They leave, shut the door,
grown up children, back to school
Give away my heart.
They leave, shut the door,
grown up children, back to school
Give away my heart.
I was so sure it was love…
my children are older than I was when we first met. I was a sophomore in college, you, Mark, were my anthropology professor. I was immediately taken with your dark, smoldering eyes, a glimpse of power.
I learned quickly that I could make your bad moods disappear. I’m not sure you noticed it but within minutes your childish grumpiness would turn into a low, throaty laughter. You sat behind your desk, head thrown back in laughter wearing your dirty, beige, cable knit sweater,t he one you wore almost every single day.
It was the first time that I had ever felt such intense emotions in my life like a stagnant flower suddenly coming to life again, bursting to bloom. He flirted, his stares were a few seconds too long, my cheeks flushed with pleasure, my green eyes stared back.
There was a moment, captured in my memory, when I sat in your office and I held your young daughter in my lap and happily played with her hair. She cooed so sweetly with contentment. I hadn’t looked at you at all but lifted my eyes for a second to find your eyes staring hungrily into mine, your mouth half-open.
You had awakened in me a budding sexuality that I had rarely felt before. I was naive, I had felt attracted before but never this way. I went from being a girl to a woman without him ever touching me.
I remember sashaying down the hall to see him, for the first time after summer break, 25 pounds lighter, noticing my hips move and my ass, firm and tight, feeling wonderful. Back in the seventies, we wore black leotards and jeans, clogs and my brown hair was lush and long. He definitely noticed the change with his long stare, I felt beautiful for the first time in my life without his approval. I loved the way I felt, my hair in two long brown braids which he used to tweak, as if we were both in middle school.
I’d like to think he was being “good” for me, to spare me pain and himself trouble but I heard, more realistically, that he had gotten into a lot of trouble in the past and this was his enforced “no-fly zone.”
Truly, this man was a louse, a monster but I was caught in the whirl of his intensity and his charm. I felt sorry for whoever he was married to although ultimately she divorced him. I knew I thought I loved him, more likely it was too many years of blind infatuation.
If you ask me why, I obsessed about him I honestly can’t tell you. Maybe it was the game
of not getting what I wanted that was so appealing, maybe it was the first sensation of awakening sexuality. I’ve always been attracted to “the first dance” of romance, where you feel the flush rise to your cheeks, and your eyelashes stay closed a couple of seconds longer than usual. It’s all a game, a wonderful, sensual, romantic game.
The only think he did for me other than not having sex with me was this: he hated graduation, he never attended. When I found that out he wasn’t going I was devastated. He asked me if it meant something to me if he attended or not. “Yes” I said but he made no promises and we never spoke of it again.
“Commencement” as I’ve written before, is a nice way of saying good-bye. During the procession, I saw him standing in line in his black robes and colorful ribbons, his majestic glory. That was the one thing he did do for me, he came to graduation for the sole purpose of wanting to make me happy.
I never regretting loving him nor did I regret continuing to love him, if it was really ever love at all, because it was a love that was intense and pure. One sided, of course, but it took me from being a girl in love to being a woman to love without him ever knowing.
We were best friends, William and I, all through college and I had hoped we would be friends all our lives. Long ago, when we were 18, he wanted me to be his girlfriend and I wasn’t ready to be anyone’s girlfriend, I was scared and emotionally immature. We went to one formal dance together, he arrived holding a dead, limp, rose.
True, his smile could light up the darkest day and to me he was an absolute beautiful, and handsome man, blond hair, brown eyes, someone I could trust and talk to but he talked with his mouth open revealing a mound of mashed potatoes. To this day, I can picture that sight.
If it was now, I would say, “Dude, where are your manners?” but at 18, what did I know? I didn’t know one single thing. I did know that we made a pact that if by a certain age we weren’t married to other people we would marry each other but I would bet a million dollars Billy wouldn’t remember that.
Everyone called him Billy or Bill even now I would refer to him as Bill but during the glory years of youth he was my William. People in our dorms were sure we would get married. After we graduated I wanted to move to Boston, mostly because I thought William was going to live there. I moved, he didn’t.
What finally made me wake up and truly understand William and relieve all the guilt that I had (he had made me feel guilty for years) for not dating him was when he called me, years after we graduated and said he would be driving to Boston and he wanted to visit. I said “YES, ” absolutely and he would stay over at my place.” This was it, once and for all I wanted to see what we had between us, obviously it was something.
He said he would come on a Friday afternoon, sure I was a tiny bit nervous but excited. I waited for him all day and night. This was long before cell phones. I didn’t hear from him, he hadn’t given me an exact time or day so I thought for sure he would arrive on Saturday.
