Well, Liv is gone this weekend. She left yesterday with her father. Tinton flew in on Tuesday and rested all day on Wednesday. He is working in Pakistan with a lava effusion team and will be there until early September, so no summer vacation for him with Liv. Too dangerous a region and much of the work is on the Afghan border. But, he freed up some time and with my agreement, decided to take Liv to New York City for Easter.
They have it all planned out. Tinton scored great tickets to The Book of Mormon and Once. He tried to get tickets to Mary Poppins, but couldn't find any good seats. He's promised her a carriage ride through Central Park. (Liv's comment: "I know it's cheesy but I want to say I've done it.") A friend of his owns a jazz and supper club in Harlem and he's taking her to see a sextet called One For All. They are attending Easter services at Trinity Church. Liv wanted to see what it looked like.
All in all, it sounds like a blast. They left yesterday and won't be back until Monday. Then, Tinton will rest up with us until the following weekend and head back to Pakistan.
I am so glad that he came back to us. Liv was happy as she packed. When he told us that there would be no summer trip for them this year, she was sad but understood. She is remarkably pragmatic, even at 12. But, then as Tinton and I talked on the phone occasionally, he was so sad about not seeing her for a whole summer that he decided to just insist on some time off. He says it was risky, he felt honored to be selected for this job and worried that they would move to replace him, but the head geologist told him to take as much time as he needed...as long as it was no more than two weeks.
Packing with Liv is an experience. She is in that in-between stage, not yet a teen, not exactly a child...but she's growing up so quickly. I would say that she is a young 12, she is not boy crazy yet but her body is changing at a much faster rate than mine did. I was nearly sixteen before I had any curves and was always flat as a board. She is already as curvy as a willow and must take after my sisters or Tinton's mother, because she already has a chest. Sometimes, I will be walking with her and catch men and boys giving her the once over and I sort of want to smash their teeth in and say, She's just a little girl! Back off!"
But, in other ways, she is very grown up. She has a sense of style that is uniquely her and I'm glad she isn't falling into a set category. She's not goth, not sporty, not um...slutty, or girly girl. She likes nice clean lines and nothing too busy, with the exception of plaid, she likes plaid. She finds most of her clothes at thrift shops but is no stranger to Anthropologie, delia's or Soul-Flowers. Tinton has already told me not to buy her any summer outfits, that they plan to shop for all that on Saturday and then have it shipped home to me. When I protested that she hasn't really grown much this year and has plenty of clothes that are still quite wearable, he sweetly asked me to please lighten up and let him spoil his daughter once in awhile.
So, mouth shut. And that kid has the coolest clothes. Our good friends, Vince and Thuan are style hogs and the know what appeals to her so they send her lots of clothes from Chicago. You name it, shoes, clothes, sweaters, purses, hair gear. And now...a new wardrobe from some funky shops in New York City. Ah. I'm jealous.
She can also eat like a hog and not gain a pound. At her last check up, her pediatrician told me that she was slightly underweight and quite tall for her age, that I should encourage her to eat more. I had to laugh. She eats a lot. She must have the metabolism of a hummingbird, though.
I will miss my girl, but to be honest...I am sort of glad to have a weekend off. Although I think Liv and I get on better than a lot of tweens and their mothers, we still knock heads now and then. And getting her out of that bed every morning has been an experience. I've tried everything short of pouring ice cold water on her with less than stellar results. So then I end up bitching and she ends up growling at me to please stop "screeching" at her at 6:30 a.m. I do not screech. I swear it. And she drives Bing nuts with her half hour long showers. During the week, it's not so bad since Bing leaves for work just as we are getting up, but on the weekends? Ugh. I can sense Bing gritting her teeth as she keeps looking at her watch. We used to have a water saving timer in the shower and I talked her into discarding it. Now, I am prepared to find that she has set it up again any day now.
I often feel less close to Liv than I used to be. When she was a toddler and we were joined at the hip, I couldn't imagine a time when she wouldn't adore me and want to be with me every single second. Now, sometimes...I feel her pulling away from me slightly and sometimes she goes in her bedroom and shuts her door and I know it is because she is sick of me, of us. I tell myself that this is perfectly normal. And her grades are excellent, her friends interesting and good natured. She rarely challenges my rules and when she does, she manages to do it with grace and not use that ranty teenage verbage. But, I do have friends with teenaged children and they tell me that it generally starts to get bad at about age 13 and that by 16, all that hard parenting work seems like it was for naught and then...they come back to you when they are about 17.
Liv used to hang on every word I said and copy me closely. Now, she will deliberately disagree with me (about small things...like who is good on Idol and who sucks) and I get the feeling that it is more just to set herself apart, that she wants to be herself and not like me. And then I start to wonder...when did I become this boring person who is outdated and slightly ridiculous? How did we get from "I want to be JUST like you when I grow up! to "Mother, I would rather die than wear that. Please...just no." And the odd thing? I get the strong feeling that if Tinton or Vince or Thuan or even Bing sometimes would say the same thing that I did, she'd be agreeable, think it was great.
So, I pick my battles carefully and am cautious with what I say. Like...I didn't want to make a huge deal about how much I loved the book, The Hunger Games because I knew that it might make her shy away from it.
I miss Liv. But..you know sometimes when I least expect it, she comes sailing back to me. As I helped drag her bags into the airport yesterday, I felt tears start in the back of my throat. Not because I was going to miss her so much, but just because she was...leaving. I always feel unsettled when she isn't under my roof every night. I was working so hard not to show my sentimental feelings when she suddenly put down her bags next to her father and came up and hugged me hard, whispered that she hoped Bing and I had fun at Aunt Patrice's house and that she'd bring me back a memento. And that she would miss me sooooo much.
I was so surprised that my tears dried up before they got to my eyes.
I expect to live on this odd precipice now for the next several years.
So, I gaily waved goodbye and got into the car and when I arrived back home, there was a little drawing on my pillow. It was of a woman holding hands with a little girl. Under it, she wrote:
I can always feel your hand in mine even when I am miles away. Have fun with Bing while I'm gone and I'm throwing you a kiss RIGHT NOW so try and catch it.
Then there was an arrow pointing to turn the paper over. On the back, it read:
Okay, Mama klutz, you missed the kiss, so I put it on your pillow so that you can feel it just as you fall asleep like you always kiss me before I fall asleep. I may act like it's no big deal, but those goodnight kisses make my heart go softly into my dreams. Thanks for all those years of goodnight kisses. I love you. See you on Monday night. I'll be the girl who looks like a native New Yorker...ha ha. Love, your daughter, Liv Lastname.
This made me smile. She ALWAYS signs her card Liv Lastname, as if I won't know who it is if she doesn't put our last name down.
Now...Bing and I are on to a fun filled weekend. Since she still has a bad back and I've been achy too....we plan to sleep in, have very, very careful sex and maybe catch a movie. On Easter Sunday, she has a church gig, so I will put on my Easter duds and then we'll go over to my sister's for Easter ham.
I'm old...I can only have wild, weed pulsating weekends about once a year...
This will do fine.
Have a happy Easter, bunnies.