Out of practice, but here goes.
I’ve decided parenting has gone to S-craps.
My twenty-something children have left the nest for college. Growing up is hard. Its’ hard on them because they have to make Life for themselves now. It’s hard on me because parenting has been my lifestyle for years. I miss my children and I miss feeling needed by them. They are discovering they can manage mostly on their own, except for rent and tuition assistance, the occasional load of laundry, and a sometime hug or sounding board. I realize this is as it should be, but I don’t have to like it.
I breath a Friday sigh and park Pearl in the driveway. Prying myself
from the driver seat, I trudge across the road to get the garbage cans.
Dodging sprinkler spray, I jerk, jarring an empty awkward payload
balanced on undersized, seized-up wheels that etch a shallow trench back to familiar
dirt lined spaces against a retaining wall.
The gray bin is for all things throw-away.
The brown one is for keeps, or should I say, do-overs.
Hm. Compartmentalization and Metaphors.
Ew. Left overs. Produce tossed. Ancient, moldy, Ziplock keepers.
The smell of kitchen wet, and washroom bio
mingled with messy non recyclables ripening in the afternoon heat.
I kind of miss ….. this…..I think. Not the horrible stench. No,
but, THIS! Things. sights. sounds. feelings. years of familiarity. predictable routines. family life and family things. Everything changes.
I miss my son, as if he were still fifteen in the school drum line, dragging garbage cans across the road. I miss my daughter bringing in the mail and plunking down for another episode of I Love Carly. I miss hearing and seeing sibling banter. I miss their occupancy, their laughter, and all things children.
With them gone to college, life is different. Quieter. Kind of lonely. Kind of crazy! What’s more, it’s Summer and even my youngest is schooling. She gets up early and drives an hour to school. She is studying digital media design at a nearby tech school her final year of high school. Pretty cool.
I reminisce on the past, taking stock a little too much in remembering the sadness of parenting lost, trying to be grateful for kids’ accomplishments and independency.
Hard to believe any of that living happened, imagining what used to be, and what is now.
From late-night diaper changes to ice cream binging and make-up rounds.
From teething to half squeezed toothpaste tubes, to tossed towels and shampoo bottles and razors doing a balancing act with soap on the shower door.
Coveted Converse footwear, prize posters, braces, and retainers…phone calls, cars.
Then mission calls, foreign dispatch, and now university acceptance and jobs on campus.
The other bin is blue, I think…..or is it brown!?
Can’t tell …because “I need my STUPID drug store glasses!!!”
(just kidding) I can see colors, just not TINY PRINT. (Thought I’d be helpful there.)
The cheater glasses are RED and inconveniently hanging on the rear view mirror
along with the Little Mermaid and a Hobby Lobby, Super Hero door sign meant for the
classroom that reads, “STAY OUT” on one side, and “COME IN” on the other. (hmm)
Second thought, I think, the RECYCLE BIN has faded
It is un-washed, sun-washed, snowed on, cracked and cock-eyed.
I think someone could pimp this ride, tipped on-its-side like a bare bone
bloated whale shark
Old Blue-Old Brown shifts and morphs until she has a
dorsal fin! Somehow this grows a mouth and begins shouting,
“WITHIN THESE HINGED JAWS LIES A LIE”
a try and a fail,
Felled much like my own young adulthood for this imposter, inconvenient truth called
Mid-life feels windblown like scout flags laid flat on Decoration Day
Actually the bins and flags do continue to stand, tiredly leaning…
lonely, and under-appreciated, like a room full of ancient veterans
eating compulsory “Thank you” cake on a paper plates
America’s proud throw-aways
I bend down to pick up a red solo cup next to a single mangled floral lip-flop.
Some scraps of cardboard and glass have spilled out on the ground.
I haven’t really failed, have I?
No. There is alwuz hope.
Several years ago the County forced the Eastside to recycle.
Change was NOT easy. The outlying hayseeds sort of despised it, but complied,
only to discover the TUFI handlers contract did not include transporting recyclables to Park City for sorting
So TUFI picked up the road-side recycling and carted it to an almost full land fill.
I remember thinking…..ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! What’s the point of this project if it doesn’t get where it’s supposed to?
What good is trying to do good by Mother Nature, if the baby is still-born before it is delivered? This speaks to the need for excellence in Leadership, intellectual integrity and follow through.
“We need a Doula.” Middle said.
“We do-la?” laughed Angel. Bad pun.
I break into the lyrics of “We Need a Hero” and start flash dancing on a kitchen chair.
They try to ignore me.
“Do you know for certain that the recyclables don’t go to the center?”asks my girl.
“Maybe you should just follow a trash truck. “That might be fun!” said Angel.
