The break I forgot to mention

Happy Chaos

Happy Chaos

One of the main motivations for me to come back to California, other than having an actual job, was that I would get to see my two daughters, Jennifer and Rebecca, and would be able to attend Jennifer’s graduation ceremony in the middle of May. She has just finished her Master’s program in psychology, following a similar path as the one I recently completed. Our interests merged and converged many times over the years until it’s hard to know who influenced whom. She is an artist and a musician and a dedicated yogi and she inspires me regularly. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of her. She will be a good therapist, and the world will always need good therapists.

Jennifer's moment

Jennifer’s moment

I would’ve come to the graduation regardless, but living just three hours away made it that much easier. So, I packed up my Nissan, programmed my GPS and dove into “the city” again. Rebecca and I shared a hotel room near the Oakland Coliseum, and although the room turned out to have a serious mold problem, Rebecca and I got a chance to spend a lot of quality time together. We even talked to each other in our sleep. (This is a family joke since we all talk in our sleep, though none of it ever makes sense.) We shared meals and remembered all the times we came to San Francisco when she was young. I discovered that she hates Star Trek because that was the main thing we watched when she was growing up. That is so unfortunate. I wish I could change it, but, well, the past is the past. And now I know.

One perfect San Francisco day

One perfect San Francisco day

For the whole weekend, Jennifer’s partner, Brenda, did all the driving around San Francisco and Oakland. We all thanked her profusely, knowing what an important job that was. It took most of the pressure off the trip for me. There is nothing like being chauffeured around a gorgeous city on a gorgeous day. The weather was unbelievably perfect, nothing like the fog shrouded San Francisco I remember enduring when I lived nearby. Everything seemed to glisten, and you could actually see a clear blue sky. Jackets were not even necessary. In San Francisco. This is amazing. The gods must have been smiling down on this little group of graduates and their loved ones. Not even a gust of wind broke the mood that day.

It was quite a woman party for those three days. Two of Jennifer’s aunts from SC, who remember things I don’t from way back when Jennifer was a wee little one, were there, with their lovely southern accents and easy ways of navigating life’s challenges. They convinced me that I was, and still am, their sister. I felt loved and appreciated. We were able to reconnect at a deep level through our memories and pride and tears. This seemed appropriate at this time in our lives. We’re older now, quite a bit older, and we understand what was going on back then, much better than we did back then. We told lots of “remember when” stories, caught up on who’s doing what, and pondered how we got here from there. It reminded me of the subtitle of this blog: Just Another Midlife Transition. I think that short visit to the past may have opened the door to the next chapter of this story, how I got here, and where I’m going…but more on that later.

Jennifer, Brenda, Lyn and Kathleen

Jennifer, Brenda, Lyn and Kathleen

During the “art show,” which turned out to be quite an extravaganza of creative young people doing all their creative things in ways that only they could imagine, I was reinvigorated to get my art supplies out, find a space to dance freely, sing as if no one was listening, and continue writing just because it feels good. My soul stirred. It was inspiring to say the least. I met several of Jennifer’s classmates and instructors and felt like I was reliving my own experiences of just a few years ago—lots of artsy types, floating around, making clever comments, and always with a twinkle in their eyes. I knew I was in the midst of the next generation of spiritual healers and felt blessed that my daughter is a part of this amazing group of people.

You had to be there...

You had to be there…

I could say so much more about this. I love both of my daughters more every day. I am so happy to know that they each have gentle spirits and caring hearts. And though I will never stop being their mother, I feel like I have done my job well. Seeing yourself reflected in the eyes of your children is a priceless gift. Seeing them happy is the ribbon on the package. I look forward to spending more quality time with them this summer. I won’t let myself think about leaving because I know I will be back, again and again, as long as they are California girls. It’s like I planted two trees here and they have taken root and are thriving in this vibrant place. So now my job is simply to come stand in their shade and admire their beauty whenever I can.


  1. Pat

    Now that is writing You seem to have found your muse by just revisiting your girls. I see You have found the precious gift of what being a mother is all about. I love the “planting two trees” part. That is so true. Just so long as your girls don’t feel rooted in the same place forever. Remember where your life has taken you because you were adventurous.
    I love the depiction of your visit with your “Southern Sisters.” So sweet! It seems the circle has been completed.

    • Thanks, Mama. Yes, sometimes trees need to uproot themselves and try another environment. I only want then to be happy and if that means staying here, then fine. Kind of like you have been with me, holding on when possible, letting go when necessary. I only wish I could clone myself and be here and there at the same time!

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