Cycles. I can’t stop thinking about cycles.
I’m transported back to my freshmen year of college. A time that I can only define as, well, DUMB. Gloriously, wonderfully, naively, stupidly dumb. Such is the life of a college freshman. A time when I thought it perfectly acceptable to roll around public spaces in full on sweat suits, with absolutely no athletic intentions. A time when consuming a block of cream cheese and a box of wheat thins at 2 o’clock in the morning was just an amuse bouche to my later 3 am feeding of nachos, or calzones, or bagel supremes (bacon, egg, cheese all on a toasty bagel) or hey, how about an entire large Papa Gino’s pizza. HELLO Freshman 15! (and by 15, I mean 40). A time when the days of the week were defined by drinking acronyms (Wet Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Sloppy Sunday (please note this doesn’t even include the weekends wherein my soul interest lay in mapping out the campus party-route and engaging in a riveting game of 7-11-doubles with some bottles of sweet sweet Arbor Mist (wine that costs approximately $2 and is literally as sweet as fruit juice))) You get the idea. I was clearly pretty awesome. And by awesome, I mean fat and drunk off cheap wine and greasy eats all the while dressed like a hobo.
That kind of awesome.
This was also a time when it was completely appropriate to share note-taking responsibilities in an Abnormal Psychology course with my two biffles – thus relieving each other of GASP! the bi-weekly duty of, ya know, actually paying attention in the $5,000 class our parents were paying for us to so diligently attend. It was due to this mutual agreement and sharing of academic responsibilities that we decided that it was best if all of our notes were held in one, as in singular, as in UNO notebook – and come exam time we would just rotate the use of said notebook to study accordingly. Come spring, I was on the first rotation with the ONLY book of notes for which one needed to study for the final exam, and during possession of this resource, I took a jaunt home three hours away for a family wedding. I decided to bring the notebook with me, because obviously that meant I would study. Or at least I might learn something by osmosis; just by having it close to my person I would absorb some of the contents inside without ever cracking a page. I returned from the trip, notebook unopened, and promptly went to bed to sleep off my wedding hangover and recharge the batteries in prep for exam time. The next morning, I went to retrieve the notebook in order to power study since my rotation was nearly up and I needed to hand off the notes to my fellow-slacker that evening. I very quickly realized that I had left the notebook, the ONLY notebook, sitting on my desk – at home – as in a 3 hour drive from my current location.
Like I said, dumb.
I called my father, hysterical – because obviously he was going to MAKE THE BAD MAN GO AWAY! I blubbered and stammered and inaudibly explained that I was in fact a stupid moron and all he said was, Go back to bed. I’ll see you in three hours. <click>
Lo and behold, three hours later, my father arrived at my entry doorstep like a knight in shining armor, notebook strapped to his chest like fucking Excaliber. It was like a scene out of romantic drama, except the dude was my dad and he was holding pages of paper rather than a bouquet of roses or a sparkling diamond.
Freud would have a field day with this shit, huh?
He handed over the notebook, kissed me on my head, and said, It’s nice to still feel like you need me every once and awhile, hopped back in the car and drove three hours back to Cambridge in time for an afternoon meeting.
My father? He. Is. The. Shit.
That, my friends, is a lesson on how to win your daughter’s favor. For eternity. Some might call it enabling. I call it fucking brilliant. He now has permanent leverage.
Oh, you can’t make the trip for Thanksgiving with the family this year? *coughsixhourroundtripFORAFUCKINGNOTEBOOKcough* Yeah, so, do you want to be in charge of the sweet potatoes or mashed?
Except my father never lords this over my head, because as I mentioned, he is the shit. This is a man that drove to New York City with a car full of lumber to build me a lofted bed on a fifth story WALK UP apartment in Harlem so that I could live with my hetero-life mate for six weeks one summer. A man who flew across the country to help execute the dream nursery complete with wallpaper scrapping, chair molding installation, and painting of cow spots all in one weekend. And then a man, who despite a pulled hamstring, loaded up an entire moving van full of furniture with my husband last weekend, drove across the state, and then unloaded each item in a mere 24-hour period.
And that’s not to mention that my mother is equally as dedicated and doting. A woman who bequeathed whatever furniture, rugs, paintings, etc. I desired for my new big girl home. A woman who has decorated and arranged every home I’ve lived in since graduating (that would be now FIVE spaces). A woman who has single handedly outfitted my child – for life – with the most beautiful and stylish of clothing, blankets, bibs, toys, dolls, shoes, books, etc. There are maybe 20 items in her entire nursery that I can claim came from someone other than my mother. The woman, she is serious about grandmother-hood. A woman who has fought like a mama-badger anytime she felt one of her babes was wronged or hurt by another party, empowering and encouraging and reminding each of us that WE ARE SPECIAL, damnit.
My parents are the kind of people who have time and time again put their children before themselves. When I wanted to go on a school-field trip or visit friends in Costa Rica or Greece or Australia or Sweden or France – they sacrificed their own vacation time to allot finances for my adventures. Parents that, to this day, rearrange their schedules for airport pick-ups, or life transitions, or babysitting demands, or medical needs, all just to make my life, their daughter’s life, easier.
As they continue to provide that level of support, flexibility, and altruistic impulse as I make this enormous life change, I can’t help but hope that I’ve inherited and learned this amazing ability through the experience of its benefits. Maybe that whole osmosis theory will hold up and I’ll be able to offer a comparable level of unconditional, selfish love to Addison. Not sacrifice, that is not the appropriate word, for as my mother has explained, she lives vicariously through our happiness, just as I already feel that deep, inextricable need to ensure Sunny’s joy and fulfillment before my own.
So these lessons, these cycles, have all been made clear as we move 165 (ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE) boxes into our new home. It would not be possible without my parents’ support (now here for their second weekend in a row diligently hanging curtains, arranging clothes, throwing away boxes, cooking meals, babysitting Sunny so we can go watch our friends in concert, and providing the emotional support needed to get unpacked and settled). And next weekend they’ll make the trip yet again to babysit fulltime so that we can go celebrate our dearest friends’ engagement in Washington, DC. I can only imagine the decorating bonanza my mother will have in my absence.
I’m reminded, yet again, of why we made this move.
And I can’t help but mention that today we put to use the rain shield for the stroller – for the first time ever – because we had to…
… and I didn’t even mind.