My boy. My big 'ol boy. He's getting ready to leave on a two month working road trip tomorrow morning at 4am. My big 'ol roadie. He's headed for Las Vegas and then Michigan setting up music festivals. He's traveling with his buddy, Jesse, who has been his buddy since high school. I love Jesse. They are a good team. Jesse's dad worked for Bill Graham for years and hooked them up. They are really looking forward to this crazy experience! It's a whole bag of tricks: hotel, food, good pay and the opportunity to explore their own music with great musicians.
So these two guys, these two young men getting ready to hit the road...and two moms behind the scenes doing their child's laundry, one more time, for the trip. It makes me smile. It's not that they can't do it themselves or don't want to. It's about them trying to save every penny to have a cushion on the road if they need it and not having a washer and dryer for free anymore. Even the price of the laundromat could break the bank in their books. So they say. And I think, too, it's about two mama's happy to do it.
So I ended up with a duffel bag full of stinky guy stuff in the backseat of my car. A big, neon orange duffel bag that just screamed DANGER - Open at your own risk. But it was a portal back into my heart. It was a pleasure to wash things, to add mom's touch. To actually sort a crazy rumpled mass of dirty clothing into whites, colors and darks and to use bleach and fabric softener. How long had it been? Surely the return bag would blow his mind! To pull the warm fabric from the dryer and hold each clothing piece in my hands and look at it carefully. To lie them on the table and smooth slowly to perfection, holding every moment, and fold. To make them perfect for him, so that when he's on the road and quickly pulls a shirt from his bag he stops for a split second and thinks: Mom. And in that split second he feels loved and safe.
It was a study of its own to read the logos and get into my boy's head again. I didn't let him wear logos when he was little. I didn't believe in them (which might just become a whole other blog post some day) But now it's his choice and I have to say my favorite t-shirt of all times is one that has what looks like a madonna and child and reads Spicy Little Dumpling. Why that tickles me so I do not know, but I am in love with this shirt.
To take notice of his quirks and creativity. Like, I began to notice that a lot of things were a dusty purple color like in the dumpling t-shirt - he clearly decided one day to fill a vat of purple dye on the stove and recreate his wardrobe. I think I folded eight more shirts that very same color. Oh and matched socks that color too. It was a purple kind of day.
Assigning a day a color reminds me of when he was three and he had this made up game. We would all sit around the living room and he would run in a circle in the center of us and would stop and point at someone and call out, "YOU BE_______!" There he would fill in some random word, like a number, or a word like: lemonade!
You would then raise your hand and shout out the word. And then he would call back, "And I be special!" And thus went the game ad infinitum.
So it went like this:
Alex, putting on the brakes in front of me: Mama, You be 15!
Me, quickly raising my hand up high: "15!"
Alex, taking off on a run again, matter-o-fact: "I be special!"
Alex, putting on the brakes in front of his dad: Daddy, you be 22!
Daddy quickly raising his hand up high: "22!"
Alex running again, stops in front of his big sister: "You be lemonade!"
And so it went. AND, sometimes he would randomly stop and point back at you and you had to remember and call out your last assigned word once again. Oh you had to be on your toes for this kid!
And so yesterday I thought as I washed and smoothed and folded, "Alex! You be purple!"
Alex is fun like that. He has this uncanny ability to bring fun anywhere he goes. He's quick and bright and enthusiastic. He's big in a room. His 6'6" fills the space, but so does his 6' 6" personality. He always finds humor in the moment, and has some bit of trivia to share. His big brother and sister often accuse him of Talking out of His A**" but truthfully he is a wealth of knowledge. His facts are often random, but they are factual and interesting. You want him on your team in Trivial Persuit.
Monday we spent the day together at the ocean, and while driving out to the beach we talked about nutrition and he gave me the whole spiel about the pineal gland and cravings. I was impressed and I learned something new from him. He kind of is a walking book of weird and true facts, facts to spice up you day. We talked about so many things and then he spent the night at my house. We called Camille and Zak and they came for dinner too. It was exactly what I needed to fill the space of his hitting the road.
He is kind of a spicy little dumpling.
I'm going to miss having him around these next two months. Oh but what an adventure!
Godspeed, my boy.
I love you.
Ended up in the ER yesterday morning in Truckee with an anaphylactic reaction to the cleaning agents I was using at the cabin. Serious swollen, red face and lips, hives all over my body, breathing difficulty. And of course, really cute my age doctor! Going to make this my profile picture on facebook. hahaha You just gotta laugh at yourself sometimes!
It was attributed to the cleaning agents because nothing else was different to my morning from other mornings. No meds, no new beauty products, oatmeal for breakfast, blah, blah, blah. It started after I had been cleaning for about an hour. I was using was Mr. Clean, Windex, Palmolive dish soap, and Kirkland brand laundry soap. I don't use any of these things at home, so they were the difference.
This photo looks like one of those photos you see in the paper: "Do you recognize this woman? She was found wandering the streets in the Tenderloin and doesn't remember who she is or how she got there. She was wearing rather nice jewelery so we suspect she belongs to someone. Call the SFPD with any information..."