Saturday and Sunday came and went, I was worried, very worried that something had happened to him, a bad accident, he was involved in a serious collision…something serious must have happened for William not to have come or call.
Or so I thought.
I literally waited all weekend for him to show up but he never did, never called, first I was very disappointed and after that angry, very angry.
The man I had trusted and loved, through and through, yet not wanted to date when I was merely 18 just changed his mind and didn’t think about letting me know. I had finally reached him during the middle of the week and he said “Yeah, I didn’t think about calling, I changed my plans.”
Who was this guy?
Apparently this was the guy that deep down I knew existed, or some part of him that I didn’t like. This was hard to take, for me, but for him, maybe he wanted to punish me or maybe he really was just the guy, across the table, with no manners, eating with his mouth open, full of mashed potatoes.
He came to my wedding, after that, I never saw him again. I finally realized he was never my best friend, he just made me think he was. I still remember his birthday but I let go of him a long, long time ago.
*Name changed to protect the guilty.
During my college years (which I can remember vaguely but with fondness) I always needed SOME sleep. I never was one of those “all-nighter” students, I needed at least four hours of sleep. My main problem and yes, it has carried on still today is that I hate the taste of alcohol (hang my head in shame,) so I wasn’t the wild, party girl type. 6:00AM was right in the middle of my sleep.
6:00AM was ONLY for the love of my two sweet young ones, 21 months apart. We called my son “the farmer” he was awake every morning at 5am toddling in his little one piece sleeper to wake me up because “he didn’t want to miss anything.” When I think about it, he’s still the same way now at 21.
Our daughter, came screaming into the world and kept screaming. I was up with her many times a night so if it was 6:00 am or 3:00am it was just to pick up my sweet girl, hold her in my arms and feel her body immediately relax.
That’s what it takes if you want to be a mom, like I did. I wanted to be a mom since I was six years old, I became one at 33, after two and a half years of painful and emotionally draining infertility treatments.
So at 3am, 6am, sure I was tired. But holding a crying baby in my arms, was nothing short of a miracle to me and it never upset me or made me mad. I was able to hold my baby as I sat in the rocking chair, all my dreams having come true. Who was I to complain?
foliage – amber – wicker – aroma – sweater – cocoa
My older sister and I came home for Fall break to visit our parents in Vermont. We tried to come home together in the Fall when leaves were turning amber and red, and we wore thick wool sweaters with, of course, down vests over them. We didn’t do this often (or often enough as our parents continuously said) but it made them happy and I had to admit it was nice being home together. The four of us and our golden lab, Sadie. We sat around the fireplace in our living room snacking on white cheddar cheese and Carr’s water crackers and sipped mugs of mulled apple cider. We were, mesmerized by the sparks of the amber logs and listening to the hissing of the fire, talking until our voices lulled like the ending of a softly sung lullaby.
Our mom told us to go upstairs, knowing we wanted to catch up on “sister talk.” We flopped on my bed and sure enough my sister who had questioned me for months about my ” so-called secret” just stared at me.”Oh fine” I’ll tell you, but it’s nothing, I swear.” It wasn’t a big deal at all but since I hadn’t wanted to tell her in her mind she had inflated it to be some sort of romantic mystery. I knew though, she was NEVER going to stop asking me even if we were in an old age home together gumming tuna salad sandwiches when we were 85 and 90.
“UMMM” my sister asked impatiently, “continue!” “I sighed, older siblings can be so bossy…”okay, okay I had a huge crush on Robert.” There, are you satisfied?” “No, she said, ” THAT’S IT?, Why didn’t you go out with him?” I just starting laughing, I knew she would be disappointed and I was enjoying myself.
Luckily our mom came up to our bedroom with the aroma of hot, homemade cocoa with marshmallows wafting in the air carrying a tray of two steamy cups of hot cocoa and a plate with her famous butter cookies right out of the oven. She looked at us with that Mom radar and said “What’s going on in here?” We both laughed and at the same time said our usual response, “Nothing.” She sighed and we yelled after her, “Thanks, Mom.”
As soon as she closed the door behind her my prosecuting attorney aka my sister demanded details, I said firmly “Look there is nothing to talk about, you dated him and after I met him last time we were home he stayed after the Thanksgiving party and helped me clean up and we talked for a long time” “That’s great! she said, You would be perfect together, date him, he meant nothing to me”. “Oh no, I said, not a chance in hell. You dated him, remember? NO WAY. “Oh get over yourself, so what, it was a fling, I have NO interest in him at all.”
