Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ode to Georgie

She made sure to touch me. It was good luck, of course. Not an obvious touch, that would appear too strange, just a bony elbow touching mine. Firmly. Or her foot on top of mine, lightly but deliberately.

Good Luck.

My sister was afraid to fly. But fly she did because it took her to exotic locals. Like my sister I live for travel. I die in between my trips.

But I’m not afraid to fly. But I’m also accustomed to superstition. Why not be on the safe side? I have taught my children and my husband that indeed we must touch on every take off and landing--a family connection so strong that airplanes bursting into flames would become impossible. I have no idea how my sister came up with this particular OCD type habit. But it has stuck.

I think that last time I flew with Georgie, we were on our way to spend Christmas in Zermatt, Switzerland. I believe the year was 1988. I’m sure one of our body parts touched on the way up and the way down. I am also sure she placed me by the window so every half hour she could ask me to look outside and tell her if the plane was in a tail spin, plunging to the earth below, in a fiery blaze of fury.

“No, the plane is still flying,” I would try and reassure her.

Of course, she also had a difficult time with the bathrooms on the airplanes. She tried to make like a camel and sit through eleven hours of flying without ridding herself of any waste. But sometimes, her bladder got the better of her.

I was called in for such emergencies. “Stand by the door,” she would command. The thought of locking herself into the tiny deathtrap of a room was an unbearable thought.

I was the devoted little sister who stood patiently outside her bathroom door.

I wasn’t afraid to pee thousands of miles in the air. Not in the least. But I understood her fear on some pure level. No words were spoken. They didn’t need to be. I understood my sister.

She understood me.

I stood and guarded the bathroom door. I reassured her that the plane was still flying on course. And I made sure to be present on take off and landings when she needed to touch me.

No words were necessary. The unspoken friendship of siblings completed me.

My son Kyle has some of my sister’s phobias. He didn’t get them from her. She died when Kyle was in my uterus.

He represented life when the world looked as bleak as a world could be. Not just for me, but for everyone who loved Georgie. And there were many people who did.

Yes, poor Kyle had to bear all the love we had for Georgie and all the love we had for him. He was smothered in love. He was life, he was laughter, he was hope.

He is now an almost grown man.

I am acutely aware of the significance of his birth and its link to the death of my sister. I am holding tight to his lightness as he gets ready to leave home for brighter pastures.

I will not hold him back. I am resolute if not on shaky ground. The ground feels surreal. I never knew earth could move so quickly and violently.

Still I am steadfast.

He made sure to touch my hand as we landed at Los Angeles International Airport from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle on December 30th, 2010.

Gentle was his touch. But he touched me with intent. He wanted me to know he was there.

I have never been good at beginnings or endings.

I’m not sure I’m even good at the middle stuff.

I know, like my sister I live for the travels I take. I die in the moments in between.

Life with Kyle is like one big trip. I have been awake and alive.

Heaven sent by my sister. She didn’t have to say a word.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Things I Don't Know...Will They Kill Me?

"All my friends came up to me and told me to tell Kyle what a great job he did," Will said to me last night peering up from his computer.

"At what?" I was lost.

"The improv show at lunch time, Mom." Will tried hard not to roll his eyes at me.

The thing is, I had no idea that Kyle was in an improv show.

This got me thinking. And we all know when I start thinking, well, let's just say, no good comes from it.

But the gears of my old brain began turning. And churning.

What else don't I know? The neurons in my brain darted around the vortex. I could feel my endless thoughts bouncing hither and yon and ricocheting off each other.

Then silence. A huge, gapping hole of silence. Nothing was filling in the void. Absolutely nothing.

I couldn't think of a single thing that Kyle was not telling me, only because the scenarios were endless.

Then I stopped in my tracks. I remembered what my husband told me a long time ago. We had just met, we sat sharing a bottle of wine in a nice restaurant in NYC, as we tried to get to know each other.

I asked one of my endless probing questions. "What were you like as a teenager?"

He laughed, swirled the merlot in his wine glass and happily told me he treated his parents like mushrooms.

I looked at him questioningly.

"You know, I kept them in the dark and fed them a lot of shit."

We both laughed.

But I'm not laughing any more.

Perhaps it's better that I don't know everything, I try and rationalize. But for a "RECOVERING" helicopter mom, this thought doesn't stick.

