About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

In a Cracker Jack Box

And the musical question is, “Where did you get your driver’s license?” I was fulminating about the humanoid who occupied the best parking space at the PO this morning [yes, it’s my week to go get the early portion of the mail] with no sign of going in to get his mail or ever moving from the spot – I had to circle the block four times before I found a space – and I was mourning the melted ice cream leftover from my breakfast during early morning seminary.

The rationale for ice cream at breakfast? The car needed gas, and we needed hot chocolate, and then we saw the Blue Bell display, and they had pints of Chocolate Covered Cherries, our favorite. The seminary teacher shakes her head over some of the things that LittleBit eats during seminary: a pint of ice cream one day; cold pizza another; two strawberry kolaches and two Bavarian cream kolaches, with the un-jellied portions nibbled away, and then the jellied portions placed jelly-sides-touching and consumed in a ladylike number of bites; and sometimes a Breakfast Jack or a bacon potato taquito. [We are nothing if not omnivorous! Sometimes we even have cereal or yogurt or smoothies or cinnamon toast. I know, that’s really pushing things, but every so often you just have to step outside your comfort zone and try something conventional.]

So, there I was pulling away from the PO with the little dab of mail that hardly justified the trip, around the humanoid who was still parked in prime space, navigating among the construction barriers, signaling for my turn, and realizing that I had turned exactly one block too soon and was nosing into a one-way street, the wrong way. I immediately said, “Oh Cr@p!” and saw that nobody was coming. I still had time to nose back out again. All this to the immense and gently-grinning amusement of the guy waiting to cross at the crosswalk.

This is what happens when you think you are functioning reasonably well for someone who fell asleep about midnight and woke at the usual 4:00. And it is a trenchant reminder of what one of my old boyfriends used to say about pointing a finger at someone and finding several more pointing right back at you.

Which reminds me of something that happened when Firstborn was about three and a half. I was not the type to voice my opinion of the driving abilities of my fellow motorists. [That would be the other parental unit, who learned to drive in NYC. No cussing; lots of yelling.] One day I was out shopping with Firstborn and her baby sister. We hit a pothole in the parking lot at the Big Box Store, and the car shuddered and lurched. Firstborn’s little head whipped around toward the back window, and she hollered indignantly, “You jerk!”, because she thought somebody had hit the back of our car.

I told her that nobody had hit us.

“Oh. [long, thoughtful pause] So *you’re* the jerk, Mommy?”

A foreshadowing of what the years between 11 and 19 or so would bring. It is a testimony that the age of miracles has not passed, how well she and I get along these days. And a lot of the credit for that goes to 1BDH, who kept telling her when they were first together, “You need to talk to your mother.” “Give your mom a call.” He has been so good for her, and to her. Not perfect, any more than she or I are, but a good man at heart long before he rededicated himself to Christian principles. And such a good father to Lark and to her sister Willow, who in the strictest legal sense is not related to any of us, but is nonetheless his child and therefore Firstborn’s daughter, and my beloved grandchild.

I love that in gaining my second son, I immediately became a grandmother. People ask me, “How old are your kids?” and I start working my way down the list from 29 to 17. “How old are your grandkids?” and Willow will be 20 this week, Lark 14 next week, BittyBit 3 a few days after Christmas, and we are sneaking up on three months for BittyBubba.

It was so much fun to stop at Firstborn’s last night to pick up that last load of wash and observe Lark giving my best friend’s twin grandsons a bit of Soccer 101. They are new to the game and playing with kids who have played for a couple of years. They’ve had one practice and two games and not a whole lot of fun yet because they have no idea what the coach wants them to do, and when he rotates and substitutes, they think they’ve done something wrong. Lark is a good tutor for them; they like her, and she likes them, and she’s wonderfully patient with kids.

This whole athletic thing is all pretty new for me. I’ve told Lark that while I am proud of her for her athletic ability, it’s something I don’t relate to at all. She can pretty much count on me to be there for her choir stuff and the occasional indoor game [she plays volleyball as well as soccer], but if it involves fresh air and sunshine and pollen and getting sweaty, no. I take medicines that stipulate I should minimize my exposure to sunshine.

Most of my girls have found physical activities that they like. We all love music, and most of us are excellent dancers, and some like walking and yoga and rollerblading and kickboxing. LittleBit is the most relentlessly physical of us all; she wanted to play soccer, and she likes paintball. But we are all very much girly girls, and none of us is built for running. So my sons have opened up a new world for me: 1BDH plays soccer and builds race cars, and 2BDH is a black belt in tae kwon do, and Middlest’s hubby is in the Navy and has gone from semi-sedentary computer geek to Drop-and-Give-Me-50 Fit Military Geek. Fourthborn’s fiancé is perhaps the most deceptive; he looks like your basic starving artist, almost as skinny as he was in high school, but he is redneck-once-removed, and he can work like a son of a gun.

My dad would have loved these guys and related to them. Dad grew up as a Colorado farm boy who never walked if he could run. He learned how to drive when he could barely see over the steering wheel. I think he was eight? And when I was a baby and my sister was a teenager, he could beat all her male friends in tennis, but he wasn’t the nasty-competitive sort. He was just that good. When I was in high school and he was pushing 70, we played badminton, and I had to work for every point, but again he wasn’t being mean about it.

I only just realized it while typing, but I think I get my vigor from him. [And some from Mom’s mom, who could outwork all of us combined until she broke her hip in her early 7o’s. Mom was a strong, resilient woman, but she was in awe of all that Gram was able to accomplish.] This has been a year of one physical challenge after another – following closely on the heels of a year that was full of emotional challenges – and I am deeply tired, but I am not exhausted. Now that we are out of the old apartment, even though we are surrounded by dozens and dozens of boxes, and dust, and chaos, I feel as if I am beginning to catch my breath.

I need to find my printer paper; I have five rows left on the current chart for MS3, and I need to print off Clue 6. And I’m wondering if I can catch another hour of sleep before the alarm goes off.

I wore my new skirt to work yesterday, salt and pepper tweed with black lace at the hem. Very “Stevie Nicks flirts with Ralph Lauren”. And on my feet, I discovered about 10:30 yesterday morning, socks that I only *thought* were black. I need brighter light bulbs in my new boudoir!

When the dust settles and my toes are completely healed and I feel like knitting socks again, I want to make a pair of lacy black ones to go with this skirt. And hrmmm, I wonder if the languishing Elann crop cardi would go with the new skirt or if it would bring down the Tweed Police upon me?


Tan said...

When we lived in New Orleans I pulled onto a one-way street with a car full of Young Women. I never really lived it down. It was at night, that's my excuse.

Lynn said...

Correcting myself: 1BDH plays *hockey*. Hey, it was 1:30 when I wrote this. Give me a break!

Jerry said...

The new skirt sounds very pretty. I had to sort my socks by color because in the morning I don't focus too much on color. I try to be the "good" driver and I accidently turned down a one way street well only 5 feet and stopped. Their was a police officer coming the other way and he just smiled and realized I caught myself. Mrs Twisted giggled because she liked the blush of embarrassment on my face. She turned and said you never make a mistake when you drive and when you did the police were there to see. He was smiling because he knew that the drivers wife would make him regret his actions much more than the any ticket. I really do pride myself on driving safe and she knows it bothered me. I love the idea of non-standard meals. We love Pie for Dinner or breakfast at midnight. Always entertained..... Ty