Woman, sixty, and still trying to get it right. Stumbling the path toward the Divine. Discussing things like grandparenting, Waldorf education, child development, nature, human awareness, empty-nesting, breast cancer, and knitting luscious things once in awhile.
I'm a little bit dreading Mother's Day this year. Shannon is on call at the hospital, and my entire California family will be at Stewart Hot Springs in Northern California celebrating Zachary's 30th birthday. They rented the big A Frame! I would give....ummmmm....something very very good... (since I'm a woman and I don't have one of those to give) to be in California next weekend. I want to be with Zak. And the rest of my family. I love Stewart Hot Springs. Anyone have any frequent flyer miles just burning a hole in their pocket? Too many to handle? Wanna sell 'em cheap? Let's talk miles.
I have been gone from this blog...a long time. I know. After I moved into my new apartment I was busy settling in, while simultaneously preparing to go home to California for a visit. One word. Crazy. Crazy planning, packing, flying, visiting, traveling more (I'll get to that in a minute), marrying, doing my taxes, visiting my doctor, spending time with my mother after a three year estrangement, seeing old friends, eating up every minute of my whole family being together, laughing a lot, crying some, reuniting with San Francisco, the beloved city of my birth, and absorbing all of the beauty of California I could soak in.
You guessed it. The whole entourage was at the airport to meet us and we went directly...directly....to our family's favorite Chinese restaurant in the city, House of Nanking, for lunch. I was so happy to be home, my blogging eyes were working overtime! The one dish I pictured here were pea shoots. Pea shoots to die for.
Fiona and Temple hadn't seen one another since they were infants; theirs was an instant friendship. Both just beginning to speak, Fiona called Temple, "Baby" and Temple called Fiona, "Friend"....C'mon friend....C'mon Baby. Actually, Temple's language skills are off the charts. I mean, for a child who turned two this month to ask while riding in the car, "Window closed. I'm freezing," is pretty off the charts in my book. Fiona learned a lot from her. Wonderful family dinners: And after dinner dance parties: Our first Sunday there we were all together to celebrate Temple's second birthday. Last year on her first they were alone in Vancouver and all sick with strep throat, so we made up for it this year! It was a fun party even though it rained like a mad-dog. And Brooke's beautiful, beautiful yummy cake. Yes, absolutely all from scratch!
Here is a photo of the sweater I knitted for Temple for her birthday.
On the Wednesday when I got home from my doctor check-up, there was a big plan nearly completed. yep, that's our family with Shannon at the wheel! It had been decided that we were going to rent a 15 passenger van and head to Disneyland for 2 days! All of us who could go. Ike had gone to school with Satchel for the day, and when they got home we sat them down and played the guessing game, "If you could go anywhere right now, what would you choose?" Ike's answer, "Bumper cars." Satchel, "Disneyland"! Neither had been since they were 2. Within 3 hours we were on the road! Grampy was at the wheel, Busha riding shotgun, and all the kiddies (from 2 years to 39 years) in the back singing and sleeping and texting (to me in the front! ha! The van was so long I couldn't hear what was going on in the back!)and eating, and listening to music, and and and. Yep. It was a 7 hour drive.
We stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, which is kind of a family tradition and it is within easy walking distance to the park. We had 2 adjoining rooms with 2 roll-aways. One room for the snorers, and one room for those who didn't. I will admit I took my place in the snoring room with Zak. Satch slept with me, because he doesn't care if I "breathe like a bear like papa." And poor, poor Camille drew the short straw and got stuck as the non-snorer in the snoring room. iPods with earphones can serve a great purpose. First morning we had breakfast by the pool, a little stunned, transcultural shock, but filled with anticipation... And then one full day of Disney! In the evening the troupe went back for more, while Grampy and I kept the little girls at the hotel and then brought them over for the fireworks. It was a long, fun-filled day that will live in memories forever. I was sunburnt, had blisters and smiling inside and out. What else? Oh, lest I forget to mention....ha! Grampy, my first love, and I remarried after 40 years. It's a long, detailed story of ideas and decisions. It's a marriage of best friends and matriarch and patriarch. It's a marriage of caring for one another through thick and thin and until death do us part. Funny how things go full circle when the heart remains open and compassionate. I was so devastated when we divorced. I remember leaving an annonymous note in the church's mailbox asking the Monsingnor to offer prayers that we would stay married. He messaged me in the church bulletin to please come and meet with him, for weeks. I'm sure my despair alarmed him. I drove into the city and went to a wiccan shop and purchased a love spell candle. I stalked, hated, manipulated. We were so young. He was my first love, father of my first 3 children, and a member of my family of origin as much as me (without the DNA). He was a brother and a husband. I both loved and hated my life with this man. I didn't want him to leave, yet I couldn't live with who we'd become together. We were babies. Ultimately, off we went our own ways: viscious court battle, remarrying, having more children, divorcing. Then slowly becoming friends again. Over the years our whole gang of kids became siblings in almost every sense of the word. I loved his, he loved mine. We loved each other in a very unspoken sort of way.
I don't know all that this marriage is. It's about business and pensions and medical insurance. It's about aging and caring enough for each other to want the other to be cared for when the time comes that they are alone. It's about truly feeling that I have a partner on this earth who has my back (and I his). Who laughs at my jokes. Who respects my opinions.
It all happened at the courthouse (interestingly on April 16, the same date two of our children were married 9 and 2 years ago! This wasn't a plan, it just happened to be the best day) and our witnesses were my mother (our only surviving parent) and our firstborn daughter (who was at our first marriage in 1970). This relationship, this family constellation has no role model in my experience. It's a brand new breed of union. I do know that its founding rock is unconditional love. What more could I ask for?
On the last night I asked for a photos of all of my five children together to mark how we have grown: And as you see here, the family has grown. And you can also see that we cannot be together for very long that we don't come undone in silliness and humor. Oh how I love this.
And then the day came where I traced my steps backwards and away. Full up. Bittersweet. Gazing out the car window; sometimes capturing something I wanted to bring back to Chicago with my camera lens. Wide open and vulnerable to what my life might bring next...