Yesterday, for the first time since we moved our son and daughter into their respective dorms for the school year, our son a senior at one college, our daughter a freshman at another, I felt my mood lighten, the sadness begin to lift. I still miss them, of course, but some light crawled into my narrow little life and I realized that I suddenly have all this time to do with as I please and I can come and go as I please, and even more, I realized I had been doing exactly that, dinner with friends, Governor's Island last Sunday for a picnic and outdoor music with my husband and my friend Leslie, coffee yesterday on a whim with my friend Isabella, the best almond cappuccino in the city at a place I had never before tried, and preliminary plans among some of the mothers and fathers of children newly delivered to college to schedule a weekly bowling night. The truth is, we are all bereft and struggling, some of us more than others.
Yesterday, I went to church with my husband, and as I was singing the hymns I remember from my childhood, I had to blink back tears (of nostalgia? loss?) but afterward, I wondered if in fact it might be true what the studies say, that church can reorient your mood, because I didn't feel quite so hopeless about everything afterward. I even watched NFL opening weekend football with my husband and began to think I might want to make my own fantasy football team. I'd make some wacky team choices for sure, and that might be enough to put me in the winning position, because it's always the players you never see coming who run away with the prize. Well, not always, but enough of the time to make me a contender. Or that's how it worked back before I had my daughter when I would always win the office football pool because I picked teams that made no sense to anyone else, especially the super jock guys, but my crazy underdog teams usually ended up winning just enough to put me ahead of the pack.
Oh, and maybe I'll join this art collective in the Village that Isabella told me about, and maybe I'll make pottery and go back to my yoga for abundant bodies class and learn to play bridge. Maybe I'll schedule weekly massages and start a new novel, or finish one of the three that are sitting unfinished on my old computer.
Maybe I'll actually do some or all of these things. Why the hell not?
Here are some photos from our Sunday on Governor's Island, a former military installation that is accessible by free ferry from lower Manhattan. The buildings and the grounds remind me of every university campus I ever visited with my children, it would make a perfect set for a college movie, and maybe I'll be a location scout in my next brilliant career. The whole island is now a national park teeming with visitors sampling art galleries, restaurants, bike trails, beach festivals and outdoor concerts or just lying on the grass gazing up at the sky. In three-plus decades of living in New York City, this was the first time that I'd been there.
That's what I'm talking about.
|Ground Zero is across the water from the ferry landing.|
|The houses used to be officer's quarters.|
|We stopped for lunch at South Street Seaport.|