Monday, October 5, 2009

The Big Smoke Out

I sat in my living room last night and popped open some champagne and lit up a Don Diego cigar. I don't usually drink champagne and smoke cigars on Sunday evenings but last night was different. Last night I was trying to commune with my father.

I had worked all day yesterday on the horror story I am writing. I needed inspiration. I needed Dad. Dad would sit for hours detailing story lines and manipulating budgets, and the whole time he would be puffing on his cigar. I hoped my cigar would give me inspiration.

I quickly became a curiosity around my house. The kids thought it very strange to watch Mom smoke, let alone smoke a cigar. I enjoyed the fact that I could still surprise them.

I watched the smoke swirl up into the air. Beautifully it danced into the recesses of our home. Unfortunately it would linger long after the cigar would be put out. The awful smell would remind me of Dad and of years gone by.

Concentrating intently on my work at hand, I didn't notice Will looking at me. Finally, I caught his smile.

I looked at my Will with delight. Earlier in the weekend we had measured our heights, back to back. He was now taller than me. At five foot eight inches, I was now the shortest person in our family. This made me both happy and sad. I was happy that Will was getting taller for his sake, I was sad because I knew that his growth spurt was yet another marker of time.

At that moment, I put away my foolish cigar and ceased trying to create the horror story I had been working on all day. I had no more energy for anything other than Will. I was keenly aware that I needed to be with him at this moment. I wanted to be with him.

Balancing my silly life in movie-land with my wonderful role as a mother has never poised a problem for me. There was no balance to strike. Being a mother was the most fulfilling work I could ever do. But now that I know that my time is freeing up a bit, I feel like I have to try and figure out the rest of my life. I know that I am not alone in this search. I am part of a generation of women, who were told we could do it all. And now, staring at empty time and wondering how we are going to fill it, I find that I am part of a revolution of women who are trying to reinvent themselves. But it is harder than it appears. We bring with us years of self doubt and long standing question about what we really want.

My father always told me I could anything I wanted. I trusted him. I realize now that lighting up that cigar last night was not my attempt to conjure up his creative spirit but to honor our loving father-daughter relationship. "Dad," I want to ask so desperately, "If I could anything, what should I do now."

I know his response. "You can do anything you want, dear."

At this moment in time this seems utterly impossible.

My musings were masked by Kyle's complaint from his bedroom. "Mom," he screamed,"My room smells like cigar smoke!"

I laughed to myself. I felt a bit naughty. Perhaps I can do anything I want.

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