So if you read last week’s post, you know I brought Tessa on a 7 hour drive to a small town in Kansas for the biennial Swedish Harvest festival and my college’s homecoming.
Before I share random thoughts, I would first like to thank the zit that accompanied me. The last time such a sub-dermal chud erupted on my chin was several years ago, so it clearly had been saving up for this special occasion. Its timing was perfect — at full bloom the day of the alumni parade. It made me feel not so lonely. Thanks. Really.
1. I kicked Tessa out of the car at a truck stop.
Tessa did well for about 10 of the 14 driving hours. But one time she got so upset (from boredom, in spite of the bag-o’-activities I packed) that she wouldn’t stop wailing and complaining, which was really annoying to our fellow traveler and to me.
So I pulled over at a truck stop and did some Love & Logic. I got her out of the car, got back in myself and locked the doors. I told her she was welcome back in when she calmed down and was ready to be pleasant. It was 40 degrees and she was in short sleeves, so I thought it would be quick. But Tessa is nothing if not stubborn.
Every 3 minutes or so I’d crack the window and dangle her sweatshirt, asking if she was ready to calm down. She’d step away and glare. And then resume wailing.
It took about 20 minutes for her to say she was ready to be pleasant.
I held her for awhile, and she WAS pleasant the rest of the trip.
2. A former beau
On the way out, I stopped to see a guy I dated my junior year, Tim. I last saw Tim about 10 years ago. Despite the fact that I was (and am) happily married, at that time I imagined how my life would have been had things worked out between us. And I imagined he did, too.
But this time I didn’t. My life is engrained now, grooved. It is what it is, and I realize now my life could be no other way. I imagined he felt the same.
I enjoyed catching up — he’s looking mighty fine. His daughter and Tessa are now BFFs.
3. Old insecurities
I watched the harvest parade with a group of alums. Most of them graduated 2-3 years before I did, and I didn’t feel quite “in” with this group of about 50. I didn’t anticipate feeling like an intruder, an outsider. Nothing anyone did made me feel that way — just my old patterns.
This says a lot more about me than about anyone else, I think.
Everyone else looked so much older than I do! And I bet each person thought the exact same thing. Our own perceptions are so unreliable.
5. Another road not taken
I stayed with my dear friends Jen and Jake, two people from bigger cities who met and married during college and remained in Lindsborg. I got a glimpse of what it would have been like to build a life in this small town, a place where you don’t lock your car or home, where you get just one TV station, and where it takes 20 minutes to walk a couple of blocks because you stop to chat with each of the neighbors you see. A place where your kids are safe from fast cars and strangers.
It was charming. I could see me doing it in another reality.
When I lived in Lindsborg for 4 years, I didn’t even notice the country twang. Like the extra Rs, as in “I was warshing my truck the other day.” Or the drawn out cadence, as in “HOW ya LIKin’ LIFE in DINver?”
7. Mean Mommy
The afternoon of the big football game, Tessa accompanied me to a wireless hotspot in the campus cafeteria for a brief check of email. But apparently I took too long because she slid into a tantrum. I packed up as quickly as I could, but she was too far gone. She wouldn’t come with me, so I headed across campus to the car, knowing she would follow me and my rolling laptop.
She did, trailing and wailing at the top of her lungs, “YOU’RE A MEAN MOMMY!”
We made quite an impression, I’m afraid, on all the people heading to the stadium for the game.
And we missed the game in lieu of a nap.
8. Going unconscious.
It’s interesting that I experienced homecoming weekend while immersing myself in Root Chakra (tribal) and Sacral Chakra (relationships) energies. For it allowed me to revisit a time when I was largely unconscious of my motivations at a time when I am becoming more and more conscious.
Still, though, I found myself falling into old habits. I hung back for fear that I would be judged and deemed too something or not something enough. I was more uncomfortable approaching a group of women than a group of men, because I naturally assumed the women wouldn’t let me in. Haven’t gotten to why I thought that yet.
I noticed a lot of posturing and in response I played the game, too:
Lynette: I left my tenured professorship 4 years ago to become a stock analyst at Hoity Toity & Associates.
Me: Really? I had a student from the Osaka Hoity Toity office when I taught in Japan.
Not to add to the conversation, but to show that I, too, had done something interesting with my life.
At least I am becoming conscious of my unconsciousness.
9. The real homecoming
It was good to come home. To Roger and Reed.