The Next Chapter
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was wrapping gifts all that while, and mixing up and cooking enough food for a few days — twice baked potatoes, and meatloaf, and some pasta salad with bacon and cheddar. Enough for a while.
It’s two weeks now, coming up, our daughter’s wedding, and I don’t mean to dwell on it, and I don’t, really. There’s so much to do, and we’re doing it, and it’s fun and all, yes. The ribbon and candy, the dress fittings, the planning out what will happen when, the music. Dancing. And the glow about her as she moves from work to talking with her future husband to snacking on cherries. “It’s a DAY,” I tell her, tell myself. A wedding is not the rest of her life. It’s a day. A footbridge. A deep promise and a sigh, and onward.
It’s when I sit down awhile and that’s when the waves come. How to be brave. How to let go. I have her passport, her birth certificate, all the loan info and numbers and passwords in a binder for her to take along when she goes. We’ve yet to move the desk, the couch, the warm blankets to their apartment. The day we first pushed her in her sled down a hill and she slid right into a tree. The day she first climbed up into a school bus and we waved as the bus drove away. Her trip to Niagara Falls when I didn’t sleep much at all those three nights. The prom photos. Graduation Day. Leaving her at college that first day, then dozens of times. Another graduation. Celebrating her new job as a teacher. And I feel it, the Truth: I’ve been brave. I’ve been letting go, all along.
She is home for these two weeks. Today we made, together, buttermilk pancake batter, after she mixed up egg salad on her own. While we worked, dancing around each other in the kitchen, I thought of the thousand things I’ve not taught her. There must be a thousand. The buttermilk pancakes she’s got down pat. She asks about cooking cod. She asks about fajitas. She asks about what paint she might use to make over an old chair. She asks about cotton vs. synthetics. She says she’ll visit a LOT.
When she goes, there isn’t much Mr. S and I haven’t taught her that she won’t learn herself. She and her husband? They’ll figure it out together, same way we did. When she goes, I’ll think of those thousand things, and tell myself, enough for a while. We’ve got the next chapter ahead, and there will be time. For now, we spend time together doing ordinary things. Walks, grocery shopping, working on the little surprise dance we’ll do at her wedding, arguing about what time what ought to happen and how long pictures will last and who is going to clean up. We hug each other often, and share one more scoop of ice cream, and mostly are just around each other until she heads for bed and I stay up to write awhile.
And, shhh… I will tell you this: in the late hours of night, as I am heading to bed, I stop by her room, tiptoe to her bed, and very quietly, gently, kiss her forehead. I smell her skin, and she sighs, and I whisper, “I love you, angel girl.” And I do.
If I were a fruit, I think I’d be a blueberry, all versatile and full of color, good on summer days and in the chill of winter. A hardy berry, and sweet. Just right for a Fourth of July treat, for sure.
1¾ cup sugar
1 cup butter, soft
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp salt
1 can blueberry pie filling
¼ tsp nutmeg
1¼ cup powdered sugar
2 T lemon juice
1 T melted butter
Beat together til smooth. Thin with lemon juice if need be.
Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into cream mixture. Spread half of the batter into a lightly greased 10 by 15 jellyroll pan. Stir nutmeg into the pie filling. Carefully spread over the batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonsful over the blueberry layer.
Bake at 350 degrees til lightly golden—35 to 40 minutes. Watch carefully, and turn pan around half way through baking so it browns evenly. Drizzle with frosting while still warm.