Saturday, July 31, 2021

Looking ahead, looking back

I had dinner with two dear women last night. I felt like a person restored to world. The night was cool and balmy, and the atmosphere felt almost festive, with lights strung over the street side gazebo and all the outdoor tables full. Inside the restaurant was completely empty, which is how it is lately. I wonder how restaurants will fare when the weather turns cold once more, given reports of the Delta variant flare. The Covid positivity rate is still pretty low in New York City, 2.8 percent yesterday, but it had fallen to less than a percent in May and June, and now the numbers are climbing again. I wonder if we will ever be out of this pandemic reality, especially given that vaccines don't stop us from getting Covid and spreading it, they just stop most of us from being hospitalized and dying from it. I hope that protection holds, given that new variants are emerging all the time. 

One of my friends last night was indulging in a maskless social activity for only the second time in over a year. She was the last of my friends to be vaccinated, and she was very ambivalent about it all. But it was so good to be together again the way we once were, talking well into the night about our lives, our children, our fascinations and fears, just everything on the table, a judgment free zone.

I confessed my anxiety about the fact that my daughter will be flying to Miami for a bachelorette fling with the bride squad for one of her college friends who's getting married in three weeks. From there, she will fly to Oklahoma City to meet up with one of her former college roommates to drive cross country with her to New York. Her friend, who has been teaching in Phoenix since they graduated, is moving to the city for graduate school. You'll be traveling through unvaccinated country, I told my girl worriedly, and my husband gave me the look, the one that said, drop it, she's grown, she can make her own decisions and you just have to make peace with them. I didn't mention that another of my friends, when she heard about my daughter's planned cross country jaunt, said dryly, "I hope her former roommate is white and that she uses her white privilege on the trip." The friend who made this comment is white, and she's married to a Black man, and they have two Black children. She knows whereof she speaks. But my husband is also right, of course. I have to let my children live their lives.

The good news is, our apartment will be my daughter's home base for the month of August. She'll travel back and forth from here. I love when she's here. Last week when she spent the night, I went in to check on her in the morning and, finding her awake and scrolling on her phone, I lay next to her on the bed. We had a lovely roaming conversation for the next hour, a sharing of hearts, in a way that only happens in person. She sent me that masked photo yesterday, when she was on the way home from the salon after taking down her braids and getting her hair styled for the upcoming wedding. The baseball cap photo she sent later shows her plan for when she's on the road, she said. No hot hair styling implements need be involved. How I adore her darling face.

My son has also traveled with college pals recently. He and his college housemates, along with their significant others (one is married and two are engaged) went back to the scene of wild revelries last weekend, and took this picture in front of the house where so much went down, the place where they lived for the last two years of college. My daughter used to call it "The Bro House." Only one of their housemates, the young man who was the other decathlete with my son on their college track team, was missing. 

Apropos of nothing, my son and his love called us last night to ask if I could name all the events in the decathlon. "I assume Pops can name them," our cheeky boy said on speaker phone, "which is why I'm asking you." Apparently, they'd called a number of their friends with the question, after my son's fianceĆ© insisted that hardly anyone would be able to name more than five of the events. That proved mostly true, as most people got to five and then struggled to name the rest. They told us this after I'd rattled them all off, only having difficulty with the number of meters for the hurdles event. "You did the best of everyone by far," my daughter-in-law to be told me. I felt rather proud, and didn't point out that as a mother, I'd watched my boy compete in every event, and my heart indelibly recorded each one. Shall I name the events now? Okay, here goes: High jump, long jump, 100 meter sprint, 110 meter hurdles, shot put, discus, javelin, pole vault, 400 meter, and the dreaded 1500 meter final event. He did all that, at meet after meet. Here is a photo of him warming up then. Has it really been eight years?

You'll have to forgive this reminiscence. Olympic track and field events have begun, and even with the great Usain Bolt no longer in the mix, the Jamaican sprinters are doing their thing. The truth? We are kind of insufferable when it comes to our track and field runners. As my niece just posted on Instagram, "Jamaica's area code is no longer 876. It's now 123"—this at the news that Jamaican women just posted a clean sweep, gold, silver, and bronze in the 100 meter finals. I'm off to watch!


