Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wild Roots, Cheesecake and Flaming Trees: Traveling Kids – Part IX

According to Colby, his mother loves him but doesn’t understand his lifestyle. He called her a few times while he was here and it was apparent that communicating was difficult. I did not eavesdrop nor did I ask questions; he was clearly stressed out after conversing with his mom.

He told me that his brother, one year younger, was also a ‘traveling kid.’ No mother should have to endure that. Her only sons are out there and all she has is that damn school of fish. Why?

Colby told me that his brother planned on living the rest of his life as a traveler and that he told his mother this, which did not go over well. His younger brother also got married a few months ago. Missing the wedding was the least of her problems.

Why should she be okay with this?

Talk of Colby’s brother opened a new line of questioning, nudging our conversation into the realm of the future. Of course no one knows what the future holds. Live in the present.

Would they come in for a landing some day?  How did they feel about being houseless (not homeless); say two, five or ten years down the road? Did they see themselves hopping trains and thumbing around the country indefinitely? I painted images with words like, toothless, wrinkled, prone to disease, etc. Anna quickly told me that she wants to travel now while she is young, before she settles into a career and family. Colby said that he planned on turning an old camper that he had at his mother’s house into a bus, a traveling art studio. He just needs to come up with money somehow for a pick-up truck. After he transforms the pop-up camper into a studio, he will go to festivals and sell his art. He is very talented. I hope that this works.

When Anna was a little girl, I used to keep a large, hot pink, beach pail stocked with craft items – popsicle sticks, glue, pompoms, thread, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc. – her ‘bucket of junk’. She simply made things all the time. She is a creative whirlwind. She also sews and knits. She used to hand make all of her clothes, I am talking stunning dresses, skirts and hats. If she is part of the traveling studio, she will not be at a loss for what to make, however, I hope that she stays on her musical path. If you have heard her music, you will understand.

Enough talk of welding old pop-up campers. My goal at the moment was to enjoy the gift of time that I had with my daughter. I was not thrilled to share her with her traveling buddy for the entire week, but it is what it is. Colby is a nice kid who somehow ended up coming out the other side of things the way my daughter did and they were traveling together. I had to go with it.

In maintaining my true nature, my nesting instincts took over as we did things like carve jack-o- lanterns, sip apple cider and cocoa, snuggle (Anna and I), stack firewood and bake chocolate chip cookies.

I threw a small party for Anna because she would be away on her birthday. No Thanksgiving or Christmas with her either. I’m the kind of Momma who likes to wrap a 24 pound turkey in bacon and roast it in a wood kitchen cook stove. We are not of the Christian faith, however we celebrate Christmas with a traditional family gathering; a time for sharing and celebrating the Yuletide. It’s all about family, music, food (never fail fudge, anatomically correct gingerbread people and tiger butter), twinkling lights and coziness. I am sad that she will not be home.

My sister and her family came over for the birthday party. I placed a few candles on a decadent cheesecake surrounded by cupcakes and we gave her gifts. I told my family that gift cards were good for her, because of the being inside of the backpack thing.

I gave her a charm necklace, seizing the opportunity to express myself on something that she will wear close to her heart. The charm in the middle is a beautiful “A” in calligraphy. There are four silver rings – two on each side of the A – each engraved with a word; Integrity, Wisdom, Remember and Mother. Of course she loved it and put it on immediately.

Later on we sat around the bonfire – a brush pile that seemed like it might burn down the entire forest. It didn’t thanks to my son, the violinist, who came for a short visit before Anna’s departure. With a garden hose, he sprayed the leaves on the trees that had not yet changed color and dropped. Flames and sparks threatened. A chipmunk darted out from beneath the burning brush into the woods. Anna sat on a stump with her guitar and sang her “Circus Song” along with many others.

I love harmonizing with her. Our voices are different, yet there is core equivalence. The roots that run deep, that are twisted and firm and sometimes even frenzied; grow together with a fierceness that is wild and aware as they merge into one.

The last I heard, she was on a Chinatown Bus somewhere between NYC and Philly.

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