Earlier this summer Steve and I raced from one life transition to the next. They weren’t our transitions, they were our daughters’. They just felt like ours. June was a month of packing, transporting, carrying, unpacking, repacking and repeating. 3,000 miles of boxes, so many boxes (filled with love, of course). Don’t forget to pack the courage…mom and dad may need a little extra.
In June, Alex graduated from Oregon State University, with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and minors in English and Political Science. Kate flew from Chicago to join the festivities, and the four of us had two windy, rainy days on the Oregon coast where we ate too much saltwater taffy and maybe drank a little wine. Steve and I drove home to Davis, while Kate and Alex spent two weeks preparing for Kate’s wedding, and checked out Alex’s new apartment and neighborhood in Seattle (with a side trip to Mount St. Helens, because a speakeasy and a windy, rainy hike is how my girls do a bachelorette party). Kate and Brendan were married in Eugene, Oregon which was epic, emotional and just everything. We dropped the newlyweds off at the airport for their Icelandic honeymoon, and Steve and I drove back to Corvallis to pack Alex’s boxes into the Pilot and move her to Seattle. We drove home (via Eugene, because, boxes) and slept for days. In fact, we’re still unpacking, literally and figuratively. Meanwhile, Alex is working with new refugees, teaching cultural orientation classes at the International Rescue Committee. Kate and Brendan are back in Chicago, where she’s entering her last year of grad school, on her way to being an architect.
And I am back to writing 35-word stories.* While many of my stories are almost true, these are all-the-way true and I suspect, will be continued.
She designed her new life on top of the biggest hill in the city. She climbs that quad-busting, breath-taking, muscle-burning sidewalk every day. She’s not afraid of it, so neither am I.
Waiting at the aisle with our daughter, the bride. Before us, everyone we loved. I asked for a moment to push my bursting heart back into my chest. She nodded, grabbed my hand, and led.
She vowed, “I love you when we will have to compromise—not meeting-in-the-middle-compromise, but when one of us has to give up something we want for something the other needs.” Ah, yes, they already knew. **
My daughter challenges, “What if you cheered for yourself as hard as you cheered for athletes in the Olympics? What if you rooted for you, as much as you root for others?” What if, indeed.
When she calls to say, “I love this work so much, I am making lists,” we know, both of us. Proof of successful parenting, and the power of a new notebook and a fine-point pen.
*I’ve been writing 35-word stories for a while now… they force me to edit to the essentials, not too much, just enough. They start in real life, and sometimes end there, or sometimes they resolve in my imagination. This is my latest set. More stories here.
** My conflicts are showing. Here’s a piece I wrote about compromise in May.
Original photo by Joshua Rainey. Filter by Prisma.