Apparently my sister had a lot of “experience” but it just wasn’t my style. There was no chance I was going to date anyone who had dated my sister first. She rolled her eyes at me and said “You’re just being stupid,” and then I simply nodded to signify the conversation was over. I paused dramatically for about 10 seconds on purpose and then said slyly with a devilish look, “besides, I could never date a guy who pronounced foliage as foilage, could you?” We both burst out laughing hysterically, holding our stomachs. Some things we could stand for, others, like mispronouncing words, we could not. We must have laughed for ten minutes until our mom, called us down to help with dinner, even then, it was hard to keep a straight face.
Photo credit to photographer
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I am 83 now and in my day, when I was growing up in Europe as a child, are parents and grandparents taught us to have impeccable manners. Yes, we were “old school” as my grandchildren tell me. It didn’t matter that we were poor, and couldn’t buy things, it mattered how we acted. We acted like the sons and daughters of kings and queens. We had no money and were poor but our family was very strict and we were taught to be courteous to everyone. As girls, we had no freedom at all, we did what our parents and grandparents said, there was nothing to think about, we did what they told us to do, never could we question their choices. We did not KNOW that questioning was an option because back in those days it did not exist.
I married a man, who was of course, the son of a European father and mother. He was not wealthy either but our styles were the same. Manners were natural to us, culturally we were very alike which I think is very important. When after several years we moved to the United States of America we were shocked when we found out that not everyone was raised the same way. It took years for my husband and I to learn to adjust to people who didn’t know to say “Thank you” or “Please.” If an elderly person had no seat on the tram we automatically got up and offered our seat to them. I thought this was what everybody did. I learned the hard way, that most people did not do these courteous things. But, then again, I had lived in a much different world. I made sure however, that my children and grandchildren learned these manners and I am proud of them.
Today young people can do so much more, they are free to make decisions, they have so many options, oh, how I envy them and delight in their world. They can have careers, go to college, be parents and work, it is so exciting! We were never allowed to work, our only job was to be mothers we had no choices back then. Imagine now, if young women had no choices, there would be an uproar, good for YOU! You have come such a long way and I am glowing with pride, look at what you accomplished that my generation could not, vive la différence! Celebrate young women, you have achieved so much in a life time, a different world, where you are equal, where you can do whatever it is YOU want and not be told what to do. Congratulations!
little bird, you don’t have to apologize for having a new home, i understand completely. I said the same things to my parents when I was your age. I remember thinking that college WAS my home and of course it is. you come back for some vacations, you have moved on and will continue to move on and out. Don’t you think I know that, of course I do. I understand and I support it and I am proud of both you and your sister’s independence, the grown ups you have become. If I shed a tear or two at times, it’s okay, I’m not good at transitions, I never have been, starting from when I was a little girl. Don’t take it too seriously, please. You know I have always been the most sensitive person in the planet and always will be, at times it is both a curse and a blessing. believe me, I have tried to change myself for years but as you know, it really hasn’t worked.
i’ve told you before that I just need a little time to get used to things, even on vacation. when dad and I were dating long distance, he knew i needed 24 hours to get used to him again, some people are like that, its not better or worse, it’s a personality trait. not everyone is as incredibly adaptable as you and your sister,where you both got that trait from we have no idea (okay, maybe my mom) but dad and i are thrilled you both have it.
I was fine saying goodbye to you today until i heard your sweet voice asking “you’re not even going to hug me?” do you think i didn’t want to? could i say no to you? I ‘m laughing at the thought of me not wanting to hug you, of course i did, just didn’t want the flood gates to open up, kind of like now. waiting for that darn transition to kick in (it hasn’t been 24 hours yet) I am writing this for me and for you, and you know how i get when i feel like i’m writing something mushy…not a sight to be seen. you’ve seen it many times before, but now i’m also laughing at myself too which is a very good sign. I know that you are happy and independent and i am so proud of the person you are. my goal in raising a son, was to bring up a good man, truly. when i found out we were having a boy, i was honored, blessed that i could try to make a difference to help shape a boy to become a wonderful young man.
you have become all that and more. you know i feel that way. sometimes we don’t even have to talk, we know what the other one is thinking with a look, or a smile or a quick nod of your head. this gift will never go away, no matter where you or i live. we are connected. forever. so have the best time of your life, and, because i’m a mother, it’s in our handbook to also add “please be safe.”
i love you.
Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from). See all answers
I’m escaping from STRESS and I’m taking my husband with me. I can’t possibly hang on much longer with my twisted, achy stomach which might very well be an ulcer or worse, losing weight, and being tired and upset. I’m watching my husband feeling down and defeated and unhappy too. I’m taking my husband, my best friend, whose stress level I share and intensify, out of here.He needs a new, good job PRONTO, in the computer field (something about Software and Engineers and Project Management) where people are not mean but decent and NICE. It’s been too hard, waiting for the pink slip which is coming except they don’t even GIVE you a pink slip anymore. Now, they just take you into a room, avoid your eyes and mutter about lay-offs. The unemployment drill.
Let’s sell the house, then tell our kids in college, take the nutty dog with us (she’s always up for an adventure) and rent a van, or small mobile home. We can become the baby boomer hippies we never were. Let’s go down to the basics, we don’t need all this “stuff” that you, okay WE cling to. Imagine, having no agenda, no plans, no watches. We’d be living on money from the things we sold. Our college kids might even have to work (Gasp, what’s that??) Let’s go cross-country (you never believed me but I meant it.) Maybe somewhere we can settle down and open a breakfast place or lunch, maybe ice cream?
Let’s go now, before we change our minds. We won’t sell the CD’s, because the one thing we need, wherever we are, is music. Music makes us happy and we need to sing loudly out the windows with joy. Our dog, Lexi, hanging out the window having a blast. We will sing all the oldies, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez….just to name a few. No stress? Sounds like heaven to me.
You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech. See all answers
I am NOT going to give you a long and boring speech. (Pause-wait until applause dies down.)I don’t remember what was said at MY graduation; you won’t remember much here either so I will keep it short. I want you to remember two words: HAVE FUN. (Applause) Actually, make it 5 words because otherwise I will get hate letters from your parents: Study hard and have fun. For those of you who are going to college, the next 4 years of life will be an exciting, amazing, playground. Appreciate every moment, every friendship, every single thing that you learn. It won’t ever be like this again. Think of these four years as the best years you will ever have. Study hard, work hard, and get fabulous grades. Make us all proud, but more importantly, Be Proud Of Yourselves. Try and help make the world a better place. I know you can do it. CONGRATULATIONS!!
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own.
i’m either coming down with the mamas blues or the cold/ flu blues because something just doesn’t feel right. oh lord these bitter cold temperatures are really hurting me, hurting my chronic pain bones and muscles. we went outside for five minutes, i started coughing and couldn’t stop. now my eyes are welling up but you know me, that could be for already missing my son who is leaving tomorrow to go back to school. the anticipation of him coming home after birthright was so intense and seeing his smiling cheerful face at the airport and after looking at his photographs and the way he spoke, he grew up a lot. he could understand how i felt too. i just need a little alone time for transitions, 24 hours at most for this. he’s leaving home again but i think it’s mostly because he was overseas and i was so eager for him to be back in the u.s. and the excitement of it all. sharing my old memories with him.
dan and i both like when the kids are at school and we have time to ourselves and i don’t have to make 3 different meals that gets old so fast. but tonight, i just want to cry because everything moves so quickly, that what i had been waiting for, was over like a snap of my red, frozen fingers in the icy air that stung like a bunch of angry wasps or bees.
our daughter has been back to her college for a week already and she couldn’t wait to go back to school to be with her friends. i didn’t blame her, she was bored out of her mind here and we were getting a little annoyed too. sitting in her bedroom watching tv and eating was doing us all in. if her brother hadn’t gone away for 10 days he would have been bored to pieces also. two very different personalities, he always needed to be entertained, always, “mama, play with me” endlessly while she (more like me in that sense) could play by herself with her toys and dolls and stuffed animals for quite a long time, happily.
two children, well, young adults, our son is 20 and our daughter is 18, they will always be our children to us, but they are not children any longer. i used to have a lot of their baby pictures around, special ones, but last year i put them away because it hurt too much to see them. when they loved and needed me best. i needed to realign my life away from the past and guide it to the future.
i try to keep my life, our lives in the present but once in a while, like tonight, one can get a short stabbing pain or two, getting older, watching our amazing children having fun. i think sometimes we are envious. once in a while i focus on the sadder things to come in the future but i work hard to “not meet trouble halfway.” i know now i will readjust my focus, for 15 minutes and do something soothing, i will feel better physically tomorrow. i will listen to music to energize or soothe me. maybe i will write without punctuation, without editing and capitals, i always loved e.e.cummings., the poet, when i was young. i can turn my head back now and laugh. everything is going to be alright. we are all responsible for ourselves. please don’t forget that, me, and every single being.it’s so important. may your life be a good one, may you help it to be even better.