Adulting and Other Adventures

I had a conversation with one of my friends recently about a curious phenomenon she’s noticed lately. Whenever a crisis arises, she immediately looks around for an adult to handle the situation…and then suddenly she remembers she’s an adult. I could immediately relate to this. It’s always a shock every time I realize I’m no longer a child, or even a young adult.

Last week was all about adulting. For example, after YEARS of saying “We’ve GOT to write a will!” – we finally did it:IMG_6010.jpgWe also came to terms with the fact that our youngest child no longer needs a babysitter. Every summer our friend and former neighbor would host “Camp Barbara” for my daughter and some of her friends. She would take them on adventures, teach them manners, introduce them to new games, cook with them, and throw parties for their birthdays. Whenever I tried to sign my girl up for any other camp or activity, she would complain bitterly and say,  “No more camps! I only want to go to ‘Miss Barbara’s’!” This year Miss Barbara announced that my daughter and her friends were ready to be on their own this summer. This was highly disconcerting for her young charges, who were not yet ready to be kicked out of the nest. To tell the truth it was just as disconcerting for the girls’ parents, who were not yet ready to face a summer without Camp Barbara. The girls had the lovely idea  to show their love and appreciation for their beloved Miss Barbara by throwing a (surprise) party for her for a change:IMG_6028 (1)The day after the party, I hit the road for the almost five hour drive to Charlotte, NC.

A little side note here, to explain the thoughts that were in my head as I headed down 29 South…When I was a little girl, I went on a field trip to our local fire department. The fire chief impressed upon us the importance of planning an escape route in case of a fire. The minute my dad got home from work that evening I shared with him what I had learned and begged him to come up with the fire escape route forthwith. Being an amenable sort, he agreed. We walked up to the second floor and he walked me down the long, narrow hallway from my bedroom to the bathroom. He cast his eye about the bathroom until it landed on a plastic hairbrush. He placed it on top of the toilet tank and demonstrated how to use it to break the window. “And then you can jump out the window!” he concluded. It never occurred to me to ask him why I couldn’t just open the window. I didn’t sleep a wink, so certain was I that our house would become a blazing inferno that very night. I would have to have all my wits about me to make it to the bathroom, avoid piercing my jugular on the jagged edges of the bathroom window, and to leap far enough out of the window to avoid dashing my brains against the stone patio two stories below.

With the same sense of conviction that I had those many years ago, I was absolutely sure that, having just written a will, I was definitely going to die en route. But this year was my 25th college reunion. (25 years – WHAT?! How is that even possible)?! I’ve never once been back to my college since the day I graduated, but I have kept up with a few of my friends. Last year they came to Charlottesville. This year we met up in Charlotte. Sometimes, adulting means doing things that terrify you. And so I made the drive…

Even though we’re adults, 25 years out of college, we played in the rain:

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We visited the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art:

IMG_0520…and had a blast in the open studio playing with watercolors:

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We fell into a comfortable rhythm: eat, nap, play, eat, nap, play. (Perfect for babies AND old people adults)!

We ate at wonderful restaurants, but my favorite was Amélie’s, a French bakery and café. with delicious food and charming décor:

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IMG_6033.jpgIMG_0526IMG_0523We promised to meet up again next year, because when you do finally grow up, you realize you never outgrow your true friends.IMG_6042

Dreams of Flight

When I was a little girl, I would occasionally dream that I was flying. I can still feel the exhilaration of effortlessly swooping and soaring through the air. My flight path would always take me high above my school playground, where I would see my grounded classmates gaping up at me, hands shading eyes, as I flew past. So vivid were my dreams, I was convinced that it was only a matter of time and practice before I would be able to fly in my waking hours too. Alas, the many hours I spent running and flapping my arms in my back yard were all for naught. Sadder still: as I grew older, my flying dreams became rarer and rarer until I eventually stopped having them altogether.

Last week a storm took the power out in our neighborhood. Reluctantly, I surrendered to the darkness and went to bed early, griping to my sister by text that I hoped to awaken in the 21st century, when we could take things like power and light for granted. At 4 am when the power was restored, I was awakened by the sound of systems coming back online. As I lay in bed listening to the clicking, whirring, and humming of my house in the ‘burbs coming back to life, I realized with nostalgia and regret that I had had my first flying dream in decades. It went like this…

My dream began at work, where I quarreled with a colleague and huffily announced that I was quitting to take another job. The new job was even more stressful, because I had to pretend I knew what I was doing, all while straining to be perky and personable to make a good first impression. Suddenly, I was outside, and I was flying. But instead of soaring past it all, sleek and serene, as if in a Chagall painting, I was seated on a wobbly, flying ring. I gripped the sides of the ring for dear life as it bore me aloft. I was completely at the mercy of the wind. Scared that I would lose my balance and plummet from my perch, I timidly tried to exercise some control over where I was going by kicking my legs, to no avail. From time to time, a strong gust of wind would suddenly lift me to a dizzying height. Just as suddenly, the wind would die down, and I would sink alarmingly fast toward the ground. At one point, I looked down to see a man and his child flying a kite. I glanced up just in time to see their big box kite coming straight at my face and had to quickly duck my head to avoid slamming into it. It was then that I woke up.

It’s pretty obvious the universe is sending me an important message through this dream. I think it’s telling me it’s time to shrug off this mortal coil, to slip “the surly bonds of Earth,” to get out there and start flapping my arms again…And I almost definitely will! Maybe tomorrow. If it’s not raining, or too hot, and if I’m not too tired after work.