Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Musings, 26 May 2012

Good morning,

A sweet, lilting air drifts in the open door as I slip outside to read the paper and drink coffee before fixing breakfast for our number three child. The middle child, the one child born of my body, sleeps on the other side of the window adjacent to our deck, and his aging dog lies outside his door, snuffling occasionally to indicate awareness. The world moves another click closer to our meld with another round of destiny.

Tonight, I will sit beside my husband and our tight, happy clutch of family, as his son strides across the stage to accept his high school diploma -- or, if his high school runs true to the practice of others, an empty leatherette folder, the actual piece of paper held hostage awaiting return of the rented cap and gown. His tall frame will stand out near the end of the line of 101 students. When asked if he is excited about graduating, he shrugs over his eggs. After the senior dinner and two weeks of AP exams, commencement seems a bit anti-climactic.

We'll gather at a Brazilian restaurant tomorrow, eight total: grandparents, his father and me, his sister and her beau, my son, the graduate. Praise will be levied, and he will flash the grin that he claims he learned at his mother's urging, social and party skills being two things for which she receives due credit. And then, as we groan with fullness, his high school career will fade into memory and he will start a summer of working seven days a week until it is time to take his place among the starting freshmen at Rhodes College in Memphis.

Meanwhile, his stepbrother leaves on Tuesday for two months in Los Angeles. I'll help him load his car, and stock the cooler with cold water and sandwiches. I'll caution him to tighten the straps on the bike rack. He's caravaning west with a young man who graduated from DPU last week and is relocating to L.A. This friend helped Patrick get a two-month internship. My son will turn 21 in L.A., and he's been duly warned: Don't drink and drive; don't jeopardize your freedom, your scholarship, or your school enrollment. I'll watch their vehicles pull from the curb, then get into my own and start my workday. Beneath the deftly applied color, my hair will sprout a few more greys; the crow's feet beside my blue eyes will deepen a notch or two; and I will cast a glance in the direction of the guardian angels who hover near our children. They will regard me with some amusement: Do I doubt their alertness? Have they not brought my son to this point, capably navigating through the flotsam and jetsam of life, with just a few close calls and a couple of tiny nicks?

This week, my neighbor gifted me with a fully restored rocking chair, its seat and arms reattached, new rockers, newly sanded and varnished. As I sip my coffee, leaning into its small motion, I think about the day that I acquired it, and the day, nearly thirty years later, when I wrote about my law school class mate abandoning it on the curb as she crammed her belongings into a trailer and set off for New England. I close my eyes and fall into the lull of the chair's movement: back, and forth, and back, and forth, and back, and forth. The wind tosses the chimes, and their light music dances through the stillness. For a few minutes, neither accounts payable nor accounts receivable disturbs me, and I am care-free and serene. Nothing can shake my calm.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

Congratulations -- Ansel Mitchell MacLaughlin, Pembroke Hill School, Class of 2012

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.