My eating patterns change when I’m around my kids. When else would I start off the day with this kind of breakfast?
(at Jam, a few blocks down from my daughter’s new Chicago place)
And when have you seen me eat a big lunch? When my girl asks – hey mom, I’m getting a banh mi, do you want one? What is that? – I want to know. A yummy sandwich with daikon, carrot, cilantro, jalapenos and lemongrass tofu. Sure, I say. Because I’m curious and because she’s eating one and that makes me hungry.
I’m less helpful with unpacking today. I retreat to grading, wanting very much to finish this monstrous chore by the New Year. But I do run a few errands and it’s a welcome break from basically staying put and eating.
By evening, she and I put aside our various work. My older daughter has already left Chicago to see friends somewhere on the other side of the continent and my younger one will be taking off tomorrow. But this evening is still ours – hers and mine – and she takes me for a celebratory drink – a new year/old year drink at the Violet Hour, and it is the most dangerously delicious drink on the planet.
We eat a Greek meal at Taxim and she reminds me that when I was near her age, I had a crazed romance with a Greek man who was a bar tender on one of the more remote Greek islands. It's an unfortunate memory (though one with an indifferent ending) and I am thinking that it's good that my daughters are less insane in their revelries, but, too, that I did eventually learn to enjoy calmer days and quiet nights. There comes a time when you would rather spend an evening reading or writing than throwing plates and dancing in circles with someone who doesn't speak your language nor you his.
Which is good, because I am returning to Madison and most likely my New Year’s Eve will be with Ed and I’ll be reading or writing and he’ll be resting. My occasional traveling companion sprained his ankle playing volley ball the other day – rather poor timing, as we are to leave next week to do some hiking (in a place where, unfortunately, neither of us speaks the language).
For now, I'm buried in work papers. It's foggy outside. The year's end is quiet. And that's not a bad thing.