Monday, February 28, 2011

Delicious Impermanence

So I'm feeling pretty good, people!

I'd been experiencing a bit of stress - nothing horrible or totally overwhelming - just really bad and almost overwhelming.  But, things are looking up, as things often do.  I just woke up one morning and went, "Wow.  Lots of things that have been hanging over me have passed...I can exhale...a little." 

Our family experienced a health crisis that turned out to be more of an inconvenience than a life-threatening emergency.  I'll take the inconvenience any old day - although I'm not the person with the health crisis so I can afford to be all positive and all.  Also?  Ellie's college auditions are OVER.  Woot! is not a big enough word, believe me.  All of the traveling, the pre-screening work of making DVD's and CD's.....and contest pre-screening work of making DVD's and CD's is over....and scholarship stuff is done...HOORAY.  Still have a little bit to do - but nothing like the crushing wave that was looming - we're just floating along in the wake, now.

Oh!  And I even re-wrote my beginning of my novel.  This is HUGE.  Because I had just been walking around with that for a really long time and now it is DONE and all I have to do is connect some dots, add in a subplot that I had originally wanted to include but had decided to abandon, but now that I'm all awesome with my new beginning I feel that I can go ahead and add in the subplot, as well.  (And thanks, Julie and Mark, for your kind and inspiring words!)

We got Napoleon (aka Sir Humpalot) neutered.  Jasper doesn't think it went well as Napoleon is still rather rambunctious and jumps on everyone, barks all night, basically acts the exact same.  Jasper expected a Totally New Dog from the procedure.  I was like, dude, he didn't have a frontal lobotomy, he just had his testicles removed.  A lobotomy, however, might be next.

So, what else?  Let's see....I'm enjoying knowing that things don't stay the same, right?  Since a few weeks ago I was overwhelmed by so many things, it is quite lovely to recognize how they've all moved along, now.  However, at the same time, I'm really having a hard time accepting certain aspects of impermanence while I simultaneously appreciate the hell out of it.  Look at me, Julie, talking about impermanence and sounding all Buddhist!

So my kid has gotten all Big Girl and will soon be leaving.  I remember when she was a baby, maybe 18 months old or so, and she and I were having a particularly lovely afternoon together (we didn't always have those, she was a little toot, believe me), and it occurred to me that that particular moment in my life was delicious.  I couldn't think of a better word.  I remember her little bald head, her adorable eyes, her little blue playsuit, the way she slapped my hands and slobbered on my shoulder and pulled my hair.  I kissed her, smelled her, tasted her....and I knew that the moment would be gone but that I would always remember it.  That Specific Moment.  It was delicious to every single one of my senses.  I have always pulled that memory out of storage when I needed to - during a bad day or whatever - and it never lost any of its sweetness.  But I never had another specific moment with Ellie that quite matched the intensity of that deliciousness - even though in 18 years we have amassed some seriously fun and delightful times - until now.  Right now, the delicious moments are rolling over me faster than I can taste them.  Every moment with her is like a dream where my brain says, "Ooh, this is a good one...we must file this one away so that it may be pulled out later and tasted all over again."  Later.  Like when she's gone.

Last week, she and I had enjoyed a particularly fun morning (at least I did, she's probably already forgotten about it).  I was being lazy, it was the one day of the week where I had nowhere I had to be, and Ellie came in saying that she felt uncharacteristically lazy, too.  So, we slacked together.  Ellie is not a slacker in any way, shape, or form.  And for someone who isn't very practiced, I must say she did a rather fine job.  I won't say what actual slacking activity we participated in because she actually said to me, "Oh my god, mom, don't tell anybody I did this with you."  But it was something Way Fun For Me that included something I really, really love and we had a little bit-o-bonding.  We laughed a lot.  Lately, we are just laughing all the time, it seems.  I'm going to miss that.  Ellie, herself, isn't a humongous laugher, but the rest of us are often laughing at her expense so you can see how her absence will put a damper on that.  She's a literal in...quite literal, as they say, and this has afforded us many opportunities to basically go all hysterical over Ellie's literal interpretations of Things Not To Be Taken Literally.  Between that and her brother's language disorders...yeah...lots of laughing. 

