Whoosh! Did you see that? It was the summer flying by. In many ways, this summer has been the longest in my life, but when I think about the 10 weeks my daughter was home from college, it seems short after all. Seems like just a couple of weeks ago that she arrived and immediately personalized her ‘rental’ room with wall decals and candles. She left the candles on the table for me when she left. Thanks, sweetie. I’ll think of you when I light them.
I feel lucky to live in this modern techie age when children and parents who are miles away from each other can instantly message or call or skype. In the olden days, when I was very young, it was an expensive hassle to call another state, never mind another country. And video calls? Science fiction! Letters took a week to arrive, and while there’s something nice about getting letters in the mail (though I hardly remember), I’m still glad I can communicate with my kids quickly whenever I want. I really love being able to see my daughter on a video call every week or so; it makes the distance seem so much shorter.
Sarah had a pretty good summer, I think, despite not living in her room at home. At least she had her own bathroom, she often reminded me, no more sharing with her messy brother. She saw her friends, had a few parties (and one she shouldn’t have had), went to movies, and caught up on her reading and sleep. We enjoyed long talks and watched shows together. We went to some of her favorite restaurants and bookstores. She played with the dogs a lot. They’re going to miss her.
During Sarah’s last week at home, I wanted to do something we hardly ever do anymore – do something together, all three of us. I had attempted this challenging feat a few times this summer but rarely succeeded. One time I managed to get both of them to a restaurant after some negotiation about when and where. We sat at our table, waiting rather a long time, the boy complaining how hungry he was, when we suddenly heard CRASH! I laughed and said it was probably our dinner. Sure enough, a minute later the waiter showed up and asked if we had heard the it. Yes. “Well, uh, that was your dinner, but we’re making another as fast as we can and it’ll be on us.” I laughed out loud and even the kids smiled (in a smirky way) and blamed me for jinxing their meal. The dinner eventually came and starvation was averted. We left happy – all of us together!
The last week together we decide to see a movie. Sarah gets to choose; it’s her last week at home, after all. Jacob grudgingly agrees but only because we are going to Alamo Drafthouse and he likes the food we can order while watching. The first theater we go to is sold out. Dang. We’re all hungry. We decide to try another Alamo theater even though it means postponing our meal 45 minutes. I hear grumbles from the boy as we walk back to the car. The girl rolls her eyes at him. He’s so pissy all the time, she complains to me. It’s my last week; he should be nicer. He’s had a rough time lately, I remind her, he’s not very happy with his life at the moment. It’ll get better.
Some time later we settle in at the theater and order our meals, veggie burgers for the boy and me, grilled cheese sandwich for the girl. By the time our meal comes, we’re all quite hungry. We start to dig in, but wait, Sarah asks, what’s that on my sandwich? The boy leans over and sniffs – it’s bacon. The waiter has brought my Jewish vegetarian daughter a BLT. She groans because she’s hungry, and we manage to flag down a different waiter and explain the mistake. A few minutes later our waiter comes over to apologize profusely. “Are you vegetarian?” Yes. He seems mortified by his mistake though Sarah has taken it in stride. “My girlfriend is vegetarian and she’d be very upset if that happened to her. The kitchen messed up, but it’s going to be taken care of.” Ten minutes later he brings the correct sandwich and says he persuaded the management to give us all our meals free. He’s so sorry about the mistake. It’s ok, I tell him. No harm done. Later, he even adds a generous coupon for the next time. I tell Sarah she brings us luck as we seem to get free meals when she’s with us. We all enjoy the movie, even Jacob, and return home full from dinner and happy from the movie. These are the moments I’ll cherish from this summer.