Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let It Snow...and Snow

The snow everyone's been anticipating is finally here.  We ran around yesterday taking care of errands that we knew shouldn't be done on a day that's expected to be a pain in the neck.  Everyone was complaining. I had to drive downtown, but I'm glad I was down there when it was rain and slush, not ice and snow. 

When I got back, I took the dog for quick walk.  He was loving it.  Jumped up and down, playing in the snow.  I stopped to realize how ridiculous it is to be sitting inside watching the snow fall, when I can be out enjoying the moment.

My son came home early from school.  Ahhh...Freedom!!  He didn't stay inside.  He went out to play in the snow.  That's living right.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Facing Down My Fear

Last week there was a tragic story of a bright, 21 year old woman, on her way home from work.  Her car spun out of control and she died in the wreck which was so bad it shut down the expressway.  Her father was quoted in the paper reflecting, "I'm so glad I had a chance to tell her every day that I loved her."  Every parent's worst nightmare.

Imagine the irony for me when a few days later I went to a visitation at a funeral home for the elder parent of someone I know.   My husband and I couldn't find a parking spot anywhere near the place.  I was stunned to see a line of young people wrapped around the building....twice.  I stopped to ask if we were all visiting the same person.  No.  A young woman turned to me and said, "I don't know if you heard about the accident that shut down the expressway the other day.  This is for that girl."  My god.  Her parents were somewhere in that funeral home.  They were living through their worst nightmare.

My son will be turning 16 in a few months.  I've been making all sorts of excuses to avoid going to the DMV to get his permit so he can learn to drive.  I'm the giddy parent who stays up late at night looking forward to the phone call that it's time to pick up my son.  It's not an aggravation for me.  It's always a relief.  "At least he's not driving."  I freeze every time the phone rings early in the morning.  Is my daughter safe?  Did she have an accident on the way to work?  I know.  It's just me.  I do have reason to fear this.  My younger daughter had an accident on her way to high school.  She looked down to change the dial on the radio and slammed into a parked car on the side street.  The owner came out and told her he was calling the police.  She told him, "Oh, don't.  I've just called them."  She lied.  She had called us.  That gave us the opportunity to pay the owner gobs of money to repair his car and avoid legal troubles for my daughter and a spike in the insurance.   She lied.  Not smart.  But, I always thought she'd make a great attorney.   She lives in the city now.  She takes public transportation.

My older daughter called me in the middle of the night once when she was in high school.  The middle of the night.  "Mom.  I hit a police car and we're going to have to pay."  How's THAT for a call.  My husband and I drove to the scene of the accident.  On the way I was kicking myself for leaving my passport at home.   Damn.  That was the only thing keeping me from leaving the country.  My heart dropped as we approached the site.  HUGE lights were up as police were examing the scene.  What's happening?  Is my daughter ok?  I saw my old car that she was driving.  The minivan was crushed.  I had just put $700 into repairs.  Oye.  It turns out that she didn't hit the police car.  The police car hit her as she was turning.  He was answering a call for, "shots fired, " and was going down the street at a reckless speed.   She was wearing her seat belt.  Her car was pushed so fast, she nearly hit a lamp post, but she managed to hold on to the steering wheel.

Now it's my son's turn to send me over the edge.  I mean it.  I'm too old for this.  There's a funny You Tube video of a gal who says, "I ain't got no time for this."  That's how I feel.  Yet, the other day, I put my big girl panties on and asked my son if he wanted to try driving with me.  He looked up and quietly pulled on his jacket.  We went to a nearby cemetary.  I know...if anything happens, we don't have far to go.  Ha ha.  But I let him drive around the path.  He drove in reverse.  I told him to think of the geese in the road as people crossing the street while texting.  They're not looking at you.  It felt wonderful to be able to help my son grow. 

Blago's daughter turned 16 this year.  He wasn't there. I'm grateful that I can be there for my son.  I'll take him to the DMV, not because I want to, but because it's his right of passage as a young man, and I can be there to soak it in. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guilt By Association

Holy cow!  I've been following the downfall of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.  If I were to leave a theatre in which the movie was about Jackson and all the other lives that have been brought down due to their association with Rod Blagojevich I would say, "What a great story.  What a great movie.  Who is the brilliant writer?"  Jackson illegally used campaign funds to treat himself to crap like Michael Jackson souvenirs.  $750,000 down the drain.  The investigation began once his name was in the mix of people who went knocking on Blago's door when Obama's Senate seat was open.  There's nothing wrong with suggesting you're the right replacement for the job.  You just can't show up at the door with a bucket of money.  It doesn't look right.  Elvis memorabilia might have worked. 

I'm grateful that the only people who don't want to be associated with me are my children.  But can you imagine if the very sound of your name being linked with someone else causes an F.B.I. investigation, a look into your tax returns, a snub, a cold shoulder, a chuckle,  a roll of the eyes, a deep sigh? 

What's in a name?  Honor.  Jackson's father, the Rev. Jesse, worked his whole life to serve his community.  You can argue that he did it for show, etc.  You can argue that he preaches family values, yet has a second family on the side.  I personally believe that after Martin Luther King died, Jackson saw an opportunity and ran with it.  Now all the good work and accomplishments mean nothing.  He'll be associated with his son's name.  The guy who bought Michael Jackson's fedora. 

I wonder what Blago is thinking as he reads the story.  "Serves him right."  "Ha ha.  I'm not the only one who was nailed."  I wonder what his children think.  "Mom.  Can we use your maiden name?"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Returning Home After Guilt Trip Is Sweet

I've been working away from home for the past two weeks.  In a way it's like prison.  You're free, of course, but you leave everything behind. I felt guilty since my husband had all the responsibilities of taking care of things here.  I was incredibly sad to have missed my son's basketball games.  So many little things come up that you can't attend to, because you're just not there.  I couldn't help my son look for his lost gift card.  My daughter needed help with her car. My mom didn't have someone to take her to the doctor's office.  It's not vacation.  It's literally a guilt trip.

Getting back the other day was sweet for me.  So nice to hug my son who was sleeping.  Grateful to help my mom with simple errands for an entire afternoon.  A visit with my father-in-law who has moved to an assisted living center was comforting for both of us.   There was a last minute change in my son's basketball practice schedule.  No problem.  Happy to pick him up early.  Grateful that my husband didn't need to leave his office to do this.  I took my son to the grocery store with me last night.  We were just happy to be together. My husband and I caught up on our favorite t.v. show.  Simple things, they say, are the nicest.  They're right.