Friday, November 30, 2007

Miracle on 35th Street

Oh Lord, am I ever grateful for this past week-end!

While I sorely missed my outrageous Mom, who at 93, lives independently and plays a cruel game of Scrabble, I knew our calls and cards would expand our day to day gratitude for each other.

My dear friend’s family adopted me as their own for Thanksgiving. Festivities royale ensued, culminating with the opening night of the “Opera Cake”. Consider dense mocha cream, drizzled with dark chocolate, slathered between layers of light pastry, richer than all of us at the table. Presto, the smoothest disappearing act on record.

Friday, my “just turned 21” daughter came in from Philly. My love for her abounds right along with my admiration. Her loyalty to her life’s direction and to those she loves, her clarity on choices in creating her life and adding to the lives around her, awareness of the next step on the path she envisions, all serve well. Challenges? You bet. I trust she’ll deal with them in her own time.

She flitted around me as she always does. But first we shared the warmest of hugs a mama and her baby girl ever knew, replete with I love you’s and snuggly kisses. The afternoon flew by filled with personal news/views, dinner, then out came the moon and out she went to explore her old city with old friends. On Saturday, her newly- engaged best friend (whom I adore), traveled in from Stonybrook, Long Island to share some time. She’s working with troubled teens, some of whom cannot look her in the eye. I recall a time when she was in the same place. I’m moved by her courage and compassion.

I’d already come to terms with the fact that my son would not be visiting for the holiday. He recently moved to New Mexico to teach in Santa Fe schools and produce events with a national dance organization, and had tickets to visit in late December. But a sudden death in his girlfriend’s family reformulated his plans and, suddenly, there I was in Andrew’s Coffee Shop, unaware of the frenzy of Macy’s during the holiday season, sitting across from both my children. I looked into their eyes. Who knew those moments I noticed in their early interactions in their worlds would become a leitmotif, softer around the edges, a silver thread really, connecting the baby, toddler, child, adolescent, and young adult. Beautiful, imperfect beings, inspired by all this planet offers, actively concerned with what it needs.

Lunch ended. The girls left to shop. My son and I wanted a place to “catch up” and had limited time. Where do you go in this season around 34th Street, NYC for quiet? Macy’s, 7th floor. Men’s overcoats.

As he tried on different styles and sizes, we shared thoughts on the new shapes of our lives. When I asked him what he’d like for Chanukah, he replied, “I really can’t think of anything, Mom. I’m happy.” And with that I received my gift. He was happy.

All too soon he needed to catch the train. We stood near the track at Penn Station holding each other so tightly. I love you’s. The love between mother and son. Mother and daughter. Joy. Family history.

Moments we didn’t know how to live through then discovered placing one foot in front of the other as slowly as we needed to was the answer.

We embraced forever. And ultimately, slipped back into our selves once more. I returned home in tears. When the feelings had lifted, before my daughter and her sweet friend returned, I sat on the couch with Gracie, connecting with my inner spirit, asking G-d how to make our family good-byes less painful. Do I avoid them, meaning not see my children? Or perhaps I experience the joy fully, bringing more light into the world? It wouldn’t eliminate the pain but I think I could live with it knowing authentic happiness reflects in the world. Yes. A good enough choice.


Shirley said...

Hi Vicki:

I'm choked up by the outpouring of love and joy between you and your children. And astonished at how beautifully you write! How precise; how eloquent! Thanks for sharing these moments with us. G-d bless you. Shirley

Sharon said...

You are partially responsible for the woman I am today, don't underestimate the influence you have on the people you love, and that love you.
<3 Sharon

Deb Chaney said...

Vicki, I am seconding Shirley here. You are a profoundly amazing writer. I am also inspired by your honesty, passion, vulnerability and love. I feel like I could learn so much just by hovering around your kitchen table. I hope I get to do that some day. THank you for your kind note on my blog. Much love in 2008. Deb Chaney

Anne said...

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful.
I heard you tell the story and was touched then. To read it today, Aaaahhhh. Love Ya Girl! Anne