How can I be this old?

chef jeremyToday is my baby boy’s 30th birthday.

I don’t know how it is possible that I am old enough to have a 30-year-old child.  Life is one, big goofy trip.

I had a rough pregnancy and he was 9 weeks premature.  After he was born, I only got to hold him for a minute before they whisked him off to a NICU isolette.  In that minute, I fell irretrievably in love with him.

Suffice it to say that Chef Boy ‘R Mine is the love of my life.

He has turned into a marvelous man and an exceptional chef – I honestly don’t know how it was that we were surprised by his decision to become a chef.  The evidence was there all those years ago.

Happy Birthday, Punkin’, I love you.


Photo by Roy Welburn

Photo by Roy Welburn

I’m snuggled on the couch with the puppy drinking coffee.  After complaining about the heat for days, I’m enjoying the storm waging outside The Barn.

I promised myself I would not complain about this summer’s heat after last winter’s cold.  I meant well.

But there’s nothing like feeling safe inside while the rain rages outside.  I feel snug and loved as the puppy is using this opportunity to cover me with sweet puppy kisses.

I joke that Carruthers should be here.  Whenever she visits, West Virginia is dowsed in torrents of rain – tropical monsoons the likes of which we all marvel at.  But Carruthers is turning 25 while doing fieldwork in Indonesia.  I bet it’s more tropical here today.

Her birthday isn’t technically until tomorrow, but it’s tomorrow today where she is, so I wished her Happy Birthday as she ate Mexican food and listened to salsa music in an Indonesian restaurant.  Isn’t it a wonderful world!

One of the greatest blessings I received from Doug is his daughter, Carruthers.  I would never have gotten through this past year without her.  I hope she knows how much I love her.

My Punkin is 29 Today

jeremyschoolsmallIt’s unbelievable to me that I can possibly have a child who turned 29 today.  I mean, really, how can that be?  No, he wasn’t a teen mama baby, I was 26.

He lives in Atlanta and so I wasn’t able to wish him Happy Birthday in person.  Atlanta is much too far for my comfort.  He might be 29, but he’s still my baby and I want to be able to get to him quickly should circumstances dictate.

I sent him, via Amazon, a not-very-exciting gift.  For some reason, he didn’t get it although tracking showed it delivered.  I feel really bad that he didn’t have a present on his birthday.  Tell me — do parents ever quit thinking of their offspring as little kids?  I imagine a 6-year-old bereft without a birthday present instead of a grown man of 29 who just shrugged it off.

He was the world’s cutest kid and I’m so ready for him to produce my grandchildren.  I can’t wait to live life through the eyes of a child again.

Bright, Glittery Things

I’m sitting here sipping Dollar Store wine (another story for another time) and listening to The Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions. This is one of the great albums of all time. I never get tired of it.

Earlier I was playing on Facebook and sorting out the china cabinet when I was provoked to post a picture of my handiwork and, later, a promise/threat to blog about the china my daddy gave me.

I don’t make idle promises or threats.

china cabinetWhen I was 12, I was a hormonal mess and my father got posted to Iwakuni, Japan. We found out later that he was really slipping in and out of Vietnam in the waning days of that gawdawful war. Like I said, I was a hormonal mess and my father’s leaving, though by no means the first, hit me hard. This was his fourth tour to ‘Nam and I was old enough to understand.

Just before my 13th birthday, I got a priceless letter from him in response to my birthday list he’d asked for. I can’t find that letter and it’s driving me crazy. It’s a gem and highlights all the fine points of my daddy, particularly his sense of humor.

Ichinan any event, I got a catalogue of Noritake china and Sanyo stemware and was told to pick out patterns. As he was in Japan, not really, I was getting china for my birthday.

I’ve been odd since birth. I was ecstatic! I like shiny, bright things and I like food and I love my daddy.

I picked out a pattern with the coordinating stemware that would have been at home in an Andy Warhol painting. It was the 70s. I don’t know if he lied or not, but Daddy said that the pattern was discontinued so he winged it. I received a disappointing and understated set of china for 12 with coordinating stemware. Disappointing in its elegance, it was from my dad and I loved it nonetheless.

stemwareI carried that china from one posting to another and from one apartment and house to another, finally unpacking it and using it for the first time roughly 30 years after I opened it.

In the intervening years my tastes changed and the beauty of it just takes my breath. It’s basic white china with a smoked rim. The glassware is a smoky black.

The serendipity of it all is that without my thinking about it, I decorated this room in a black, brown, white, beige scheme when The Ex and I finally caved and hired a professional to finish the barn. I had to whine and carry on, beg and plead, but I convinced The Ex that after 30 years, I needed and deserved a china cabinet to put the china in. As we were so far over budget by that time, he just threw up his and hands and nodded yes.

The china cabinet and china slid into this room like it should have always been here. It takes my breath, it does, it does.

dragonwareAlso in the cabinet are some pieces that mean something to me for other reasons. Chief are some moriage dragonware that just make me swoon. DragonMan and I discovered the pattern in an antique store outside of Boston one summer. I’ve decided I need snack plates to prop in front of the dinner plates. I have my daddy’s china, Doug’s dragonware, and the wedding mementoes from The EX – all three good men and the love of my life at one time or another.

precious momentsLove is a funny thing. I still love all three of them. Vietnam changed Daddy, change took The Ex and death Doug. But all three of them glitter and glow in a china cabinet from the J. C. Penney.

Good men abound and I’ve been blessed more than my share.