Sunday, February 10, 2008

coffee in bed

Children are the keys of paradise.
Eric Hoffer

I like children - fried.
W. C. Fields

Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.
Ambrose Bierce

It's -2 degrees in Chicago, which is still celebrating Give The One-Finger Salute to Global Warming Month in fine style. Last night, on the heels of wind that whipped, according to meteorologists, up to 50 mph, temperatures fell from about 25 to our current Yukon impression. When I looked at the weather report, I informed my family that I was sleeping in: I'm so sick of this I cannot say, and dragging myself and my 13-year-old out of bed to venture into the stark windy frigid atmosphere to attend services this morning...well, let's just say that, if there is a God, I am certain that she or he will understand.

Melanie, the aforementioned (and extremely grateful) 13-year-old, awakened me this morning at 9:30 with a cup of hot coffee and the news that, A) two of my cats were sleeping on my bed with me and, B) she was going to make blueberry pancakes. I rolled over and petted the purring cats, sipped the coffee (which brought to mind the old Squeeze song "Coffee in Bed" even though that song is about a breakup and not a happy and sweet good morning from your teenage daughter), and decided to get up.

Somewhere in there my older daughter, Julie--sixteen next week--also came up to say good morning, having been awakened ("rudely awakened," she said) by her boyfriend, who is in Florida and had forgotten the time change. Since Dirk was already downstairs–having aborted his own attempt to go to church when the car, after fifteen minutes, had managed to heat up only from -4 to just over zero degrees–the whole house was up, and Sunday was on.

Sunday is not a day that holds any real traditions in my house. Life has been far too choppy and events too discontinuous to develop them, and we are not really used to having entire Sundays at home. There is usually church or soccer or something that drags us hither and yon. So on this day, we find ourselves lying around with no direct plan, each of us focusing on our own homework or our own interests. And it's funny: just relaxing turns out to be a very nice thing for a family to do together. Relaxing, sipping that coffee, enjoying the memory of the nice breakfast Melanie made, listening to the sounds of quiet and's nice.

Maybe we'll play some games later after homework is done. We rarely have time anymore; I'm so busy and they are so busy. But we always have fun when we find an hour or two to sit playing Apples to Apples or Uno or whatever we feel like at the time. Just being with each other...days like this will not happen for all that much longer. Julie will be gone in just a couple of years, and Melanie will follow two years later. She won't be waking me with coffee and pancakes, and Julie won't come up and crawl into my bed and tell me her boyfriend woke her up. I'll have to "see" them online and talk to them on telephones. They'll come home on vacations, and I'll have to share them then with their friends and with my ex. I'll wish desperately then for a return to these lazy quiet days with no agenda, when all we have in the world is each other.

Look around you. See your family, your friends, your closest coworkers. How much of your time with them is really of the nature that you'd like it to be? We spend too many hours and days of our lives in petty disagreements with people we actually enjoy being with. The old maxim, "familiarity breeds contempt," springs to mind, but it's not contempt really; it's more a kind of crazy security in the notion that we can express our own frustrations and intolerances through these people with whom we are the most comfortable. We know that they won't walk away from us permanently, so we feel free emotionally to let it all hang out with them. And because there are so many people in our lives we cannot do that with–either because it would be "inappropriate" or because we lack that same sense of security–we tend to have quite a backlog of nonsense with which to wallop them.

The result is that we waste the precious moments we have whining about things that ultimately are not worth an iota of our attention. And when we could have been spending that time enjoying the company of someone we love, that's just sad. My daughters will be gone in a few short years. I want to enjoy being a central part of their worlds as long as they will allow me to. As teenagers, of course they do things that get on my nerves, the kind of things that prompt the W.C. Fields quote at the top of the blog. It's in the job description of a teenager to do so. But I'm not a teenager, and I try to have the patience to endure those moments when they come rather than extending them; I just do not want to lose these days I can never recapture.

My relationship with each of these girls is very much the Gilmore Girls iconic type, and I have done everything in my power to foster that. Neither of them is really Rory, but then I'm not really Lorelai either, though we both do love coffee, as Melanie knew when she brought me that cup this morning. And right now, she is setting up Scattergories, and that's my signal that, though I am not quite finished, it's time to go. Some things are far more important than finding a beautiful ending. Some things, quite frankly, you just don't want to end.


1 comment:

M said...

I have never been to Canada, until tonight. Your beautiful imagery in "rainbow's end" transported me there, carrying me along its winding roads and reminding me that our time here is truly all about the journey.


it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

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