Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just Say Yes

If you will indulge me a little bit, I've been deep in memory of what my weekends used to be like when D was alive. The cancer limited his mobility and stamina, and he was a creature of habit, so our plans rarely varied from weekend to weekend. Friday night brought a trip to a great Mexican food restaurant (and even there D would order something healthy and not touch the chips and salsa!). We'd end the evening by swinging by Barnes and Nobles to get a magazine and playing, "Where's Tamborro?" This was an updated version of "Where's Waldo", except we'd look for a man who was there every Friday; the grandfather of a boy my kids went to school with. (Our kids thought we were pitiful for continuing this game weekly and even texting them when we found him.)  If D found him first, he'd stand next to him in the books and look interested in whatever book was nearby until I found him lurking there. I'd usually have to back out of the aisle chocking laughter. And hoping that sweet older man did not know he was part of our game.

Saturdays usually brought us to a local movie chain that serves food. D's energy level could usually handle a movie or a meal. This theater gave us both. Following a late afternoon show, we'd go home and D would catch up on a TV series he was watching on NetFlix. (Boston Legal, Mad Men and Army Wives were favorites.)

Sundays found us the the back row aisle seat of church so D could maneuver in and out easily with his walker. We went to Sunday School where a sweet man always had  Post-It notes with our names on them stuck to the two chairs nearest the door. After that, we always went for brunch at a restaurant in a cute little town near us where D worked. They, too, saved the booth nearest the door so D would not have to travel as far with his walker. After a great meal, we'd take a tour of the town and look at all the great restored bungalows. It was our dream to buy one and fix it up. It honestly never occurred to me that would not happen. Sunday afternoons were my time for a delicious nap, with D fussing that I was wasting the weekend. I was gone teaching during the week, so he spent quite a bit of time home alone. On the weekends I think he just wanted me close by all the time. 

The routine was very soothing to him as his cancer ramped up. I tried to replicate that journey last night: getting food to go from that same Mexican food restaurant and grabbing a magazine from Barnes. (Alas: no Tamburro in sight.) It made me remember when Married Daughter was about 3 and her dad used to share a snack with her. Believe it or not, it was smoked oysters on toothpicks with crackers. I remember she asked for them one time when he was not home. When she tried one, she seemed visibly disappointed that, "They don't taste the same without dad eating them with me." I could say the same about my travel last night: just not the same. Obviously.

I have found that more and more of my spare time is being spent in my classroom after school and on weekends.  I'm in a new grade, so it is somewhat like a new job in many ways: quite a learning curve.  There is just no reason to hurry home for the first time in my life: no husband or children waiting or needing something. So, my second grade classroom and students are the recipients of more attention than usual. I'm pretty sure this ramped up classroom caring will result in many of them getting early admission to Harvard this spring.

Kidding. They are totally Princeton types.

So, I'm still looking for balance in life. And I continue to take the advice of Married Daughter: "Mom, you say "yes" to anything anyone asks you to do." Those "yeses" have led me places I've never been before; many a little odd.

And saying "yes" to life? Young Son is still cycling across America and has covered over 850 miles from Austin, Texas to Grant, New Mexico. He updates with location and photos often from his iPhone onto Facebook. I "swiped" these pictures from his Facebook for my blog. He'd be impressed with my high-techness.

And here is Young Son wearing one of D's cycling jerseys in front of a field of sunflowers in New Mexico. Triumphant and saying "yes" to life.

Godspeed, Chris. You are a great companion on this road of life.


Gina said...

My empty nest and husband working out of town is no way like your loss but I too have found a new joy in opening myself up to new opportunities.
Bless you. sent your blog address to my friend who lost her husband to cancer in July. Hope she will find it as encouraging as I do.

Locketts said...

So glad of a certain surprise Yes that will bring you to us this weekend! (Please don't publish this until after the party, and don't judge my poor little cake. It's going to taste yummy, but definitely won't win any beauty pageants.)

Craig Weeks said...

The photo by the storage tanks is something I would expect to see in a gallery.

Anonymous said...

Yes, like Autumn, I am glad you said yes! No word can describe how your friendship has blessed my life over the years!!! You are an amazing woman of God!!! God is going to meet you and love on you every step of the way. Sometime I don't understand his path for much pain for one...but...I know God has brought good out of them all because I see the results! Love you, Patty R.

Nicola said...

Mrs. O,
Your eloquent writing brings me to tears! Thank you from one of your future "Princeton Parents"!

V....Vaughan said...

HI R....OH PLEASE TELL CHRIS that he is doing something I ALWAYS wanted to do...still might, some day! My sister Sam and I were planning such a trip but then her plane crashed :(
will try to watch his Facebook to follow along! GOOD FOR HIM!...hey, tonite is the first home game for the Dragons. Mr. #10 is getting clippings from SCS (he was proudly telling his girlfriend about you the other day), and there are just 6 games left in the season! Please let me know if/when you want to come sit by me:) I have your ticket!