Friday, July 24, 2015

Breaking the News

I struggled with how to tell Colleen about my plan. My anxiety was not misplaced. The first thing she said was, "Mom, you're crazy!"
"No, I think I'm quite sane, clearer than I have ever been." I sat rocking back and forth in the desk chair as she slammed dishes around in her kitchen.
"You're an old woman, you can hardly walk." She left the room to move a mound of clean laundry to the couch.
"I don't plan to walk, I'm driving." I pulled a nail file out of my purse and began worrying a fingernail that was torn down to the quick.
"You're 76."
"What does that have to do with it? Uncle Bill was still driving around the country, going to his WWII old farts' reunions well into his 80's. He drove alone, brought his walker, drove as many as 800 miles a day." I put both palms down on the table in front of me and began to stand, just to prove I could. The wheels of the desk chair started sliding backward and I had to grasp at the table's edge to keep from falling to the floor.
"He's a man, it's different."
"He's a 5'5" tall 135 pound man who can't walk without holding on to something. How's that any safer?"
"Just because he's nuts, doesn't mean you have to be, too." She snapped tea towels furiously as she folded them.
"I told you, I'm not nuts. I know what I'm doing and I know how to do it. I did it before when I took that two month trip to the east coast the summer of 2000."
She stomped across the room, put the towels in their drawer and slammed it shut. "That was fifteen years ago, you were 61."
"All the more reason to do it now. I am getting old and before too long, I admit I will be too old. I have to do it now while I still can."
She pulled up a chair next to me and plopped down, deflating like a balloon with a slow leak, "What about us? You can't leave us again, you''ve only been back a year."
     She's right. I ended my nine-year exile just a little over a year ago. I had spent those years living in Ozark, Missouri, raising Ben and Logan. I moved back to California in June, 2014 when Ben was just finishing his freshman year at UC Davis and Logan was just about to enter his senior year at Oak Ridge High School.
     During my years in Missouri, I learned a lot about myself. I discovered I treasure time alone. Reading, writing, and quilting became the activities I found most fulfilling. Yet, the need for connection still thrummed deep in my being during extended hours of solitude. Book clubs and quilting groups provided threads I was able to follow to the hearts and souls of the wonderful friends I met during those years. I also learned my California roots were deep and broad.


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