New territory. New rules. New boundaries. New relationship. New, new, new, new, new.

The thing is, I loved the old.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coffee and Hope!

Kyle directly and conclusively told me in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to help him with the college application process. He was bound and determined to do it himself.

After I got over the realization that my seventeen-year-old did not need me anymore, I felt a wonderful sense of peace. Getting into college was up my very capable son. I took a deep breath.

I smiled.

And then it started. "Mom, can you look this essay over?" "When is my app due for the U. C.'s?" "What's my I.D. number for Oregon?"

My response, "You're essay kinda sucks." "Are friggin' kidding me? Your application is due tomorrow." And "Don't you think you should know your own I.D. number if you want to do this process on your own?"

And so it goes...and goes..and goes until you become short of breath and begin to pop baby aspirin.

In Kyle's defense, one needs a master's degree to figure out the entire college application process. It is so complicated that I caught my even tempered husband hitting the keyboard once or twice.

Everyone warned me, but I had no idea. Now begins the waiting game. Where will he get in? Will he be happy? How will I cope?

But I had a wonderful distraction this rainy Wednesday morning. I met with a group of moms who all have freshman kids at school with Will. It was delightful.

Nobody talked about college. Heck "our" collective bunch of kids were just freshman. I didn't have the heart to tell them that if they blink, they will suddenly find themselves handing their kids the car keys, and in seconds, they too will be up to their eye balls in college applications.

And then the big..."What Do I Do For The Rest Of My Life"...question begins to loom heavy on the horizon.

So, I have come to you again, with open arms. My wonderful, collective energy force of mommies and daddies across the globe. How I miss you and need you and want to laugh and cry with you again. Are you still out there? Just One Foot? Privilege of Parenthood? Mothers of Brothers? Drama for Mama? Being Rudri? Motherese? Can you hear me? Will you listen?

This post is dedicated to the mommies and daddies I have never met but to whom I have poured my heart out-- to the new mommies I met today as we begin the treacherous journey through the teen-age years with our wide-eyed freshman, and to the mommies I know and love and have grown up with in the town I live and the town I left behind. I couldn't be getting through this with out you.

Thank you for your support, your counsel, your patience. I have this strange feeling that we have only just begun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Split Personality!

To my favorite Mommy and Daddy bloggers and readers and to all my friends. In the attempt to get a life, I have finished my very first novel. I wrote about this some time ago, but since then there have been many drafts, sleepless nights, thoughts about who do I think I'm kidding.

The publishing industry is going through growing pains, but I think this opens up opportunities. I just have to find them.

Without sounding too cryptic, please visit you will come to understand my strange re-emergence. My father's death has given me a new life. Wow, that's weird. So much of what I am going through is wildly sinister and kinda' fun.

I want to have this forum to talk about my feelings, my children, my fear of separation...but then I have this other world to dable in. It is not as satisfying as talking to you each and every day.

What do I do?

I miss you all so much. I'm still here. And have to figure out a way to be two people at once.

Let me know your thoughts. And if you get a moment, stop by and say hey to my Dad who made horror films and died 33-years-ago.

All my love,
The Gal who is now being called half Goth and Half Gidget!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

They're not dead, they are just going off to college~

Too many friends dropping off their children at college this year. Too many stories of hugs and tears. Too much to digest.

I have literally avoided thinking about it all and projecting until I see a photo or hear a story and then those familiar pangs begin to pull at my heart.

"The most important job of my life is done," I heard one father say. But that's not it at all. Our kids will still need us, but just in a different way and I'm not ready for this different way.

They will call when they are sick, or hurt by a troubled love, or need money, or advice. It's the day to day, take for granted luxury of living under the same roof that will be gone. And if not gone forever, forever changed.

Since I began writing about this separation process I have begun to understand the magnitude of this simple event--dropping your child off to college. For our generation, the generation of ALWAYS being there, the separation feels like the great divide in the Grand Canyon. Why is it so much harder for us to let go?

For lots of us mommies, we happily gave up careers to raise our tiny tots. And those of us who figured out how to work and ALWAYS be there, we happily gave up sleep and any time for ouselves. And then they leave us. So quickly. And that's what is supposed to happen.

I have little to say to my friends who are just back home, walking past their son or daughter's empty room. I say stupid stuff like, "Your child is going to be so happy!"