  1. When Son and I were in London a couple of years ago and he was going out, I gave him the usual mom advice,
    Anxiety) and he said to me"MOM , let me live my life" My heart fell to the floor, he is absolutely right and I have been fired.
    Anyway, I allow ghosting for weeks on end, space and , please, no advice
    ever, unless solicited. The kids are adults- We take a back seat and can be assured that our job was one well done. Fly little bird, fly.
    As for Covid, I think we will see no end to it for the rest of our lives. I just bought another mask, a really cool one that cost more than it ought but, there you go.

  2. Re. Covid, as I told Dave when he was debating his trip to Texas, I think we have to live our lives. Of course we must be careful, mask up, get the vaccine and whatever boosters we need -- but at the end of the day we all just have to get out there and risk it. We can't sit inside and hide forever. I'm saying this in support of your daughter's trip -- and I'm glad you got out for dinner with your friends, too. You are much better than I am at paying attention to the Olympics.

  3. It can be so very hard staying out of our grown children's business and yet- we simply have to for the most part. Not totally always! But for the most part. I always look at it like this- do I want them in my business? Not unless I ask, thank you.
    I'm with Linda Sue on thinking that we'll never really be done with covid and with Steve, too, on having to live our lives. I know people who are completely freaked out and what I would consider overly cautious and I know people on the exact opposite side of it who have spurned vaccines and social distancing and masking. Two of those are now very sick and he is in his eighties. They plan to heal "holistically."
    Your daughter is beautiful but you know that. Love to you!

  4. I love seeing the photos of your beautiful daughter. Just reading about her road trip from the midwest to NY reminds me of the many, many times I've made that same journey. I'm glad she will be traveling with a friend. It's the best way to stay safe and have fun.
    I'm glad you got out to socialize with friends. It's challenging to figure out to live our lives and stay safe. We tend to lean towards staying home and limiting our interaction with people. This virus has upended everything. It's unlikely it will ever go away. I'm just hoping for effective booster shots and people getting smarter. Hah!
    I love what you know about the Olympics!

  5. One of my granddaughters is in Chicago with her boyfriend right now for Lalapalooza. I asked them both...vaccinated (yes), gonna wear masks (yes).after that there's nothing else to say. I quit parenting my kids when they graduated high school unless asked. I figured if I hadn't taught them right by then it was too late. so many parents still want to control their kids lives once they've left home. after I divorced my first husband and was unemployed I moved back in with my parents for a year or so. one day my father decided to let me know that he disapproved of my lifestyle. I put a quick end to that. told him I would live my life the way I wanted and sorry if he didn't like it and his opinion was not welcome.

    so just know you raised two kids to be thoughtful and generous and mindful, you instilled sense into them. now we trust them to do the best they can.

  6. Especially loved the reason why you can name all those events. It lifts my spirits to have glimpses into the active lives of your son and daughter. And yaaayyy Jamaica!

  7. Oh I know! The unvaccinated parts of the country are terrifying to me. We have to drive through Utah to get to Washington, and it's very concerning. We'll be double masking every time we get out of the vehicles. I'm still having the willies about food and where to obtain and did they wash their hands and are they masked? Aaaargh.

  8. It is hard sometimes not to worry about our grown kids. I try to be supportive, encouraging but I might slip a word of worry in every now and then when I am not sure of what they are doing. Of course, in the end, they will do what they want and I will love them through it all!

  9. That Jamaican run was INCREDIBLE. And I so remember you posting about your son's athletic prowess -- he and your daughter are just glorious, plain and simple.

  10. I still worry about my kids, even though my daughter doesn't want to talk to me and even though my son doesn't want to tell me the truth about anything, still I worry.

  11. You have such a Beautiful Family and of coarse we never stop worrying about our Babies no matter how old they get. In these particularly dangerous times I don't know any Parent that shouldn't be concerned for the Safety of Family. I've so enjoyed the respite the Olympics gives us and rejoice for every Winner of a Medal, they all work so hard and the competition is so fierce, I stand in Awe of the athletic abilities of all these Athletes from every Country across the Globe.

  12. As mothers, letting go is never easy for us. Also, letting go is harder given so many risks and unknowns. That said, being vaccinated gives us good protection. Travel, wish for normality and even simple pleasures is truly calling us all. The Olympics is wonderful! Seeing youthful and vital men and women win in their sport is joyful.