On the second of September, we left our daughter off at college, to start the next chapter of her life as an individual and a member of our family—with all of our respective roles tossed into the air to float and fly until we redefine ourselves. Here we are, a month and a half later and Kitty is settling into this next chapter with a spring in her step, an Indian story on her tongue and a giggle. She is delighted, as she always is, in the opportunities, the joy of new friends, new knowledge and in a community where play and adventure is valued. Even Alex, our skeptic, was swept away with the sense of play, and reaching out to others, and the fun that can be had within this sort of environment. These Hampshire students are not sitting in front of televisions in elegantly appointed home-like living rooms, or stretched in front of cracking fireplaces intent on beating the next guy to Law or Medical school. The Hampshire student is the child that finds joy in a piece of string…and shares that joy with his/her friends until they figure out something fun, fabulous or even additive to do with this thing. Case in point: There were these students who were standing in one of the quadrangles with a tarp. A regular tarp with people on each corner— moving the fabric to make it simulate waves. Other students saw this, and engaged in this activity with dancing through and around it. Skaters doing the same…and it was magic. It stopped time. Alex (and Kitty) were enchanted. And this sort of thing happens every day. This playing with ideas, playing and making, thinking and doing, engaging and laughing. It is a charmed place.
Back to roles. Kitty has found her path. We are forging a new team with Alex as the main man which is beginning to get some steam and we are all enjoying it tremendously. He is in the spotlight…and responding positively to having the center stage, our attention and pocketbooks. And we are loving it too. We can tease him…and he teases back. He is not as reticent to be honest—blunt, with us. But where are we as parents to Kitty? We spent yesterday with her, feeding and shopping—just spending time. After a day of hanging out, she finally, after the moroccan sandwich, began to loosen up and tell us Hindu tales, which coming from her was a hoot and a half. As we got in the car, it dawned on me we had something we could offer her. “Kitty?” I asked….”would you like to come back to our room, take a bath and a little nap?” Yes. That would do. Our role has been redefined. We bring home with us…and we need to offer up the hot buttons and allow our girl a bit of time just to unwind….and veg….whether its here or there. Tubs and naps. Food and truly, unconditional love. That is our role. She also said that she approved of my asking her if she was drinking enough water? or what about her hot room or humidity in her space. She is looking for her mommy to continue to be home and comfort. I can do that. I can help her be comfortable. I can be a support. i can listen happily to her talk about the nutty eye covered Hindu god, or about the four elephants that hold up the world. I can meet her lovely friends and not need to be anything but enchanted. I can help and hopefully be of value to her and her friends. I want to be relevant and helpful. I betcha if I brought a feast in a cooler, that might rock a bit. We could cook for the troops…take the cast party to the cast…and meet these lovely playful folk. New role we can fill. We are back to preSeptember 2. We have all been redefined. And, its all good…and all the same.
We met Kitty for Breakfast (sushi today). Alex and Rob bought a dozen doughnuts at Atkins Farms (a food we never buy…but AF breaks that rule). I oogled the piles of white pumpkins, the gourds, the halloween candy and finally bought a gigantic rosemary plant (bush sized) as I am weak in the knees with rosemary. There is something so happy about the bush, it’s lovely scent and its heartiness. I hope I can nurse it with humidity and happiness through the winter.
It was a long drive home. We do not need to go to family events any more now that we know our roles. We just need to get our girl, get a tub, find a stove and settle in. I did remember that tubs are something that you can get in Noho. There is a hot tub spa that you can endlessly use on Saturdays for $10 per person, so that Kitty and her gal pals can do some fun soaking together to get the tub thing in between going home….unless we buy them a portable spa…? Plus, from the lovely coffee opportunities, the thrifting (she has figured that all out), and the stores…she doesnt need us to make home for her all the time!
I am currently home, roasting some chicken bones (to go into the pressure cooker tomorrow), and watching Alex watch a frightening show about folks overeating… somehow adding enormous amounts of bacon, cheese and meat…I am belching just watching. Ouch.