Mornings. Or Rather Mournings.

rain-on-window-glass Wednesday morning. Rain falling. Temperature hovering right above freezing. 7:00 am rehearsals looming. Labrador with an unexplained lame paw. Neighbor’s labrador, temporarily ours, needs food, water, trip to the bathroom. Dishwasher cycle (again) interrupted last night so no clean dishes. Forgot to put the breakfast pastry into the oven. Forgot my keys when I switched to my raincoat from my wool coat. Son needs shirt ironed for pictures today. Supposed gravel (actually dirt) road almost too muddy to traverse in a small sporty blue Cobalt. Late. Again.

But… 7:30 am I’m at school. I’ve had my coffee and some of the (burned) pastry. Borrowed a key from the secretary. Made it through the mud. Successfully got son to rehearsal (late, but…whatever). Dogs both fed and tucked in. Putting a stamp on Mom’s valentine to get it into the morning mail. First lesson student has laryngitis so a little unexpected break to blog.

In the last 3 weeks we’ve lost a mother and an aunt. Two funerals–one died on the day of the other’s funeral. Somehow that makes all the little things both harder and easier. I don’t have a lot of resources right now to draw on when things go south. But, somehow, it all seems a little less important. My father-in-law’s grieving face fills my thoughts, not the wrinkles in the shirt. My mother, valiantly smiling as she watches her siblings all go and leave her here alone–that’s a bigger deal than my (burned) pastry. It’s been such a strange time, really. So fun to see all the far-flung family again, to eat together and smile together just as we did when we were young. We miss them all dreadfully. To look at pictures of younger, stronger, healthier people rather than the actual faces of the gray, weak, helpless actual people, and to feel confident that they’re restored now. Really rather wonderful, except when you realize Valentine’s Day is coming and we won’t be delivering our usual flowers. Mother’s Day will come and we won’t write a silly song, as we’ve done (and complained about) for 28 years. I don’t know. It’s just all rather strange.

So I think, “good morning.” Or, rather, “good mourning.” Everything is all tangled up together. I just hope my dog’s paw is all right.


Goodbye With Grace

You are boarding the plane.  My phone buzzes in my hip pocket as I supervise a final.  It’s not like I didn’t know you would actually have to leave.  It just wasn’t exactly final until I received the text. And it’s not like New York is a world away. We have cell phones; email; I could finally figure out how to use Skype, for goodness sake.

But you’re not here. Not in my house. I can’t hear your breath when I peek in your room at night. I can’t kiss your sweet cheek and I can’t watch you while you’re laughing with your brothers and sister about nothing and everything. I will set a place for you and then, remembering, put the dish away.

Yes, we’re very different. No, we wouldn’t do well living together indefinitely. You are every bit as opinionated as I am (“bossypants” indeed!). We can drive each other crazy.

But I love you. I loved you when you were only a thought, a worry, a very difficult thing to explain to my parents. I loved you when you were a chubby-faced baby with white peach fuzz sticking straight up out of your head. I loved you when you cried, when you smiled, when you slept. I loved you through the silly fashions, through the anger, the shouting, the tears. I loved you when you couldn’t stand the sight of me. I haven’t drawn a breath in 27 years that wasn’t filled with love of you, and I don’t suppose I ever will.

So I miss you today. Go safely. May your pilot be well-rested. May the city be kind to you when you arrive. May you have work offers waiting. May you stop to remember the One who gifted us with this love and this time together.

I love you. When you’re so far away from me, that’s all I have left. I can’t love you with my arms, with my smile, with a delicious dinner….but I love you. Go with joy and hope in your heart, and the courage that comes with knowing there are people who always wait for you to come home.