Inside I know what I want to say, "Cling tightly to their ankles with all your force and don't let them step across the threshold. Hold on tight."

I'm selfish, I know. I have a year to learn how to put my child's need before mine. I thought I was doing this for the last 17-years...but was I? Are my needs and my kid's need inexplicably linked?

To all my brave friends, I applaud you. Wildly. And cry as much as you want. You deserve it for a job well done!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Beginnings!

Tuesday my boys started school. It was Will's first day of High School. I sat at home struggling to get ready to leave the very next day.

Yes, you heard me. I had to leave for NYC the next day. Now, in past years I would never of dreamt of leaving them right when school started. I would have been too afraid that they might need me. But this year a situation presented itself, and I took advantage of it. Not only did I leave, but Tom came with me.

This is only the second time since we had the boys that we left together.

Of course, I appreciated Kyle's call on Tuesday afternoon to meet at the local ice cream store for our annual tradition--first day of school means ice cream for everyone.

Then, the next morning I said goodbye to them and got on an airplane and left.

Now, don't go picturing this scene as all grown-up and pretty. As Tom and I sat on the bus to the airport I suggested we turn around and return home. At the airport, before my flight, I broke down in tears.

Now, in fairness this was not just because I was leaving my kids. I had a big work related thing going on in NYC and it wasn't turning out as I had hoped. I had a tantrum. I've decided I'm quite good at tantrums.

I was there to introduce my father's films at the Film Forum and as it were a new book written by him "From the Grave!" Now, don't go saying that your Dad can't write a book "From the Grave!" If anybody could, he would and it seems he did. And he sent it to his fans, wrapped in butcher paper and tied with old twine. It is copyrighted William Castle 2010... and it smelled exactly like the cigars he smoked.

But this story is not the intent of this blog post. This blog post is intended to scream to the world that I really didn't miss my kids at all. I mean, by Sunday I couldn't wait to get back home to them. But, I loved being with Tom. He spoiled me. I spoiled him and we were in the city were we first met and fell in love.

It was wonderful.

I haven't worked so hard in a long time. But, it was great.

We had dinner after 10PM and climbed back to bed after 2AM every morning. We were young again for a few days. But quite honestly that's about as much as this old body could take.

I haven't left the house since I returned Sunday. Everything hurts.

But I learned something. I had a life before kids and I will have a life after they go off to college. That's good.

Here's the bad part. I don't have the courage to call my friends who are dropping their eldest kids off to school this year. I can't imagine what they are going through. I don't want to go there yet.

My turn will come soon enough.

For now, my kids are happy at school and we all watched ENTOURAGE together last night. I will try and control my urge to do the countdown. I will not start marking off, this is the last time...

But I must squeeze just one more in there...this is the last time I will write about Kyle's first day of his senior year at high school.

I should probably warn you right now not to read next year's post. But there are a lot of days between now and then. And I'm sure too many topics to cover.

Hopefully I will be all grown-up by then.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Back!

I can't believe it has been a year since I started writing this blog. I began last year, the first day of school for my rising Junior. Today he is a senior and what a ride it has been.

My youngest son started high school as well.

Kyle drove Will home from school and called from the ice cream store. "Mom, it's the first day of school. Come meet us. It's tradition."

I raced out the door to meet my boys.

I haven't blogged in quite a while. I have had too much to say. It will have to come out in small pieces.

The summer has been a whirl wind of ups and downs. I feel like I have been on an constantly moving teeter tooter. Highs are good, the lows sad.

And then so many of my friends are packing their kids up for college and I barely have the heart to call them. I feel the pain of childbirth with each breath I take.

Slow down. Oh please slow down. Breathe deeply.

For anyone in the New York area I will be at the Film Forum for a retrospective of my father's films. It would be so great to meet all of you I know so well but have yet to meet.

I promise to start writing again. I miss you all so much. I have felt an emptiness in my sole (funny how I wrote sole/soul) since I left you this summer.

Slowly, the stories will enfold. Difficult ones, funny ones, ones I have yet to process. I can't wait to hear all about you.

For now know, I have a boy who has one more year at home with me. Make sure I cherish the time we have together.

And check out a weird occurrence. My father is back "From the Grave!" and blogging...

I know he would love to hear from you too.

Kisses from a mother on the verge of great expectations!