October 15th, 2023
I really miss my kids today… it blew into my bones with the cool fall wind and rocked me a bit. Maybe it’s because Maya is out in Colorado visiting Lucia and Jack is living in San Diego, a total of 2,704 miles away from here. It doesn’t not help that I keep driving past packed soccer fields with parents on the side lines who are wondering why they didn’t wear a heavier jacket. It might even be that everyone seems to have their halloween decorations out all of the sudden and I have no one even begging me to take them for a costume “right now!” to the pop up halloween store which always creeps me out.
I do have company though. Walter is in the car with me and rides the second row bench seat like a surf board as I stop and go. He doesn’t mind. He is the only one that can stand my driving and loves to jump in the car anytime I offer. When I shop he waits patiently with his eye on whatever store door I disappear behind and then he sticks his nose out as soon as he sees me heading to the car. Today I treated him to a puppyccino at the drive through in our new neighborhood Starbucks. (if you don’t know… you can ask for a puppyccino and they give you a little cup with whipped cream for your dog). The baristas at Starbucks are starting to get to know Walter. He likes hanging out the window in thanks, nose deep in a little cup of cream. It is really worth the stop. This time instead of my normal mint majesty hot tea, I treat myself to an afternoon coffee. This explains the intensity of the missing of my brood.
So now I am wired and a bit sad. I pull into my neighbor’s driveway to give her a hug. She and her cute husband are busy with full time careers as doctors, three little kids and a wiggly slow to train puppy. This weekend she threw a anniversary party for her parents and 170 people came out in the rain. She stands pleased with the outcome in plastic green puddle boots and a cute cowboy hat. She looks gorgeous but is exhausted. Ahh to be in my early 40’s again…. I help her when I can and wish I can give her a little slice of my time, a little taste of my peace and quiet and order, but I have earned my peace and quiet and along with it the lack of motivation to put out my fall decorations.
When I get home I unpack my pumpkins, mums, apples and squash I feel lucky the neighborhood farm stand was still open. I head down to the basement and go through the bins sorting our the fake leaves, pumpkins, sculls, bones and witches. I find fake eyelashes and Dracula teeth, halloween makeup and big witches hats. I put them aside to give to the little kids in the neighborhoo knowing that I just don’t need to keep stock anymore. No body asks me last minute for things like that.
Walt keeps pace with me as I drag my best props up and down, up and down the stairs from my eerily quiet basement. He is of little use although his mother’s Bernese mountain breed is prized for dragging big decorated carts around at festivals. I say “Walt why can’t you be more helpful?”, and just hearing my voice out loud surprises us both against the Spotify music I have playing so it feels full around me.
I call Jack just to hear his voice. He answers with a slightly sun burned face that is happy with tales of how good the surf was today. He reminds me that in exactly a month he will be home for Thanksgiving. We go over what he is making for dinner and I tell him we have booked our tickets to come see him for Christmas. Before we hang up he says as he always does..”Bye Mama.. love you.” I then check in with the girls and they are busy carving pumpkins. We hang up quick. I don’t tell them I miss them. I don’t call my kids often to tell them I miss them. They know if I do it is because it stings. Their happy voices are like water thrown over the burn. Their happiness puts out my longing.
I drag the step stool covered in dry paint and blue tape out to the porch and think of the kids in the neighborhood who will stop here to trick or treat even though our house is out of the way. They know I have good candy. Their parents go the extra block needed too as they are assured a treat of their own; a spicy, strong Bloody Mary served from my Michael’s plastic cauldron. I will top their bloody drinks with crisp celery and toothpicks spearing big fat olives while the kids trade candy and run cracked out on sugar around my empty house. For now the image of them coming up my long driveway in the dark fall night; laughing,tired and cold is enough and all I need to get the job done.