Subtle. Very subtle.

It was a long ten days, me in Florida, running ribbons through sand dollars and him here, trying to moderate the media impact of Romanian boxers shoplifting at Nordstroms. (Should have gone to Loehmanns). As much as we missed each other we were both pretty exhausted by the time I flew home and he got home later in the day from work. We ate a comfortable supper of cream of pea soup laced with ham and sherry and a baguette spread with herb cream cheese and roasted red peppers, popped under the broiler for a few quick moments. Soon, we were in bed, side by side, quietly content and happy, each on our own laptop, chatting intermittently. We sort of catch up and start the reaquaintance process this way.

Him: How’s your back healing?

Me (after a long pause for two blog comments): okay, thanks. Just a tad tight at the incision.

Five minutes pass in silence while I cruise the neighborhood and he plays online poker.

Him: How’s your hoo-ha?

(After reading two more blogs this settles into my gray matter)

Me: WHAT?!?!!

Him: What?? I was just asking! You know, like, that was a surgery too. You know. I mean. Ya. I was being considerate. Ya.

How can I be living with someone who comes home from a meeting with the president of the IOC and then communicates with me, using expressions such as “semi-retarded” and “hoo-ha”? On the other hand, I usually catch his drift.


Here’s something curious: We miss each other even more when I go away rather than when he goes away. I don’t like it when he’s gone and I miss his companionship but when I go away it’s painful. He called every day and said, “Okay. Enough. What time does your plane get in today?” And “Come home now. The cats are going crazy without you.” And, more to the point, “I don’t like this. I miss you too much.”

I don’t know how this is related but I just thought of this: The first several years after their dad and I were divorced (really, it was at least 3, maybe 4 years) the children would go with their dad for wonderful long backpacking trips each summer. He was the one who honed that adventuresome spirit in the Snarl- he had her carrying over half her weight and sleeping under the Northern Lights in a hammock by the time she was 6. Anyway, we had all four thickened our skin some around the various comings and goings of weekly switches, always so conflicted for the two kids and hard longing mixed with a touch of relief for the parent left alone, but summer vacations were still a real hardship on me. And because they were out in the woods and cell phones weren’t in use the way they are now, it was often a period of days before they would hit a town and he’d have them call from a payphone.

To me, it made good sense that I would use those stretches to go on vacations myself and visit with friends, keep busy, relax at the shore. The children were outraged. They had this notion that they would go off with their dad and I should stay home. Just stay there. Be there, no matter what. Daniel especially would get very upset if I said, “here’s my schedule, here’s where I’ll be, here’s the number to call…” He would get angry and tearful and say, “Just stay here.” Even as he was old enough for us to explain to him that that was my time to be with friends, that I missed them a lot and it was easier if I was busy and happy elsewhere- well, he still said: You should stay home.

We all revisited this issue briefly last year when Rich and I moved to Chicago. Both children, busy and out in the world on their own, were very distressed that I wasn’t going to be in the same house, no matter what, if they happened to drop by. I’m not sure where all this is going except to say that apparently I’m supposed to stand in place, one place while the rest of the brood, children and husband, are free to move about the world. Otherwise, we all get (even more) discombobulated.


So. It’s good to be back together, with two cats in the bed and everything is easy…tra-la. AND, happy day! Guess who showed up to make sure I was here? My first born, my special only, the musician, right-brain boy, the sweetest heart and hungriest child a woman could have. He drove in from Ann Arbor last night.

We have been talking on the phone about too much time passing since his last visit and how I’d like to feed him (I made lots of soup last night, knowing he would raid the frig when he got in late) but he was persuaded this time by the lure of World Championship Boxing. I realize that this is mostly a Chicago happening, but believe me when I tell you it’s the hottest ticket in town. This two week event has taken the town by storm and snowballed into a major fascination and preoccupation. Tickets were easy to come by as recently as a month ago because the event was rescheduled from Russia to Chicago unexpectedly late last Spring. But now tickets are no where to be found. The last two times I’ve been in a cab the drivers have been on their phones desperately searching for tickets.

news.jpegI don’t know much about the sport, except that it’s one of the original Olympic events, dating back centuries and that this kind of boxing is a far cry from whatever that junk is that happens on television. Today is finals day and we have 3 tickets, ringside, on the floor. I’m actually excited to go see what the fuss is all about and even happier that Dan is excited to go and we all three will be there together. Full report later.

Back here at home, Rich says we have to be sure and tape the football game; he definitely wants “to see Michigan kill Michigan State.” You all have a great weekend (especially you, Mrs. B, now that Halloween is past for another year.)

10 responses to “Subtle. Very subtle.

  1. I’m happy that you will have your son with you for the boxing! And I love to feed my son, too and I always cook when I know he is coming.

    My kids, especially my youngest, always prefer that I am at home where they can reach me whenever they need to. That must be typical for children.

  2. SPARTANS don’t blog in bed and we don’t get killed by skunk bears!!

  3. It’s funny, when I travel I miss IZ more than when he travels. I think that when I’m away, I am heartsick for both my family and my home… when he is gone, at least I am in familiar surroundings.

    Enjoy your visit with the boy. 😀

  4. Excellent example of legitimate use of spousal conversation in a blog entry.

    I enjoy a weekend alone here and there, but I’m not sure I’d be happy with the longer stretches.

    If Rich needs any ideas for euphemisms he should talk to Babette. She knows at least 26 of them, A through Z, if my memory serves me correctly.

  5. You’re right in your previous post. You don’t write about Rich much and it’s a shame.

    Love these posts. 🙂

    Glad you are back to Chitown.

  6. Fascinating. I haven’t done much traveling without husband and children. I think Greg and I both see time away from family as a renewal — but then again, it’s never more than a weekend. We’re probably abnormal! 🙂

  7. I completely understand the need to have one person stay in place. It’s like a fixed point, a perfect reference, their northern star. If you move around, how will they know where they are?

    We will be seeing Roger’s youngest (26 year old) daughter in just a few minutes. He went to pick her up and her live-in boyfriend (whom we haven’t met yet) at the bus-station. It’s been a year and a half since we’ve seen Elena. We’re very excited. Even though we weren’t custodial parents, and the kids only came for summers and holidays, they haven’t responded all that well to us being further than a day’s drive away. It’s one of the reasons we’re here in California for the winter. A familiar fixed point for them, even if it’s just for a few months.

  8. So, how is your hoo-ha? We never got to find out. I know what you mean about leaving; I’m supposed to be the “rock” around here–always home or within easy calling reach. Alison is upset if she needs to get a hold of me, and my cell phone is ON SILENT. I used to sort of like boxing, but haven’t watched any lately. (too busy with gymnastics!)

  9. Well, it wasn’t exactly “kill”, but it was a win nonetheless. What’s this about Grand Valley State? Sounds like something I have to find out about before I do my usual post-game comment at that Spartan woman’s blog.

    Amateur boxing in Chicago? I wouldn’t have thought it would be a hard ticket to get. I took my folks to see Jimmy Sturr in concert at Roaring Eagle Casino last night. My mother saw a poster of a half-naked man in an aggressive looking pose. It was for an upcoming event featuring the Chippendales. My mother asked, “Is that boxing?” I had to tell her, no, it wasn’t boxing.

  10. Bonnie, dear- I believe the part about you not blogging in bed.

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