Saturday, February 18, 2006

Changing of the seasons of one's life

I've been procrastinating on posting this past week. I'm not sure why since I have what feels like a zillion draft posts from the last two weeks in various stages of being complete. But somehow, until today, I just couldn't bring myself to post. Then, after having a lovely morning lingering with many cups of coffee, several weeks of New York Times, and with MBH followed by a fun filled lunch over oriental noodles with Ardent Eden it became clear why I've been so reluctant to publish a post. I was trying to hang on to the last vestiges of high summer. Yes, you read that right high summer. You know that time of summer in late July/early August when spring feels like an eternity before but you can't imagine that fall will arrive any time soon. Of course I know it is mid February here in Boston. Afterall it was only 25 degrees today and we've had snow flurries on and off all afternoon. I am speaking metaphorically. You see, last week the seasons of my life began to change and frankly, I wasn't even looking to see that summer was about over. Now, there are signs that fall is right around the corner.

My mom had a heart attack two weeks ago. It wasn't a severe heart attack but none the less it was a heart attack. She had it on Tuesday evening and didn't tell anyone until Friday night. Her reason? She didn't have her lesson plans for the week done and didn't want to saddle a substitute teacher with a class of unruly 2nd Graders and no lesson plans. So she finished the week out and THEN told my dad. My dad, thinking he would unduly worry me called and left a cryptic message on my cellphone that night. "Hi honey. It's your dad. Hope you are well. Call me when you get a second. Love you." Nothing about an emergency. Nothing about my mom being stubborn and not wanting him to take her to the hospital until AFTER she had next week's lesson plans done. No sense of urgency. Just a typical message from my dad. So, I blissfully listened to the message and not knowing that 1100 miles away he was wanting me to call to convince my mom that she needed to go to the hospital decided to wait to return the call until Sunday evening. After all, it was summer and I had fields of wild flowers to play in and sun baked roads to wander.

On Sunday evening, it turned decidedly fall like when my dad called to tell me my mom was in the hospital and he wanted me to come home. It was too late to hop a plane to Northern Michigan. The closest I could get was Detroit and as it was Super Bowl Sunday. The game was being held in the Motor City and there wasn't a hotel room for hundreds of miles around. So, I tossed and turned for twelve hours in Cambridge with MBH my rock and pillar. I was on the first flight out of Boston Monday morning, not knowing what I would find but starting to see the wooly caterpillar that signals a change of season is coming. Six hours later, while landing at the airport about an hour south of my folk's house and from the hospital where my mom was in cardiac intensive care felt surreal. Thirty-five mile per hour winds buffeted the plane but the knot in the pit of my stomach wasn't from fear of crashing but from the fear that when I stepped off the plane the look on my dad's face would tell me that my mom had taken a bad turn or worse. Luckily, it was neither just relief that I had come home despite my mother's urgings that she was ok and I shouldn't worry.

When do we start to parent our parents? And when do we realise that our parents really won't be here forever? I guess we fool ourselves into thinking that time stands still when we reach the middle of our lives. Just like we fool ourselves into thinking summer will never end. But summer does come to an end and time slowly marches on; neither stopping regardless of our attempts to make them do so. Now, not unlike when I see the first hints of fall on the maple trees or the blooming of my favourite wild flower, Queen Anne's Lace, I know summer is coming to a slow but steady end. Fall will be here soon and I had better not waste a precious moment of this summer's sun.