Friday, April 22, 2011


Making plans to visit my youngest son is like trying to see the Dali Lama.  He is enveloped in his job and can be unreachable for hours.  He is a cancer doctor for children and it is difficult to leave the ward when someone small is dying.  He stays.
It is a cold raw day in the Midwest, spring was here briefly for one day of seventy degrees and then we slammed those windows shut again. Ypsilanti Michigan is 425 miles away and I load the car up with books and yogurt and we head north.  There will be the challenge of driving around Chicago and no one's figured out how to do this efficiently.  Riding past the lake, the big one, Dave talks about renting a large cabin on the beach and inviting all the children, his and mine, for several days.  He babbles on about  bonfires and weenie roasts and I see myself hunched over a table peeling a mammoth pile of potatoes.

Arya is newly turned four and she could baffle a college debate team. She is complex and multi-leveled and fears nothing but public toilets as any intelligent person does. She sits in the backseat wearing Dave's sunglasses upside down and we get lost going from Walmart to her home. After two phone calls to her mother and a chat with a gas station guy in a town south of Ypsilanti we are back on the right road.  Arya is patient with us but it is clear she expects the adults in her life to be more organized.. 

Olive is almost one year old.  She's leery of me, who can blame her, I am this silly gushing grandma and Dave strikes her as the more interesting relative, big and gruff, like nobody in her life. She requires structure and sameness in her baby world and I am clearly an interruption of that.  She stares at me steely-eyed from the safety of her mother's lap and then gives me a little sniff and turns her attention to her rowdy grandfather.  Olive is aware she is in charge of the kingdom and she uses her power modestly.

Jim and Sara's condo is full to busting with baby furniture and it looks like the University will make Jim a deal he can't refuse and they will stay in Michigan. I tell him he can now buy a house with a guest bedroom and a ring for Sara's finger. I want a daughter-in-law.  I need a daughter-in-law. I deserve a daughter-in-law.  I have come close several times only to have my hopes dashed against the craggy shores  of bachelorhood, my sons shaking off  commitment like a couple of wet dogs.  Woof.

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