Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane....

We leave tomorrow for New Orleans. Actually, we head to Baton Rouge first to visit friends at their bed and breakfast for a night and then on Thanksgiving, we will drive to Bing's Aunt and Uncle's re-made sugar cane plantation home just outside of New Orleans.

We'll be gone a week and my sister and her family will stay in our home when they come for Thanksgiving at my other sister's home, so we don't have to board Socks. We had been dreading that and almost decided to let him come with us. I can't believe that we are that family now. The ones who travel with their dog along.

I'm looking forward to this. Christmas will be typically busy for us as Liv's father and his assistant and good friend, Nirand, will be coming to stay too. And, of course, Christmas isn't Christmas without Vince and Thuan, our friends from Chicago. They are the only ones who overdo the holiday and spoil us rotten.

We are making a traditional American holiday dinner for Christmas at Liv's pleading. She wants a ham, au gratin potatoes, corn and lots of good french bread. I have promised to tease Lisette (the cook at Bing's Aunt and Uncle's home in New Orleans) until she gives me her recipe for bourbon brownies and make those to eat with peppermint ice cream.

We will be fat as sows when Bing leaves for India on December 27th.

But, trying not to think too much about that. And relieved that our company is staying until January 3rd this year, so will have shoulders to cry on for that first week.

To those of you who have been relentlessly badgering me with e-mails regarding our electricity....it is fixed.  (And thank you for caring, seriously. Especially to Lizzy, who bluntly told me that I was being coy by not assuring everyone that we had not burned to death in an electrical fire....)Turns out that it was some sort of short at the pole in our back yard, so we didn't have to pay an electrician. The technician who came out DID accidentally knock over our neighbor's bird house and he is mad as a wet hen, but we are dealing. And in the process, I have learned an electricity lesson which I will not bore you with.

Now, we just need a new fridge. But...surprise, surprise. It is now behaving and has stopped leaking. This will last until Bing leaves for India. This happens EVERY time she leaves. Some major appliance breaks down. I've been teasing Bing to just cave and go to Nebraska Furniture Mart with me and purchase a new one. I have my eye on a 2000$ Swedish model, but she isn't biting. I am considering bartering with sex, which I am SO not above doing.

I have a dark side that is rather unattractive, did I mention that?

Liv and I are making the rounds of high schools to try to find the perfect match for her. I am disappointed to say that she is not much interested in the ones I like. I was gently pushing for her to go back to a Montessori school, one that goes up to 12th grade. She says that she's done with Montessori and that they don't have a sophisticated enough science lab to hold her interest. She is seriously considering staying in parochial school, debating between two all girl Catholic high schools.

She is fascinated with Catholicism, not to join the church, but it's history. She studies it seriously and with real interest. I'm a little put off by this, but am determined not to sway her. Let her find her own way, as I did. I made the decision to leave the church for good when I was in my 20's and I suspect that she will never want to join the church, but her favorite class in her Catholic junior high is religion. It is taught by a rather jocular young priest and he encourages free thinking, which, I believe, is quite rare. He's sort of a gansta priest, if you can imagine that. I've asked him at parent/teacher conferences why he thinks that Liv is so entranced by the subject of Catholicism. He looked at me incredulously and laughed.

"I may be going out on a limb here, but I suspect that she senses your dislike of the subject and is drawn to it for that reason, Ms. Lastname. Keep in mind that as unusual as your Liv is, she is still a budding teenager and is still anxious to separate from you. She loves you, but like most girls her age, she feels a pull to be your opposite in order to express her individuality."

I actually like this guy. He makes perfect sense to my brain. It's my heart that is stumbling along. Hard to imagine that this is the same child who just two years ago told me that she wanted to be just like me when she grew up. Now, we shop together occasionally and I watch her say no to every single thing I pick up even when I know she has to like some of the things I hold up. She is polite, but firm.

My friends tell me that she will return to me when she is about 17, that the years from 13-16 are pretty much meant for exploring exactly what I don't want her to be or find interesting.

I suppose I should feign an interest in boy bands just to keep her from listening to their music. Or maybe I should act like I want her to buy tube tops and wear them frequently. Then, perhaps, she will dress like an Amish child.

She's in there, I can sense her. But, as the priest suggests, I also see her making deliberate decisions to be different than me.

So....I am thinking of buying a rosary and suggesting that we say it together every night after dinner as I did in the home where I grew up. Maybe this is the only way to steer her away.

Oh well. Truthfully, I actually like St. Dominique's Academy or The Peace Academy. The two all female Catholic high schools she is leaning towards. I just don't like them being associated with Catholicism. They both have excellent science and math programs and have sports teams. I know she would thrive there.

This is the price I pay for insisting that she think for herself, I fear. But, I am counting on her coming back to me.

It isn't as if we argue or don't get along. We do. She and I are still close. She isn't much of a hugger or a sharer, but then, neither am I. We take the dog for long walks together. She talks to me. But, I suspect that any talk of boys (or girls....but I honestly believe that she is heterosexual) or girlish fantasies of dreams is done with Socks. He has always been her confidante. And he is a good secret keeper. I know this because he keeps mine too.

So, I'll be back in another week and share my adventures in the deep South.  I expect that you'll be having your own adventures in my absence.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. And hey? Anyone want to share their Thanksgiving rituals or plans? Might be interesting to the rest of us.....


Anonymous said...

How can catholic high schools have " excellent science" programs?

Isn't that an oxymoron?

Happy holidays and safe travels!

Kimberly Wyatt said...

To Anonymous: Catholics actually accept the teachings of evolution and the vast majority of modern scientific theory. Definitely not an oxymoron. Catholicism is not an evangelical, Creationist religion.

And Maria, I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through undergrad, and loved every minute. The environment is generally good, the education was top-notch, and for me, being taught about religion on a regular basis actually gave me the foundation to branch away from the Church. So don't worry about it being a Catholic school too much. ;)

I grew up saying the Rosary regularly, and I sometimes miss the meditative quiet that I still associate with it. Maybe I should start saying it again, just so I can get 15 minutes of peace and quiet! "Not now, kids. Mommy's praying to a deity she may or may not believe in, using prayers from an organized religion that she doesn't quite want to associate with."

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Destingirls said...

We are going through this in our house with six girls ages 9-18. As hard as it is you just have to let them go. You have a very close relationship with Liv...she will come back.

MmeBenaut said...

This sounds so good Maria that I wish I was visiting you both in New Orleans and for Christmas.
That priest could have been channeling you with his response - he must have been a psychology major.
I am so happy for you that life is so much better right now.
As for the fridge - we have an upside down fridge and I just love it. Freezer section at the bottom so no bending for those with sore knees, as often.
Happy Thanksgiving to you my dear friend.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Bourbon brownies, please!!! I'm afraid I can't barter for sex.

Hope the trip was/is wonderful.

We had loads of Thanksgiving traditions. They're all out the window since moving to Spain. Our Thanksgiving dinner was another incredible tapas meal. No turkey in sight. I asked for pumpkin pie. They just laughed at me.

the only daughter said...

We had our usual fare, the usual company...mom commenting about my hair, as usual. Liv is exploring and she will return, she'll be fine.

Lovely plan, travel for Thanksgiving.