I hate being away from this work, this project (this blog and writing it) for that long but sometimes other things intervene. Last weekend my partner was at a conference/workshop all weekend out-of-town and I had planned– with a somewhat simple plan involving a sleepover and a long day for her with the family– single mom and two daughters– with whom we have been sharing this parenting journey almost since the very beginning. My daughter went to their house to sleep over on Friday night. She has done this many times and most of those times she has barely let me kiss her goodbye, but last Friday she did let me kiss her goodbye when she got into their car, pressed her hand to the window on the inside, for me to press mine to the window on the outside. I kind of knew something was up.
At 10:45 she called me and very shyly and circuitously let me know she was lonely for me and when I asked her, “Do you want me to come get you?” She said, “Maybe.” And I knew she needed to come home. I was a child who was endlessly homesick and people rarely knew what to do to help, so when I could, I came home and when I couldn’t I usually struggled in a very lonely kind of way. I was happy to be able to get my daughter and bring her home and very happy that I knew there would be easy cooperation and no judgment from my good friend, D.– the mom of the household where she was. So I did just that. And when I asked my daughter how it would work for her to go back to their house at 7:30 or 8 a.m. so I could still make the two-hour drive to the workshop I was planning to attend, she said, “No, and if you stay home, I’ll do anything you want to do all day.” So I cancelled my plans– sad to miss the workshop, and happy to be in the position that you are so rarely in as a parent (or at least I am so rarely in) where it really is ok if the schedule goes completely differently than how it was carefully arranged. And aside from 1 and 1/2 hours in the morning when I finished the previous post, Migration, she and I spent hours together doing mostly the things she loves to do– and in the afternoon and evening we went back for her to spend hours with D. and her two daughters and another girl– but with me there. Just like we used to when they were two and three and four. It was a wonderful day with swimming and playing and a new-to-us park on a very sunny day and dinner and then D. and I just talking and laughing together until late while we let the girls play after dinner.
In the morning my daughter and I met up with another family–a threesome like we are, except they are man, woman and son– and I insisted over strenuous objection, that we would bring my daughter’s bike to the playground. And damn if she didn’t learn to ride her bike– setting up bigger and longer challenges for herself as she biked from one end of the cement yard to another and around again.
And where I have been and where my mind has been since then is as follows. One hectic work/ school week and then we left for the midwest and lots of family– for the Bar Mitzvah of my younger (of two) and very, very wonderful, nephew. I am still full up in my heart as I my mind reviews again and again–the gorgeous Shabbat morning service; the music of the service which at at least one point had me, my partner, my mother and my sister crying in our different seats; my nephew and the lovely young guy he is and what he did with that day; his accomplishment; how much he is himself; my sister’s speech to him; my daughter’s newfound ease and claiming of space in a synagogue; her role with that of another young Jewish boy we love– opening the Ark (the place in a synagogue where the Torah resides); my older nephew chanting the last part of the Torah reading for that day. The bar mitzvah is worth more telling which I will do at some point soon.
We came home last night to the late eve of another work and school day for each of us, news of a not insignificant unauthorized charge on a credit card which will have to be dealt with, and my daughter’s summer reading program pre-program reading assessment which raises many concerns about her learning to read and write. It makes rise up in me all those complicated feelings of being a parent; love, protection, worry and more worry, more protection and more love. On that I will also write more. But I am glad to be back so-called but not really– pen to paper, words to screen.