Our daughter is visiting from Italy, where she’s lived for 20+ years. Because of the plague, it’s been a long time. Her brother in San Francisco picked her up from the airport, she stayed there a few days, then yesterday he brought her up to our place. Last night, before he drove back, we all sat to dinner to a monstrous, magnificent salade nicoise and a bottle of prosecco.
All the usual catchups: airplane irritants, current news, word of the mates, recent movies seen, cat tales, not to mention our own cats sniffing each of the family’s feet. Sitting down to the long, opulent dinner on the patio. Then Eli took off and Johanna settled in.
It’s always a joy to see the kids, especially the family together again. We’re thankful they’re healthy & creative, have good mates, are self-supporting, and above all that they like each other. Growing up in the back seat of our VW or our touring van over thousands of miles of travel in our touring days, in a childhood anything but placid, they seem to have developed the friendship of Army buddies who’ve been through tough scrapes together.
That’s only surmise, of course. I think it must be universal for parents, when grown kids visit, to be extra alert for anything in their kids’ being that might suggest their own failure as parents. The first time I came home with a mustache, my mother worried about what she’d done to make me a drug addict. I’m somewhat more New Age than that, having left Iowa, but there’s still the impulse to worry.
How do I feel about their presence? Good, but I’m not really in touch with my feelings. I shield myself from the bad stuff, and that tends to block lots of the good stuff. Maybe that’s why I mostly write comedy, or the tragic with a tongue-in-cheek edge. So I guess what I mostly feel is, “This is right.”
Which is maybe the best thing to feel. It’s what I feel in finishing the final draft of anything. It’s what I feel cursing lovingly at the cats. It’s what I feel in eating supper, especially soup. It’s what I feel first thing in the morning embracing Elizabeth and just holding each other there. There’s a rightness to it, a gracious acceptance of what’s there, and, to a perpetually discontented soul, that’s heaven.