So after our laughter-filled morning slacking during an unrevealed activity or lack of activity, Ellie was making a sandwich.  And I was watching her.  And I was thinking about how delicious the day was, how literally, beautifully, wonderfully delicious to every sense I have.  And without thinking, I blurted out, "Ellie, I'm going to miss you."  I try not to do this to her.  I want her to leave with joy in her heart and excitement in her soul.  So I really, really try not to get all weepy with the Abandonment Issue.

It was a moment.  My soul spoke without asking my permission.  "Ellie, I'm going to miss you," I said.  Because I am.

She turned to me, beautiful young woman on the verge of the rest of her life.  Her face exploded into a huge smile.  She said, "Really mom?  That is hilarious because just now....just right this minute...right when you said that?  I was thinking about how I can't wait to get out of here!  Isn't that FUNNY?"  Then she went back to making her sandwich, shoulders shaking with the hilarity of it all.

Okay, so sarcasm often isn't picked up by her radar, but a little irony?  Tickles the hell out of her.  As for my reaction?  It was just what I needed.  That right there is my kid doing her thing, being herself and nobody else, saying what's on her mind, and knowing full well that even though I'm going to miss her, I love her enough to want her to go....and Be.

She has a delicious life ahead of her, I've no doubt.  And I'm left with the lingering sweet memories of her childhood...memories she'll forget or never even registered....that I'll taste forever.


  1. You just enjoy to Be too! you're doing great! (and my writing is not great, so I hope you get what I mean here).
    Regards from a mother with many years of (2) children in the house to go, and not ready at all to let them be, but some time with non specified activities would be oh so welcome...

  2. Why do you write this sh*t? Now I'm all teary and sad, and my oldest is only 12. Those Specific Moments are so bittersweet.

    Of course, it's been a long time since anyone in my house of boys smelled "delicious". The smell in my house is more "funk", so maybe I'll stop being sad and feel some anticipation.... ;-)

  3. That was the first time in my life that irony has been pointed out to me and I have understood it.

  4. Ah, this was beautiful. I know EXACTLY what you mean about storing away The Delicious…as I was reading your words a distinct and perfect memory came up for me too. And then a whole bunch more came in.

    The Delicious (and it's so awesome that you call it that, because I routinely call things Yummy) is like your inner album—just yours, full of sappy sweet gorgeous memories. And I love that in your moment, as you were lovingly storing that memory away, Ellie had her moment, and it was so funny and real and beautiful. It made me even more fond of you guys than before.

    So thankyou for sharing your Delicious! Thank you so much for the beautiful words.

  5. That really was lovely.
    I don't even have any words besides that.

    Except of course that I am rarely without words, so I will tell you that I have a few of those beautiful smell/taste/love/heart moments of my own, and I pulled them all out and cherished them after reading this post.

    And I'm on DRUGS and found out I still have emotions after all...


  6. See what you did? You got me all emotional now. This is horrible! I feel like a big Girl. I come to read you blog for laughter, cars breaking down, ghost stories, horny dogs, etc... I can't handle all of this. I kiss my kids 10,000 times a day. And when I do that, I try to take in their scent. At first I thought that it was a crazy thing to do but now I don't care and all I want to do is to smell them all-up and remember it forever. I won't cry! I won't cry! I think I'm going to head over to a straight man's sport blog and numb my senses.
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. Give Ellie a kiss and say it's from me. But secretly, it can be from you. m.

  7. I think I will feel a similar great sense of relief in, oh, about 6 weeks now. Around April 15.

    I teeter-totter between being all Buddhist and going back to my first flame, which would be the big J-man. Which is where I am right now! You know, no other man can truly take the place of that first all-out love affair.

    Thanks for another beautiful blog post that (of course) made me cry.