Wednesday, November 23, 2011

California Here She Comes

Yesterday, I closed my daughter's door to keep the cats out to spare her cozy, pink throw from becoming a blanket of white fur until she arrived on Jet Blue for her Thanksgiving visit to California. Yes, I said "California." Not "home." That's how she put it to me.

I'm coming to "California."
When I get to "California."
While I'm in "California."
Upon landing, I texted her "Welcome to California."

I guess that means she's a "New Yorker" now.
And I'm chopped liver.

I'm wondering if that means I can clean out her room. You know the one in California with all her stuffed animals, scrap books, mementos from childhood, high school, and college?

Do you suppose it would be OK to convert it to a sewing room? I guess it's a moot point since I don't sew. But you get my drift.

Of course she was wearing black. And boots. She looked quite sophisticated and as I watched her approach the car at Long Beach Airport I thought, "Well she really is all grown up."
After all, she has been living in New York for almost two years. She really is an Editorial Assistant and she really does ride the subway every single day. She really does have her very own apartment for which she recently purchased a chair that is more expensive than any chair in my house.

She has a nonchalance about her that can only come from living in the most frenetic city in the world.

Gillian left home.
I never did.
Mother left home. And came to California.
Where I still am.

It's an interesting phenomenon - leaving home - going to the big city - taking a risk - uprooting.

I'm still adjusting to having moved from North Orange County to Long Beach! Every time I go back to Anaheim, it feels like home.

Maybe that's why my daughter is just coming back to California. Maybe it's because we moved away from her childhood home a long time ago. Maybe Long Beach will never be home to her.

Well, never the less, as they say, "Home is where the heart is." I'm glad my girl feels secure enough and independent enough to live out her dream and adventure in New York City. And if New York is home then she knows she can visit California any time she wants to. I'll be here waiting with open arms to greet her - but not to hold on to her. No clinging allowed. I'm a big believer in letting go - no matter how hard it is.

It's Thanksgiving. My girl is snuggled into her pink blanket. Soon, the aroma of the turkey cooking in the oven will fill the house. The table will be covered in linens of gold, orange, brown, and green to match the fall leaves on the ground around my one deciduous tree. It may not be Central Park. But it's home.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Magic of Mayo

On my wall hangs a cross stitched verse from a song that reads:
Not often enough
We reflect upon the good things.
And those thoughts always center around those we love.
And I think about those people who mean so much to me
and for so many years have made so very happy.
And I count the times I have forgotten to say
Thankyou and just how much I love them.

Made by Mayo.
I am thinking a lot about my friend, Mayo.
Mayo who is everywhere I look.
On my walls.
On my shelves.
In my books.
In my kitchen cabinets.
There isn't a room in my house that doesn't have a piece of Mayo in it.
Even the guest bathroom has a watercolor from Priest Lake.
On the way to the garage there are pictures of our sons, as children in cowboy hats riding wooden stick horses and as young men ready to graduate high school.
My home is filled with pictures of our two families intertwined in good times and in bad.
On my dresser, in a small brass frame, there is a photograph taken by Mayo of my father in a familiar pose on the beach in San Clemente digging a sand castle with Mayo's daughter, Melissa who was no more than four years old.
Mayo's photographs capturing every gathering, every party, every important moment are everywhere.

Mayo was one of my first calls when Daddy dropped dead.
And Mayo was the last person with me by my Mother's bedside the night before she passed.
Mayo took the last pictures of Mother and me together.
Mayo was the first one at my door the day I got a sudden and shocking phone call that my beloved student Ben's father had killed himself two weeks after Ben had started college.

Mayo can turn a trinket into a treasure.
She helped me with every Tri-School Theatre show creating "gift items" to sell.
Countless trips to Shinodas
Inspired descriptions of keepsakes -
a Beautifully faceted acrylic violin for Fiddler.
Customized Noah's Ark gift cards for Children of Eden.

The Brian Shucker Inspiration Award was created in Mayo's living room.
Mayo's home holds memories of my first bridal shower over thirty years ago - a kitchen shower at which my ignorance of kitchen utensils became obvious with each opening. At that shower, Mayo gave me a recipe box filled with hand written recipe cards, a trifle bowl, and a cook book holder. I still use them.
My children now grown, still fall asleep at Christmas time on special personalized pillow cases made by Mayo. My Christmas tree is full of Merry Crismon ornaments.
When I put together the Beatrix Potter themed nursery for my first born, Mayo made matching accessories.
A framed cross stitched Beatrix Potter picture with the name and birth date of my daughter stitched into the image.
September 16th - a birth date shared by our two eldest.

I met Mayo in the assembly hall at Rosary High School on book buying day my Freshman year.
Turned out, Mayo was my French Teacher.
Mayo was my Drama Teacher.
Mayo was my Typing Teacher - even though Mayo couldn't type.
Mayo moved away in my junior year. My cedar chest is full of letters from Mayo.
When Mayo returned the next year, she was expecting a baby.

I remember sitting in English class on March 9, 1977 when Sr. JoAnn announced over the loudspeaker that Mrs. Crismon had given birth to a baby girl. The announcement was to the whole student body - but I knew something they didn't. That baby girl was named

I remember getting a phone call when I was away at college, that Amy had had a cerebral hemorrhage. Amy went on to be involved in Tri-School Theatre. I sang at her wedding
I remember getting a phone call just before Mayo was headed in to have a premature C-Section on December 23, 1986.
She asked Steve and me to be baby Jake's Godparents.
Jake and Brendan have grown up like brothers.
Mayo is Brendan's Godmother.

From Clarkston to Cayucos
from Washington to Maine
from souvenir shop to souvenir shop
My life memories are melded with Mayo.

And now, my friend, Mayo, is having a double mastectomy.
Breast Cancer may change Mayo's cup size
but it cannot change the warmth of her bosom.
Mayo has three children, but
Mayo is and will always be the loving, nurturing Mother for whom we all yearn.

That is the Magic of Mayo.