...Creativity always means the doing of
the breaking of new ground...
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Prologue: When we moved to an all-electric home in the Hill Country west-side of Austin, where natural gas is just non-existent, it seemed to take so much longer to dry a load of laundry. That's when I decided to use the time to stay in touch with the friends we had left behind.
At the same time I tried to use these Laundry Day thoughts to exercise my long-unused writing muscles. "The Girl" was a baby and the reason we moved to Austin. Reading these notes brings me such happiness.
Laundry Day Thoughts - 01.15.2001
"There are some years when nothing happens and years in which centuries happen." - Carlos Fuentes
The changes of the past year as Mike and I moved to Austin to become local hands-on grandparents made 2000 a year when lots happened. The fresh start in a new location made me stop and assess what kind of life I wanted to live that would make me glad to get up every morning... that would light a fire in my soul. After all, that's what we all really hope to have.
Since I get to see Morgan several times a week and get to watch her change and grow, the joy of this is beyond measure. We usually let her parents have a date night... right now consisting mostly of an early dinner so they are home in time for the evening bath ritual. Then I try to spend some afternoon time a couple of times a week. In addition, we all end up having dinner together at least one evening. So she won't be a stranger to either of us. Morgan always makes me glad I spent the time with her. Luckily, her parents do, too.
My son, Russ and I had lunch together last Wednesday (something we certainly wouldn't be doing if we hadn't moved here). During the conversation, he said that the past four and a half months have been the hardest of his life... all you parents remember this, I know. Then he said that for me it seems all upside! He's absolutely right about that, too. Not being the parent, I don't have to worry about parenting... like teaching a child the meaning of "no!" Instead I get to teach her the meaning of "yes!" Guess that's why it is said that grandparents and grandchildren are natural allies... they have a common enemy. He didn't appreciate the humor in it the same way that I did.
I'm proud of the way Russ and Beth have shown up for this new role in their lives. After seven years of just the two as a couple, they are really good parents, if sometimes a little tightly wound. They have already relaxed a lot. I predict that if they ever had two or three children, they might even get to where they would let the baby nap in the car!
Through all of these past months, I am reminded of Russ as a baby. In a way it's like reliving those years. It seems like five minutes ago instead of thirty-six years. Morgan has Beth's good looks and her body reminds me of her father as a baby. She weighed 20 pounds and 6 ounces last Thursday at just past four and a half months. She is a pretty, placid and precious package, but I'm not proud or anything.
When Russ was a baby, at least after I went back to work when he was ten months old (when his father went back and got his Master's degree in social work at St. Louis University), I missed so many wonderful times with him. I still feel guilty about being at work during his growing up, in spite of making the best decision I knew how at the time. Mother's guilt is everlasting and universal, you know. I have told Russ that it should take a lifetime of therapy to overcome one's childhood with a working mom of the 60's. But I'm getting to make up for some of that lost time now, both with him and through my granddaughter, Morgan.
The title, Laundry Day, comes from writing this during the extra time it takes to dry laundry in this all-electric home (the Hill Country of west Austin makes natural gas service unknown here.) We do enjoy the vistas of the area, however, and we are looking forward to new vistas in our lives as we look to this New Life in the New Year! Now if only the fire that Morgan lights in our hearts could be put to use drying clothes...
I love and miss y'all,