“WOW.” I laugh. Then my imagination takes over. I’m good at imagining.
It is my escape.
Suddenly I remember a favorite a ridiculous VHS movie called the Stupids
and visualize myself shoulder to shoulder with Darin Stupid, (Ted Arnold),
the two of us on roller skates in hot pursuit of garbage thieves, only different.
He can keep the baby blue suit and topper hat. I’m a true Olympian in training, as I
morph from cammo tree woman to amazing patriotic jumpsuitress, with Jan Sports
sponsored poles and roller ski blades.
I lunge and drive athletically, my muscular quads keeping pace just the right distance from
diamond plate, while conspicuously painting a smart, yellow two-way traffic line.
I’m ultra agile, dodging orange construction cones, and a few morning cyclists as I pipe
bright new paint that spreads like butter cream on the tar chip
under my ice skating Cake Boss feet.
Following a ribbon of diesel smoke, the TUFI disposal truck sputters like a chain smoker jerking from house to house like a derby trout on the end of a garlic chum hook..
“Earth to Mom! Why don’t you just ask Insa?” suggests my youngest.
“Huh?!” Reality check.
“Insa retired last January.” I admitted.
“Happy New Year! Still. She would know.”
I wouldn’t know how to reach Insa these days. We are not Linked.
“Why do you care so much about this now?” asks my son. “It’s been this way for years.”
I don’t know. That’s the problem, maybe. The fact that it hasn’t changed. It doesn’t seem right.
“Just another reason to be disappointed in government and the status quo, I guess,” adds my mustached boy.
“I know I’M disappointed, too!” Middle says.
“I can’t find Tim Tams (Canadian cookies) anywhere!”
“Wow. Something is wrong with this scenario,” says her brother.
“True,” I add.” “Trump IS still President.”
“What? Can’t a girl have her cookies?”
“You can if you make some,” adds her brother.
Somehow I think Middle will keep coming home, if only to bake and to buy Tim Tams at the local World Market. My son will come too. He has the truck. They will carpool until the Semester resumes and studying bogs them down. They’ll come home to relax, to see friends and to help with projects. Angel and I can’t wait until Devon comes again with a complimentary hack into her roommates Netflix for those last two episodes of Anne With and E.
Guess all I can realistically do is Live my Life, stay in touch, and keep making something that resembles food for the hungry.
Summer bakes on. Again, I land on a Friday evening after boxing in the city. I park Pearl on a hot driveway and let her engine cool down before pulling in. I wonder if the kids are coming home this weekend. Leaning in I bump the visor with my head and a spray of massage reminders and snapshots litter the seat and floor. I lean in to retrieve a useless garage door opener, crumpled receipts and empty, crinkly water bottles. Here goes another Starbucks siren to the dreadful landfill.
Conclusion: Canadians recycle better than most Americans…at least from what I saw.
My Summer road trip taught me this. In British Columbia, recycling bins are visible and expected to be used properly. Maybe it’s the law.
Our Northern neighbors seem to really care about the environment,
Cuz under every kitchen sink I found active compost kettles brewing decomposers
and outside, I discovered alleys full of flies and bins with stinky sorting of everything imaginable.
Amazing! Why don’t Americans seem to care more into Eco action?
Honestly, I’m not much help. I rarely have anything for Recycle Friday. I hear a Helper Dad roll down the hall with an unruly entourage of children. Every week I come up blank. Maybe I’m just resourceful. Yes. Not really.
At home I give the juicy salmon rhine a big fling and wait to see and hear the spectacle:
a howling magpie cloud descending on it.
Moe and Socks remain reticent, observing patiently until it’s their turn to nose around the residue. This is a perk of country living.
I wish I had the patience and wisdom of my cats……cat. Moe died this Spring, two weeks before Devon got home. She sobbed when I finally told her. She confessed she’d had a dream and in fact Moe dying was one of her biggest fears when she left the States for Canada.
“Cats are indifferent,” my son interjects. (This is a generalization. Moe was so cute. Quick to meet and greet me in the garage with a roll and poll for love and a purr-full tummy scratch.)
“Cats are mostly warm but sometimes indifferent, ” I reply.
“Like some people,” he added.
I would be purringly happy for you and your sister to brush by any time, I thought.
“Thanks for coming home,” I said, giving a quick hug. He’s not much of a hugger, but took it anyway.
“Sure! Do you think the pizza is done?”
“I’ll check,” I add promisingly, and trip on an empty pizza box.
Scraps. I’ll take them.
Glad I don’t live in the Jungle. I don’t like guns at all.
Maybe I’ll move to Canada.
Here is something 80s. They play this at kickboxing sometimes. It’s a great punch song.