What happened to July? It was here and it was hot and it was dry. We wanted rain, we needed rain, but we never got rain. We ran the AC because it was hot, and I railed against it. I got my watering routine down to a fine science. Lug hoses here, lug hoses there, lug hoses everywhere.
I helped work dogs at nights that weren't training days. I was the "bird boy" or bird dummy who threw the bird dummies. I read a couple of very good books, one suggested by a friend about mother/daughter relationships and when a special relationship is at a turning point does it survive. Though I knew what the ending would be, I still found the book satisfying as I can now look back on my relationship with my daughter, Annie, and know that we survived sometimes rocky days and nights, to a comfortable one in which she has become my friend as well as my daughter. Maybe we had to go through all the other stuff to get to that. Our relationship was different than my mom's and mine. She was always my mom but I knew even as a child she was my shield against any storm, and I trusted her with everything. There was little I didn't tell her even as a teenager and she knew after my first date with Kurt, he was the "One". After my marriage our relationship changed, and she went into that place called "life after the kids leave". We learn to do it, sometimes easily, but many times begrudgingly and sometimes we are terrified by a house without children. But for her, there was little leeway time between children leaving and grand babies appearing. My brother Kim and I kept her in grandchildren for almost a decade. She developed friends that weren't a part of our lives just as we developed friendships with others, over our own kids and their friends and friend's parents.
Somewhere along the way of my children leaving babyhood and becoming busy children and then more busy teens, I lost my mom for a bit. I didn't really lose her, but her solid place in my life was replaced by family; my family. She was always there but there were times where weeks went by where we weren't in constant contact. When my own children left home, I understood. It was a process and the last was the hardest to let go off into the world. Maybe I should have celebrated that jump to "me time", but it I felt alone and unmoored. I wasn't sure what my next role should be. Over time, I and Kurt carved a life for us that was ours alone. We figured out living alone. The boys brought home girlfriends. Some stayed, some didn't. Finally they each found "the One" and we had weddings and things to plan and a future once again. With these joyous events though came the loss of Dad. It hit us very hard as we had little preparation time for this and you go on auto pilot just trying to get through all the things that need to be done after. We crossed days off our calendars, and tried to make sure Mom was included, but we were silenced by her stoic attitude, and mostly we wanted to believe she was alright because she was the strong one in the family and we knew it. What I didn't anticipate, was the independence was a cover for how she and Dad had leaned on one another. We all hoped that spring would be the answer, but it wasn't. Its almost 5 years and we have all adapted but there is a point of reference missing for us all. I always thought that point of reference was my mother, but maybe it was our dad.
I guess I don't know how I would react were I in her shoes, and I hope I don't ever have to deal with it, but I likely will. I have seen the things I love about her and the things that I want to be different and maybe that's what being a parent is all about. I now see my very different daughter, coming to share things with me. We share more than just genes and some kind of blonde hair. I hope that's what its all about.
I have my mom's eyes, her mousy hair, and her need for quiet time to reflect. I have my dad's hands, his voice, and his nose. I have the love of surprises and the need to see new things from him. My mom's love of reading and my dad's head for math. My dad's flat feet, and his love of chocolate, her steadiness and my mom's love of baking. I hope someday that my own daughter and my sons will look at themselves and say we are our parents children and its a good thing.