What do you do when you’re waiting? When you’re stuck between past and future? When you have to be in the moment, but you’re unsure about what to do while you’re there? Doom scroll. Start cleaning. Baking. Pour another cup of coffee and shake the coconut milk to oblivion to get it a little frothy, even though nothing will save the burned coffee taste? But you drink it anyway. Do you dare go upstairs? Stop thinking about what’s to come? Over think what’s about to come?

It isn’t bad. It’s bittersweet. I keep playing back all of my failures, but will myself to shove those out. I play back all of the successes. Setting up his room, soon after we moved in. Pale blues and purples with John Lennon themed nursery decor we found at Babies R Us. The nights I’d army crawl out of his room on my belly after putting him to sleep–this kid rarely slept–so he wouldn’t see me and start screaming. The itsy bitsy spider my hand puppeted every morning to wake him up, running up and down his arm and ending in a tickle fest. His Thomas the Tank Engine train table we scored on Craigslist and all of his trains. Then the Disney Cars. A stint with SpongeBob. Then the LEGO sets. So many LEGO sets.

A big boy bed. Birthday sleepovers. Stuffed animals. Foxy. Kisser, a red and white giraffe with heart shaped spots I bought him one Valentine’s day that got left behind at a department store. Some gentle soul took Kisser to the shoe department and we drove back to pick it up. Turtley, a plush sea turtle I bought him on a field trip. A bulletin board tacked with letters from Grandma and a few teachers, notes I’d leave in his lunch box. Pictures of K from across the street, friends since 5th grade. Prayer cards.

Later, I stopped going into his room. “I need my privacy.” A cello took up my space. Then a keyboard. Guitar. A desk with my old laptop. Pandemic learning when we rarely saw him, but there wasn’t much learning going on, or so I thought. Online senior year because that’s how it turned out. But I’m supposed to focus on successes. Despite the bumpy last few years, he composed a piece of music, played in a community orchestra for a year, found a job the week after graduation, saved money, made a plan to move out, researched apartments, asked questions, found a roommate, combed through an apartment lease, made deposits, and packed his room.

He’s on his way to pick up the key. My husband will help him load those first boxes, then his roommate will stop by to help. I can only watch because I can’t lift anything heavy right now (doctor’s orders). I don’t know how I’ll react yet. Make jokes. Laugh. Cry. Most likely, I’ll give lots of reminders.

The big LEGO sets will move into our living room for a few days until he can transport them. Since he enrolled in The University of Life (pandemic killed his quest for higher education for now), he’s been home. However, we didn’t see him often because of work and time with his friends. I should be ready for this. He’s ready for this.

I haven’t looked in his room yet. I sit here and wait.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Address Book

I still have it
my first adult address book
brown leather binder
purchased with my Hallmark

It started out small
including my family's
addresses memorized,
but initiating the space nonetheless
Will I ever fill this up?

All of the aunts and uncles,
college friends
work friends
a work mom, two, three

Inked in print,
building my own network
I'd have a stack 
of Christmas cards to send
Each year, I take it out
and start writing notes
a book or two of stamps waiting to 
send greetings
on a little trip across Texas,
mostly Texas, but other states too

I start with the A and go down
each name
lost touch with that one
last year's card was returned
where is she now?

After a few years,
I draw an x through those names 
that moved on
but were not forgotten,
remembering the good times,
wondering of current whereabouts

It's easier to draw an x over 
those who moved 
still there, 
but picking up to a new place
normal for post-college friends trying
to figure things out
going on fun adventures
accepting new jobs
getting married

Siblings got their own sections
as they left the nest,
Never expecting to re-write my parents'
after two moves 
from what I 

I've added more friends
but as years have passed,
I've had to mark out a name
here and there
mail doesn't go where they are

Sara, my grandma, has an invisible 
permanent X over her little maroon
housed address
I can't bring myself to 
of my address book
Tuesday, December 6, 2022