When you become a mom, you moan almost daily about the mess your kids make. Then they go to college and come back during holidays, leaving a mess, but are finally so grateful for your cooking, you totally forgive them. Then they move back after graduation, become your friend, resume the mess, wonder what to do, then tell you they’re moving to Seattle.
Then they actually have the audacity to leave.
I finally understand how my parents felt when I pulled out of their driveway, also in October. A friend and I drove my dad’s 1971 Chevy with 100,000 miles on it, to California. My mom cried for months before I left, until she realized she could visit and finally see the Price is Right. She was appeased and, I think, secretly thrilled for me.
And what do I do, now that all my cleanliness wishes have been granted? I miss her. I do things like wander through her room and marvel at hardwood floors hidden under piles of clothes for years. I look at the huge pile of stuff I’m going to have to take to Goodwill, briefly fantasize about strangling her, and miss her again. Then I wonder what she’s doing at that very moment.
I followed my daughter to Seattle in a van filled with all her stuff and I’m thrilled for her too. It’s a totally cool city that reminded me of Pittsburgh. It has hills, trees, interesting sculptures, even a troll under an overpass, and a slightly industrial vibe, with people who really seem to care about the environment.
And it rains! For Californians starved of any noticeable weather for months on end, rain is a thrill. Jackets, sweaters, scarves, boots, a cozy corner where a girl can read a book, lovely roommates, two snuggly cats, and a sweet boyfriend who’s always there for you, are a thrill too. Plus a fantastic Cuban restaurant within walking distance, scrumptious Thai food, and great coffee everywhere! I think she’s going to love it there, once she’s done sleeping. She was completely exhausted.
And I’m excited for her to start her new life. It was rough going, just trying to leave L.A. We got a late start, then tried for four hours to get to our freeway which was closed because of fires. Traffic was ridiculous.
Milena and Dado(a friend since Junior high)in her car, and me in mine, sang ourselves hoarse just to stay awake. We had to deal with a jerk hotel operator at 4 am, then a wonderful man at another hotel who made us forget all about the jerk. Then she had a flat on the freeway in Oregon, which was how we met a nice cop and a lovely man working at a tire store, with a daughter my daughter’s age. He got some better tires on her car that got her safely to Seattle.
That’s how life is. Sometimes what seem like curses take you straight to blessings filled with wonderful moments and people. Here’s to everyone out there, trying new places and doing things. Embrace it all, you never know what happiness even the not so great moments can lead to.