Sunday, November 9, 2008

Facing an Empty Nest or Life Without Velvet

This morning during our weekly phone call, my father said that Hillary Clinton should be Barak Obama's first appointment to the Supreme Court. "Great idea," I said. "Your mother thought of it." So much for Dad's first political statement here at Menopausal Stoners.

Actually, that's about all the energy I have for politics today anyway. I still get teary whenever I see Barak Obama. Seeing him reminds me that if he could overcome all those obstacles to be president, think of everything each of us could accomplish if we tried - and what the country can accomplish if we work together. I'd be completely fucking optimistic if I weren't bummed out about Velvet leaving me in an empty nest.

All this time I've been thinking about how I define myself by revolving around a man - and the one I revolve around most is Velvet. It's just I forget he's a man now. He didn't used to be and he still barely counts as a man. With his stylish hair cut and van dyke whiskers he looks kind of like a Jewish Evil Spok. He's only a quarter Jewish, but as one of my neighbors on the playground informed me when he was still a toddler, that was Jewish enough for Hitler.

He's been the center of my life since he first made his teensy weensy presence known at Petrosian when I was about 6 days pregnant. I hadn't even missed my period yet when my sister was visiting for a few days. She and I used to enjoy theatre marathons where we'd stand in line for two-fers, go see a matinee, stand in line for two-fers again and go see another play. That visit we went to Petrosian for chilled vodka and caviar to commemorate taking Russian together back at Spring High School. I was good at saying, "Nostrovia," and tossing back a vodka shot - but that day the instant the first shot hit my tummy, it bounced.

It was Velvet, already complaining about my lifestyle. That didn't stop me from having another. After caviar, KPP and I had a lemon and blueberry tart that was quite tasty. Velvet had no more complaints that day. It wasn't long before I missed my period and confirmed via home pregnancy test that Velvet was on his way. Buzz Kill and I had been trying for a baby, so everyone was excited - even my mother.

That's just the first story about Velvet. He's had a number of monikers over the years. First we called him the Bean Taco because that's what he looked like all wrapped up and swaddled in his little blanket. When he was in early elementary school, we called him Mandark because of his interest in Vampires, Werewolves and conjuring the Devil.

One day he told me he'd had a vision of Hell. It looked just like our apartment complex except it was on fire and you had to eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts every day until you got sick. I figured Mandark had a pretty good life if eating Krispy Kremes until you got sick was the worst thing he could imagine. Nevertheless, I told Mandark to leave the Devil outside. The Baptist in me was alarmed, and I was afraid we'd have to get him dunked if he fooled around too much with the Devil. My shrink said I could simmer down because most likely Mandark had been distressed by his own anger about some kid on the playground.

When he was a few years older, it became clear that inside he was a little Jewish man named Irving. The most pronounced evidence of Irving came during a weekend in Paris. I apparently suggested he get hot cocoa one too many times and he snapped. "What's with you and the cocoa? You know it gives me indigestion!" This from a 10 year old.

Eventually he became Velvet after Eddie Murphy's character Velvet Jones the pimp who wrote the book, "I Want to be a Ho." It all started when he told Rhet that he believed I should be dating someone who'd slip him 50 bucks to get lost.

Now he's a shining example of a student of Green Engineering who will solve the energy problems facing our country just like Al Gore talks about in this morning's New York Times.

I'm very proud of him and delighted at the opportunities that will be open to him - assuming all goes well. I'm also kind of excited at the prospect of having another life for myself since I'm only 50 (almost). According to AARP, fifty is the new thirty. I'll buy that.

Fortunately, I'll have a year to reflect on my new status before Buzz Kill and I have to sell the condo and split the cash. Maybe two years. Then I'll have to decide where I want to live for the next phase. The jury is still out on whether I'm a Texan or a New Yorker at heart. Just as I think I'm ready to start packing and head home, I see a sunset on the Hudson or experience a quintessential New York Moment like the other night when Obama won the election and the whole city cheered and cried with joy and relief. That would NOT have happened in Texas.

The idea of spending so much time in this apartment by myself is a little daunting. Velvet has been leaving his dirty socks and soda cans in the living room for years and years. He'll come home for long weekends and holidays, probably bringing six friends, but it will never ever be the same.

That's the way life is supposed to go. But it still kind of sucks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harsh toke, isn't it? I obsess about this all the time, and my daughter just turned 13. I would like to think we'll all leap gracefully, gratefully into a new life, but . . .

November 9, 2008 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Comrade Kevin said...

At least you worry about him and have reservations about him leaving the nest. I've known a few kids where their parents wanted them to leave, thought they were a supreme imposition to their own lives, and wished them to never come back to bother them again.

November 10, 2008 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

Hi Trish-
Like I said, I love reading about Velvet. It warms my heart. I know the 'empty nest' well. When my boy left, the last of three, it was life-changing. He is an amazing young man and was a great kid too.

I guess, as I have adjusted to so many changes I can tell you this. You are SO right, it is never the same. And to my delight, over time, it got better than I ever imagined. When your child brings back the world they explore and the person they are becoming, it is nothing short of wondrous. I am thankful every day that he shares his world with me, includes me, ya know? And from what I have read about you and Velvet, brace yourself for the most amazing Mother/Son connection ever!!


November 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

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