everything for men who did not deserve her love or even love her in return. She never got to prepare her daughter breakfast, or teach her to drive or watch her graduate. My sister's granddaughter Marlene only vaguely remembers her and her great granddaughter Penny is born 14 years after her death. It is Cari's first Mother's Day as a grandmother, Marlene's first as a mother and Penny's first as a person. Sheri's life seemed to overflow with pain but her good is memorialized in this equation.
I am fearful about Part 2 but oddly some of the terror was assuaged at a Yo La Tengo concert. I've blathered on too much about why and how I love the band. The truth was I was tired and seldom go out during the week these days. But with YLT it's sort of like the High Holidays. I just can't not go. I even forgive them the show where they spent half an hour reading a Spongebob script and the fact that Ira never changes out of that striped Linus t-shirt. The show starts an hour late. Himself is grousing. I am not enthralled by the new album but they rework a couple of the songs to good effect. My favorite song (Stockholm Syndrome) is omitted but there are soaring moments during the show that reinforce how music for me is inextricably bound to faith. It is a revelation and a reminder of how sublime I can be made to feel. .My boys will be with me for Mother's Day and the anticipation of this is another reminder of how good it is possible to feel. I don't know when I'll next spend another Mother's Day with both of them. Part 2 approaches. For the first eighteen years being a parent is pretty compelling and absorbing business. I can't minimize how much I will miss the kids but I've gotten complacent, just sitting on the couch and being with them. I'm not up for any more rocky trails but maybe I'll walk on the wild side and once in a while drag myself out on a weeknight to hear a band.
Happy Mother's Day!