First Days

I’ve had so many first days, yet each one feels so important.

First days-

So filled with hope.

So filled with promise.

So filled with possibilities.

I have ideas.

I have plans.

I have energy.

The kids are excited.

The kids have big goals.

The kids are ready to grow.

I love the first day of school.  I hope that I can hang on to this optimism and energy all year long!

 

Thank You for Inviting Me In

 

“Good Morning, Mom.  I’ve got the Moka Pot on.  Are you ready for a cup of espresso?  I usually have a not-too-hard-boiled egg for breakfast and a little fruit.  Does that work for you?”  

I was slowly waking up (foggy with a bit of jet lag) in my daughter Morgan’s apartment in Milan, Italy.  She had invited me to come and stay with her for a mother-daughter week in August.

“I would LOVE some coffee, and an egg and fruit sounds perfect!” I responded from the bedroom.

Morgan set out two espresso cups filled with steaming Italian espresso and two small plates, each with a few cherries and a few raspberries, and an egg sitting in a beautiful egg cup. “I know they aren’t soft bolied, but I just love the way eggs look in these pretty little egg cups,” Morgan said as she placed the breakfast on the table on her outside deck. 

We enjoyed a beautiful breakfast and talked about our plans for the week.  We were to spend a few days in Milan, and then head off to Lake Maggiore for a weekend of rest and relaxation.  Breakfast finished, we cleaned up and prepared to head out to see the city.

Morgan took me all around her city.  We walked through her Navigli neighborhood, took the Metro to the center, saw the Duomo and the Galleria, went to a museum filled with da Vinci, Rafael, Carravagio and other Italian masters, had lunch in a great restaurant, went to visit a few churches, and then took the Metro home, changed, and met up with some of her friends for a great dinner, complete with risotto, Lambrusco, and Limoncello! 

The week continued with visits around Milan and a weekend on the lake, introductions to friends and work colleagues, visits to palazzos and time on the beach, great food, great conversations, and just time with my girl. Our conversations were open and honest.  We talked about ideas and dreams. We were able to disagree, but listen and entertain each other’s ideas. We reminisced about old times and dreamed about the future. We laughed and we cried. We played backgammon and cards. Sometimes we were just together….in silence.

Most of the time, our adult children come home and into our lives, but this week I was invited to spend time in my adult daughter’s life.  

Thank you, Morgan, for inviting me in. Thank you for giving me a peek into the amazing and interesting and capable woman you are becoming and the life you are living. I’m so impressed and so very lucky.  I think I may even go out and buy myself a Moka Pot and a few egg cups! 

Preparing for Loss

The call came yesterday.  We’ve known it was just a matter of time, so why did it feel like such a shock?

We should be prepared for this.

“There’s nothing more they can do now,” my sister-in-law said. “They are just going to keep him comfortable until…….well, you know…..until then.”

We all broke down and sobbed.

We are not at all prepared.

Archie is 86.  He’s lived a big life.  He was a high school teacher before retiring to run a Bed and Breakfast with my sister-in-law (also a retired teacher). He is a father, stepfather, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  He was an avid sailer, skier, and tennis player into his late 70’s, and he completely remodeled the gorgeous old home that is now the Bed and Breakfast.  Archie can cook and hike and is always game to go out to dinner or to see one of his grandsons in a sporting event.  Even when he’s been very ill, he’s been adventurous. But somehow all of this still doesn’t make the thought of losing him any easier.

Why are we so ill prepared? Why don’t we know how to handle the end of life?

Now it’s just a matter of waiting. We have called all of our children to let them know.  We’ve offered to come up and stay to help out.  We have made tentative plans to drive to upstate NY when we are needed.

We cry.  We sit in silence.  We retell all the stories we can think of that include Archie (and there are so many).  We cry some more.

I guess we are preparing, but I don’t think we will ever be ready to lose Archie.  He is one of a kind.  The world will be just a little bit less beautiful when he is gone.