Today, the boy and I watched Up. He hadn’t seen it before today (we never went to see it in the theater together for some reason), so we went to the store and bought the DVD, invited one of his friends over, and sat down to watch it together. When we got to the montage of Carl and Ellie’s life, and Carl was sitting alone after the funeral, Connor said, “Did they get a divorce?” His friend answered him and said, “No, she died…” “Oh,” said Connor.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to watch him try and untangle his life, at those times when his world mixes with the world of adults and he doesn’t know quite what it all means. His parents separated before he was two years old. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel sad for him.
The drive down the I-80 corridor from Utah to California . . . is long. Yesterday, during the late afternoon hours, I got to watch the sun go down while Weston slept in the passenger seat. As we drove past the town of Wells, the clouds were dark, almost black, but the sky was lit up all gold and orange. There was a razor-sharp line of contrast between the clouds and the sky . . . Then, the clouds passed, and the colors got darker and richer until the sky was this gradient of fiery orange on the horizon transitioning into the deep blue-black full of stars at the top. The heaven seems closer in the middle of the Nevada desert, and it gives you a chance to think, because once you’re there, you’re stuck in the middle of it for a long time. There is no better place on earth (that I have found) to see the stars—the milky way is this shimmering river across the sky, and there is so little moisture in the air that the stars are clear and bright in a way that makes them seem more real, somehow. It makes me think about the difference between heaven and earth, because it feels like you’re driving right on the dividing line between the two. What happens when we leave the highway, and make the transition into something . . . else. I think the Nevada desert knows.
This week, I got to do the coolest thing. I haven’t said anything about it yet, because it was a surprise for my sister. At least, that’s the official reason. One could argue that the real reason I haven’t been writing much is because I’m lazy. ANYWAY… I picked her up (completely by surprise), and took her to the SALON for her birthday! We were very excited to go get hair & nails done, but it was extra exciting because we went to Shauna’s school! It was so fun. A bottle or two of red toenail polish and a half-and-half mix of 7G/7N later… I look very different. My toes look like sparkly red Christmas ornaments from Crate and Barrel (I LOVE the color), and my hair is much darker. Em went more conservative with her hair, but it’s very, very pretty. I’m a bad sister, because I didn’t take photos after we were done (it was dark and snowing and we had to get home). I did take a few pictures while we were there, and some pictures of myself later on… although I have to apologize for the quality of the pictures. It’s very hard to take pictures of oneself. I admire anyone who can get good self-portraits. Maybe if I set up some sort of studio with a tripod and a timer… but alas, no. I handed the camera over to the eight-year-old instead.
(The boy wanted to do silly faces at the end.)
UNFORTUNATELY, I have no pictures of my sister’s beautiful hair (bad, bad Shauna). I might have to go sneak up on her and take some.
Went to Long John Silver’s today with mom & the boy. It’s something to look forward to for me, because the closest Long John Silver’s is over 45 minutes away (over an hour in traffic), so we don’t go there much. Today it was something to REALLY look forward to, because most of the things I had to do today were not fun things. All the stuff that came before Long John’s… not fun. But once we got there… I had fish, chicken, crumbly things (oh, sweet crumbly things), hushpuppies… all the good stuff. We went there tonight because we were already in the neighborhood, and we were already in the neighborhood because that’s where the counselor’s office is. Lots of heavy lifting today.
I learned something there tonight. I need to validate my son’s feelings after he tells me things. Too often, my reaction is to brush off whatever he’s disappointed about, or sad about, or angry about. I need to really listen to him instead, and acknowledge the feelings he has (which are real). I think I would have stayed blind to that for a lot longer if we hadn’t gone in tonight. So even though the past few weeks have been truly nightmarish, and the incidents that led to the counseling appointment are not things I care to go through again, I’m glad we ended up there. A small directional shift that may end up leading us to a point down the road that’s miles away from where we would have been otherwise.