Saturday, August 14, 2010

Coming Home

My daughter returns from her month-long stay with my mom in the Northeast on Tuesday—and I can’t wait. It was a strange period of “vacation” time without her. I was laid off from my job, fired by my boyfriend, and enjoyed considerably more alone time, and 30 Rock episodes, than one person should have to withstand. (Liz Lemon, I am you!...) I also slept really late a few times and was accepted into Loyola’s graduate Counseling program, so it wasn’t all bad. Overall, though, the feelings I routinely experienced during this time make me think of a practice that my stepfather used to indulge in: walking across hot coals barefoot while chanting cool moss…cool moss…

Today I bought a cute tablecloth so we can eat meals, which I will theoretically make instead of microwaving, at the dining room table (not in front of the TV/at the computer, as was the custom before she left). With the crystal candlesticks from my dad’s parents’, the table I have been hauling from place to place for years—and have egregiously under-utilized—suddenly looks warm and sweet…and I realize that the one thing I need in my life right now is some kind of domestic happiness. I want to embrace the love I have in my life, with my child, and be able to really feel and give love (the real and nurturing kind, not the kind that steals from you and makes you less-than), in my body and in the space I create around me. This has always been the thing it is hardest for me to do; and I wonder why.

I keep trying to find a copy of the Laurie Colwin novel Family Happiness at used bookstores because I want to reread it. It’s about a woman who is split between her family, with whom she has a happy and secure connection, and her extramarital lover, who “gets” her like no one else; and chooses, in the end, to stay on both paths without ever having the two meet. Colwin’s writing is existentially comforting, nuanced, and buoyant and I need that now. I don’t think, though, I will be following the path(s) chosen by Polly Solo-Miller, the main character in the book. I want those two things together: a love, and home. Is it possible? I am going to hope. In the meantime, there is just a tablecloth. And three placemats.