I am back in Lenox, MA after spending a glorious three weeks in Seattle with my girls for the holidays. I must say that as much as I love being back on the East Coast, the strings of my heart are pulled west by three special women. It is hard being away from them. There is nothing quite like having your own kids. They know me inside and out, they love me unconditionally, they get all my stupid jokes, know the same movie quotes, have similar tastes and we adore being together.
We had a movie marathon party late into the night where we wore our pajamas, decorated gingerbread houses and watched movies. We saw Pete’s Dragon, a movie none of us had seen since they were little. It brought back so many memories as we mimicked Elliott the Dragon with giggles, and sneered “Peeeeteee” with the nasty foster family.
I slept on the couch in Susanna’s one bedroom apartment and Audrey was a few feet away on a hammock that she drug in off of the porch. Very cosy. It is amazing how versatile I have become since traveling around for 8 months sleeping in so many different places. I would not have expected to become so adaptable, a nice result of being a wanderer. I like knowing that I can evolve and accommodate change easily.
Alicia works at a cafe and treated us with scrumptious lattes. Even grocery shopping becomes a game when we’re together. As we raced around a crowded Safeway in a rush to be somewhere, Audrey would announce “clear” or “oncoming” when other shoppers’ carts were approaching so that I could maneuver efficiently. She also coined a new term asking that I buy “happy veggies,” well-treated, organic ones untainted by chemicals and pesticides. We then conversed with the fruit and made sure they were very happy before we bought them.
I saw more movies over the holiday than I have seen in a complete year. We watched our favorite Christmas movie, the 1954 White Christmas, for the first time on a big screen. The theater passed out jingle bells and we jangled them while Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and the “Haines Sisters” sang our favorite songs. A delightful tribute to the holiday season. We also went to the new Hobbit movie and I was enthralled with the beauty of the landscapes and completely caught up in the fantasy.
We spent Christmas Eve making and decorating gingerbread cookies, eating comfort food and playing with Pippin. We were given tickets to see the Nutcracker Suite ballet so we dressed up and attended Seattle’s delightful Sendak version that Alicia danced in when she was in her teens. It brought back so many memories for us all.
Afterward we went to our favorite restaurant and as I was in the ladies’ room they filched my phone and took a bunch of candid photos of themselves in rebellion of my always wanting to take their pictures. When I arrived back at the table, their innocent grinning faces erupted into laughter.
On New Year’s Eve Susanna organized a game party with friends, complete with prizes, hats, and noisemakers. She enjoyed being the center of attention, the Belle of the Ball, bestowing prizes on everyone during the evening. She is in her element in her world. Like me, she is outgoing and also direct, in a no-nonsense way that can be abrasive sometimes, and yet is counterbalanced by a tremendously tender heart. I see myself reflected in their lives with many similarities popping up in places I didn’t expect, or see so clearly before.
That’s not to say that every moment was perfect. Tensions arise. I don’t always understand them, sometimes I want more for them, wish for more happiness and adventure. I wonder why I don’t always just support their journey where they are, and trust that they know what they are doing. There are quibbles that remind me of how I interact with my mother, the frustration and rolling of the eyes, contradicting minute details in insignificant things. Why is this cropping up? It’s not lack of love. I know that. We are sending three journals back and forth between us. Each time one arrives we have three days to create a page and send it on to the next person. It has been a lovely way to share thoughts, art, poetry, humor, and keep connected. These books will become a treasured part of our story.
All in all it was a delight to be together and I am ecstatic that they are coming to spend a week with me here in Lenox at the end of February, I want them to see what I’m up to so many miles away from them. They are such a part of me that it feels essential that they come.
They are strong women, in so many ways stronger than me, and I wonder how that happened. How did they become such independent and self-sufficient women when I myself struggle so hard to be so? Did they do it with my help or in spite of it? I may never know really. But I will wear the locket Audrey gave me around my neck, with all of their photos inside it, and kiss their faces when I miss them, and whisper to the wind…
I’ll be your candle on the water
This flame inside of me will grow
Keep holding on you’ll make it
Here’s my hand so take it
Look for me reaching out to show
As sure as rivers flow
I’ll never let you go…
lovely–I love all you four women.
That love is returned with explosive delight.
You make it sound so easy Lori. I will try to enjoy more and believe more because of your example. xo
Life is what we make it. I miss you, Jane.
Lori, Susanna and other daughters: What a sweet, sweet essay. Lori, you have much to be proud of with those three.
Lori, what a sweet, sweet essay, and rich tribute to “la familia.” You have much to be proud of with those three girls.
Thank you, Duane. I do know I am very, very blessed. Thanks for always reading and being so supportive. Much love.