I'm all better today - just worn out from all the drugs they pumped into me and taking it easy back here at home.
Painting with watecolor. Making butterflies. Wrapping rocks. Smelling the still pine needles in the sun. Heading out soon for a hike. Smiling.
All I had to do was have faith and be open and all this was right there all the time. These heart stones were literally at the bottom of the front steps just as you see them up above when I walked outside to smell the morning mountain air. It gave me goosebumps. It was magic!
I am in one of my favorite places. The cabin I rented is all that I had hoped it would be. I've found lilacs and dogwood. Today's hike was long and as beautiful as I remembered. Not only am I getting great exercise, I'm eating well. I'm writing and reading and doing art. Drinking tea and listening to the wind in the pines.
But I'm back indoors and I feel an unrest inching its way into being. A sadness and lonliness creeping in so I need to write. While it has been sunny and pleasant, still the wind has been blowing strong all day. I know it could have something to do with that, because I'm sensitive to the electricity in the wind. I woke up loving the breeze in the pines but it has worn me out.
I also watched a beautiful video this morning that was a tribute to a young man who lost his life to cancer yesterday. Zach was 18 years old when he died. He wrote a song called Clouds for his family and friends to have when he was gone. It went viral on You Tube, and as a gift to him and to raise money for cancer research, it was taken up by some famous folks. I know this poignant three minutes of his family and friends singing along with his song broke me down to a raw place. RIP Zach Sobiech. I don't think I need to say that actually. You were peace on this earth. Thank you for touching my life today and teaching me how to live a little bit better. My heart is broken for your mama. Your family. Your friends. You? You are carried on this wind to a place beyond perfect.
Another thing that comes to me is the fact that I have not been focusing on people who laugh with me and enjoy life with abandon. There has been a lot of depression surrounding me. Only here one whole day and I miss my family terribly and I know that is because we are pretty full of joy. I guess this makes me glad for how I am feeling because it makes me appreciate what is in my life but missing right now. In this moment. We have a pretty awesome group. A group of people who make the best of life. I am so grateful for my children and my friends.
What I agreed with myself to do while planning this vacation, was to do it alone so that I could just sit with these feelings as they come up and see where it leads me. It's a practice I've been learning. Sit them through and wait them out. It's only the second day and I'm seeing it's a waste of my dear life, my precious moments to sit out sadness when happiness is waiting there for the asking. And it is time for me to fill my life back up with joy. Surround myself with those people who have a zest for life like I do!
Just writing this and filling my heart with what I know I have is healing. I am learning the lessons I set out to learn on this vacation, I guess.
Here is a poem I wrote today:
Up here at 5000 feet
I'm closer to God.
The wind tore through the pines today,
Dust swirling in mighty French twists,
And broke me open.
Someone soared to heaven
And I stood on a mountain top
I searched forever to find a heart rock
To wrap with twine and hang on the wall.
I don't think I've ever searched so hard
fo my Beloved.
I found a heart
But it was too huge to carry.
So I came home empty handed.
Tomorrow is another day.
Another precious day.
I wait with outstretched arms.
On Monday I'm leaving for a little cabin in the woods. I'm spending five days at my beloved Donner Lake.
I recently realized that I have not taken a vacation that was not with children, to visit children, or to care for children since 2007 when I went to Stewart Hot Springs.
I looked back through my blog posts and found this one from then and laughed because it was also titled Solitude. I reread it and was filled once again with the knowing of who I become when I explore the world alone. How rich and full up I am with gratitude. I am so damn excited!
So next week. Hiking and exploring by day. Reading and relaxing in the hot tub and sauna by night. I am finally going to be able to step upon the call of my dream I wrote about here: The Pacific Crest Trail. The main focus of this getaway is to meet my mistress. So to speak. Finally. I have yet to see her. Ever.
So I've been devouring books and studying my topographical maps. Wearing my hiking boots around the house and local trails with and without the insole inserts. Adding weight gradually to my day pack. Counting the years, then months, then days until I tread upon her for the first time.
This is actually just an introduction. I turn 60 in November and will begin the trek the following Spring. The plan remains to take about a year and a half - two years to complete the hike in segments. So this little five day adventure? It's just, say, a coffee date.
My road with my mom has been blessed with diverse terrain, that is for sure. Being a young adult in the 80's, when claiming victimhood of our parents was prevalent and popular I learned how to hate my mom real good. Yes, there were hurtful events during my growing up. And I grew up in the atmoshpere that we don't talk about it outside our front door. That was the greatest of all betrayals in my mother's eyes. So I swallowed a lot of pain.
But I know today, with her at 90 and me at nearly 60, that I can say with certainty that my mom never woke up in the morning and asked herself how she could screw her daughter up that day. I trust that mom did the best that she could with what she knew.
And now? Now I like to focus on the good things she did and not the hurtful. The kind moments. The thoughtful gestures. Her strengths as a mama. Don't get me wrong, I am no saint! She still gets under my skin sometimes and I am shorter in temper than I'd hoped to be. But now I feel as if I have learned how to love her better too. We come back to center more easily. And everyday I thank God it happened while she is still on this earth with me.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. We are here together for a reason. Thank you.