This morning, I was awakened by someone knocking around upstairs at 4:AM. I really wanted to sleep in, with today being a holiday. But no. I started thinking about my trip, and got up to make tea and shop for poster-sized wall maps of the United States. I ordered two: One for me to mark up with my planned locations and routes, and one for Tom to hang up for the kids to see where their postcards and notes are coming from. I thought about ordering map pins, but decided that would be too hard on the walls. They can use a highlighter or sharpie to keep track of me.
I bought the maps today because, when I met with my friend Bryn Johnson about moving into this transition time, she told me of a project she did with Chloe, her niece. Bryn used to travel a lot for her work, and everywhere she went, she sent postcards to Chloe, who did some scrapbooky thing with them. I can’t see the boys scrap-booking, but geography lessons, elevations, distances? Yes I can see that happening back in Long Beach.
Today is Thanksgiving. Yesterday was The Feast @ Park East. The teachers cook, we rent tables and chairs, and set up a Hogwarts style-dining hall in our gym. And we feed everyone: turkey and the traditional sides, or ham and macaroni and cheese to kids who don’t like turkey. We also feed forty or sixty alumni who come back to visit and help out. They visit the current classes of students and we set up panel discussions for them to tell of their adventures out in the real world of college and work. It is always the high point of the day for me. I get all teary to see these young men and women who, (just a minute ago) were scared little pups fourteen-years-old, first days of high school.
So, this is my last Thanksgiving at school. I wonder where I’ll be flying or driving in from next fall? Is it an Irish thing, this sense of foreboding? I sometimes become anxious about imagining myself next year, having a lovely time out in some gorgeous part of the country. I am so used to living my life right here, one day at a time. It’s a mantra of sorts. But this is a big shift—I need to prepare—mentally and also to get my physical space ready to sublet. It’s hard to stay where my feet are, when they are getting ready to travel. I guess the psychic work is to stay sane and grounded while I prepare for the trip.
Gratitude and Food.
That’s what the day is for me. I have so much to be grateful for! I’ve had the strength and the good health to work for 30+ years. I made the right choice back when I was a working class kid, with a child to raise on just my high school diploma.
At age 28, I registered for my first college classes. I continued to work full-time and make my way through school until the happy day when my son and I ended up in the same graduating class at Queens College.