Last night it was dark by five o’clock. I guess four years living through winter in Seattle have not been sufficient to inure me to this seasonal fact. Every year it’s like the first time and I spend several weeks going “Oh, man! Gah! Dark! Oh! Potatoes, lots of potatoes, please! So dark! Yeesh!” Just you wait another six months, because soon I’ll be all “So much light! Pretty flowers! Sprouts, lots of sprouts!” Yeah. Watch this space. Maybe next year I’ll get over my incredulity at the tilt of the world’s axis and get behind the whole “seasons” thing.
So I spent this last weekend with my mom. She flew out to see me just for a long weekend and we had a lovely time. I’m still sorry she didn’t make it out for her summer trip here, but very glad she made the time to jet out here. We did very good mom stuff: brunches out, pedicures, museums, gardens, shopping. We ended up not renting Hedwig but watched Pride and Prejudice instead. I have seen that series eighty-five bajillion times, at least, and so now am at the world-weary point where I can just watch a couple of the tapes and then go to bed. Not so Mom. She had to stay up late so she could watch all six hours…I mean, she didn’t want to not know if Lizzy and Mr. Darcy get together or not, did she? It’s crack rock, that series. Crack of a very specific flavor that appeals to a certain demographic, but still crack rock. I watched another hour of it while knitting last night and read the first couple of chapters of the book before I fell asleep. Crack rock.
Anyway, we did lots of mom-daughter things like discuss the merits of rolling luggage vs. the pack you took to Italy with all the straps hanging out (rolling won the day), gossip about various family members, and consume inordinate amounts of vegan donuts. She cooked me dinner. I cooked her dinner too, and by some genius that is specific to me, I managed not only to burn everything I made but also to serve it cold. Mom ate it anyway and said it was good.
It’s stuff like that that makes me miss her and wonder what I’m doing so far away from her. I keep thinking I’d give so much to be within even a few hours drive like my sister, as opposed to an all day plane flight. To some extent being far away is sort of fun because whenever Mom and I do see each other it’s this big occasion and we do all sorts of fun and luxurious things that we don’t normally do (see above: pedicures) and we’re in great moods and are super polite to each other and buy each other little presents just because we can. I know that being closer to each other, we’d maybe take each other a little for granted and maybe sometimes be annoyed at each other and probably we wouldn’t be so free with the presents. There’s a big part of me that thinks I would very readily trade the sort of holiday atmosphere, pedicures and all, though, if I could just spend some more normal time with her, more often.
It’s weird, when you go to college across the country at eighteen. You hate your life, hate your family, hate everything about high school, and think that the thing that will make you, finally, into the person you know you could be if only people would stop putting curfews on you and making you clean your room and generally getting all up in your business, which they shouldn’t even be doing because, gah, you’re an adult now…you think that moving away from everyone you know and everything you’ve ever done will do it, will effect this miraculous transformation, all at once. And really, it’s sort of true. Few better ways to change your inside than by changing your outside, right? New friends and new contexts and maybe a new hair color or something, and what do you know, you’re different! Out with the old and in with the new! It’s great! So long, East Coast, hellloooooooo California! Right?
What you didn’t know then, and are only beginning to know now, is that when you lost all those restraints and rules and old ways of being, everything you were trying to get away from as soon as you could, was that you would also lose the good things, too, a lot of them. Phone calls and email and visits help, of course. You have to remind yourself that you don’t want to live in Miami, that you love Seattle, love your life here and more importantly, who you are here. It wouldn’t work for you to go back home for any length of time.
So that’s the struggle, every time I see Mom. I miss her a lot and wish in some ways I’d been able to stay closer to her. Probably, though, I wouldn’t appreciate her as much as I do now if I had. How do I reconcile all this, I ask you? No, really. How?