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Leaving

Christopher left today to begin his new job in Sacramento. This felt different from other leave-takings—he is no longer in school with all the structure—and expense to us—that college education involves. He won’t have the luxury of coming to visit during long breaks from school, and we won’t have the treat of seeing him that often.

After he graduated from UC Davis in June he spent a month in Europe, biking from Prague to Vienna, seeing the sites in the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, France and Ireland, having his possessions stolen from a hostel in Nice, connecting with friends here and there along the way, and arriving back in the U.S. dead broke.

He was here for 10 days before taking off to start his post-grad career, strewing his belongings about, eating gargantuan amounts, and making us realize again, as we have every time he has come and gone, that we will miss him terribly.

 

CJD in Barcelona

Sheets and Scones

If my mother were here today, I would tell her two things.  Although she’s been gone more than nine years, I still have many days when I wish I could tell her something, share a bit of news, or ask her opinion. The first thing I’d tell her today is that I know where you can get a very good blueberry scone, thanks to my friend Ladan who shared this intelligence. I have it on Ladan’s good authority that these scones are just right—not too sweet and not greasy. My mother loved scones, so I am going to go get one and eat it in honor of her 91st birthday, which we would have celebrated today.

blueberry scone

The second thing I’d tell Mom is that I have finally mastered the skill of folding a fitted sheet into a neat square. After decades of wrangling fitted sheets (should be an Olympic sport!), always giving up and balling them into wads that I stuffed into the linen closet, I figured out how this trick of domestic wizardry is done.

What? you might say. If you had a chance to talk with your long-dead mother you’d waste the conversation on linens? The foolishness about the sheets is important for two reasons. First, as I unpacked the extra-long twin sheets I bought for Christopher’s soon-to-be room in his college dorm, I looked carefully at the way the fitted sheet was tucked into a neat square. That’s how I learned to do it.  Christopher was my mother’s only grandchild, and she doted on him. So it’s really that I wish she were here to witness the milestone of him going off to college, more than wanting to natter about sheets.

But in addition, I do remember once talking to my mother about the fact that neither of us could master the fitted sheet-folding trick. We never discussed it, but I know my mother and I shared that brand of magical thinking that lets you fool yourself into believing that orderly linen closets or tidy drawers offer some kind of shield against chaos in life. As long as everything is neat, folded (in squares!), and put away where it belongs, nothing bad can happen.

Mom and Christopher Christmas 1996