Tag Archives: California

Fractured after spring break


Spring break, that silky oasis sandwiched between the crackling of ink-smeared paper flashed by during the first week of April. It was toward the end of March my 15-year-old son began acting like he’d been sweating in the gulag for 5 years and the only thing that would relieve his prison’s pressure was … sand, sun and sleep.

“I really need a break,” he moaned one day. He sounded like a 45-year-old CEO of an underwater company with a family to support.

My daughter in California and my son here in North Carolina both landed beach vacations this year, and both in South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach, SC Spring Break 2007

Myrtle Beach, SC Spring Break 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Different coastal town, different friends but still … there they were. Each was the guest of a generous friend as well. Sometimes things work out like that. Alone and with a move looming the house mocked me with its mess. Lucky for me the Dude was able to fly over and help organize the house a little. HRD waylaid her flight to join us for a few days after her vacation so she could save some mementos from the moving wrecking ball.

Our lives lurk in every corner of every room. I could easily be a hoarder and unfortunately I understand the initial drive that pushes people to accumulate junk. How can I throw away that block-lettered paper EJD wrote in second grade? Or the pictures he drew when he was 3 years old? What about the books I read to my kids when they were toddlers? I wouldn’t be saying good-bye to the books, I’d be throwing away the memory of their joy and our snuggling when reading.

That old camera box? Might need that. Cause someday I might want to mail something small and I might need its sturdy construction. I might find the matching earring laying unused on my dresser; those earrings used to look really good on me when I wore the black dress that no longer fits. I might forget how pretty I felt if I throw away my earring.

We had a garage sale while the Dude visited and one crawler brought her tiny son with her. He looked about 2 years old. I quietly went to our bookcase on the driveway and grabbed a favored book about an old woman on her birthday and all the relatives who come to see her. The little boy grabbed the book and carried it triumphantly. He couldn’t read yet, but at least for a second he loved that book and I hoped his mom would read it to him someday.

I need to realize my memories are not gone when my flotsam is gone. My kids seem better at saying good-bye to their stuff than I am, but their memories are not alive with such happiness, sadness or regret as mine. I guess it’s time to just carry all that inside me and not store it in physical form for eternity.


Sweet Beautiful


Image via Wikipedia

Dig-dabity-nab. Dang it. I deleted a love letter to my daughter. Thankfully I texted it to her already, but I wanted to record it for posterity. Sigh.

Can’t remember how this particular conversation started. But I asked her if she wanted me to tell her what I thought of her because she obviously was under the impression I thought poorly of her. (Mom mistake #382,789) At least that is what she said. When I asked her if she wanted me to tell her what I thought of her she said, “No, because you will be mean.”

Texting her from 3,000 miles away I chuckled at her youthful naivety and assured her I would be anything but as she would see, and I proceeded to list qualities to my daughter that I felt encapsulated my little deer. I say little deer because she has always resembled a fawn to her father and me. Remarkably she said a few people in her high school told her the same thing. To me, that is her inside skittishness shining through.

The following is not an exact rendering of my words, but it is an exact approximation:

Dear daughter,

You are heartbreakingly sweet, and you hide it.

You are quick with a comeback and smart when you want to be.


Mean as a snake when you feel pushed against a wall.

You have a poetic sensibility.

Love you, Mom

When I didn’t hear back from her I asked, “Do you think I’m right?”

One word – “Yes.” Then again the deer runs into the forest. She now lives across the country in California, I live in North Carolina. When she was at home our screaming matches sometimes reached baseball stadium decibel proportions. I think the Bobcats, our local basketball team that seems to lose a lot might want to hire me for their cheering section. Easily my screams could drown out the other team’s cheering section, although I’d probably smother the sound of sirens as well which would create a safety hazard.

I attempt to justify my cavernous mouth and huge vocal capacity (that’s what we call it now) by telling my children that my volume is in equal proportion to my love. “It’s oversized, baby!” Not once did either of them buy that excuse. I’ve seen enough Dr. Phil to know I have damaged my children with my rantings. I’ve justifiably gotten mad at them but I’ve also lost composure when I am actually mad at myself, yet did not realize it until after I’d “set them straight.”

I mean, you name it I have done it. Well, OK, not anything illegal but you get my drift. So when my daughter said “You’ll just be mean” when I asked if she wanted to know what I thought of her, her reticence to hear might have had a shard of truth. Maybe I yelled too much? Too critical? I’m told this by both of my children.

“You’re critical all the time, Mom!” my son or daughter will say. I am aware I have this flaw. (It’s so minor really, if you keep turning the mirror it practically disappears.) I’m sort of mean to myself sometimes so I know my tendency would be to be mean to others.

But geez. I mean really, what do they know? They’re just teenagers. Just children.

A couple of babies, really. Sigh.