Friday, May 6, 2011

A Look Back


I’m sitting here, just a few nights before I wake up way too bloody early, load the car, dump off my case of smuggled wine at the check-in counter, stop for the traditional double gin and tonic before boarding and buckling my “Jesus I have to lose weight” ass into my Economy Plus, (thank you miles) seat for the a flight to Chicago O’Hare and then, then on to Louisville Kentucky where on another way too early morning I will be sitting in another uncomfortable seat but this time….this time I will be on a lush lawn, beautiful brick buildings around me, the husband, his family and my closest friends beside me, my smile bright and eyes full of tears as I watch my baby walk in cap and gown and be handed his college diploma from the University of Louisville.

It’s just shy of a year ago that we flew out along with my beloved friends Amy and Roger, (formally called Sexy Bitch on this blog, as per his request. My best friends that are currently serving time in Texas, as per his company’s request) to celebrate Jeremy’s 21st birthday Kentucky style, which is to say stinking drunk on Bourbon. We had an amazing time, laughed and drank way too much, visited distilleries and Amy and I cooked a massive meal for Jeremy, his housemates and friends. A grand Aioli complete with roasted chicken, lamb, potatoes and beets for to slather the garlic goo upon. It was a wonderful time and for me, a very growth full and affirming one. 

The morning we were leaving Jeremy walked us all to the car, big beautiful smile of his assuring us that he was gonna be just fine. Hugs and kisses all around before he came to me, longer gaze than the norm for our farewells and a pair of strong arms holding me just a bit tighter. Everyone loaded in the car, I hung back for a moment and watched the once tiny but now man sized frame as it slowly walked back towards the three story Victorian where he lives, his body shrinking the further he got from me. I was feeling the momma sized lump forming in my throat, that almost beyond your control ache to stretch your body out in a bubble around them, protect and absorb any struggles or pain they might endure. The inner battle of that compulsion mixed with the overwhelming pride that comes with watching your grown child walk away from your embrace and back into the life they have begun for themselves. I grabbed the handle on the car door and slung one leg in before taking a deep breath and looking back over my shoulder, one last prideful gaze on my not so little man. Any hope I had of mot losing my shit was lost when my craned neck and one-last-look eyes fell upon his face, his sweet, beautiful face…head turned taking one-last-look back at me and this time, for the first time in the three years worth of visits, it was his eyes that were filled with tears. He may have been walking back to the place he lives but home was leaving and he was feeling it.

I often wonder if my mother ever knew, knew just how much I loved and appreciated all that she did, gave, surrendered and sacrificed for me and on that long tear filled ride to the airport I splayed a lifetime of mental snapshots before me. The dragging of the kitchen chair across the strangely sticky linoleum floor, my stool as I helped her whip up yet another pancake dinner, Jeremy’s tiny fingers and the way they used to wrap around mine, my mother and I dancing to Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke, feeling my baby’s soft skin brushed across my lips as I kissed his brow, watching Jeremy in his little footie jammies, (Jesus is there anything cuter than those?) lifting his wee body upon the couch to snuggle in next to his grandma while she read one of her beloved mystery novels. By the time we reached the airport I knew that she had to know, any words or gazes that I had not been able to give her had been given when that tiny man stretched his little body out like a bubble to absorb, love and protect us. 

Home is about to board a plane my sweet son. We are coming to celebrate you, cover you in hugs and kisses and we are all going to be there to see you take this next gigantic step in your life. I’ve seen you teeter, watched you fall, been here through the award winning and very painful loss of your first true love and I feel compelled to tell you Jeremy, she would be so proud of you. She would have sold body parts to be there if she could. Your grandmother loved you in a way that was so peaceful and powerful for her and you my adorable son, changed her life and brought her joy on a level that none of us could. Without your even knowing it, your kisses, running to her, rubbing the flubbery skin under her chin, you made her feel like the single most important woman alive. No demands, no needs she was unable to meet, looking at your sweet face and seeing the way it lit up when she was near you…you gave both of us something that we spent a lifetime trying to show. There are a million things I need to thank you for but this one, this is one that I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay you for. My father, me, you and our face, I know with all that I am that she felt love each and every time she looked at us. Don’t let that make you anything but proud.

Home is coming Jeremy and we are bringing not only our love and admiration, we are bringing food and celebratory exclamation points, historic libations that paint Our Story. A bottle of Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs, the first sinful bit of liquid to ever pass your lips. New Years Eve when you were like eight years old, I gave you that one glass to clink and sip with us and you….with your new favorite toy, the night goggles, running around proclaiming yourself, “Falcon Man”.  A bottle of German Auslese. (Randy will be picking you one) a salute to the first wine that made you raise an eyebrow and keep reaching for that glass. A bottle of Provencal Rose, a nod to your years of Wine Country Aioli parties and finally tasting Tempier Bandol Rose, with garlic goo and “getting it”. A bottle of Chateau d’Yquem, Christmas and a nod to your love of history….did you know that Thomas Jefferson had oodles of that stuff in his cellar? A bottle of Dagueneau, made by Didier, a man you wanted to meet but never got the chance. 

A box of wine shipped as luggage, a woman with a full heart and arms ready to scoop you up, lips ready to once again brush along your brow….a soul ready to thank you in the only way I know how, through food and wine that I hope will induce your own lap full of family snapshots. Pride is far too tiny a word my son….this is



Valerie said...

Boogery kid 1st commenter again, stupid time zones. IMHO you've expressed a bit of your & Jeremy's terroir through your description of these wines - lucky young man! Not just because "Mom's bringing the hooch." Mom is bringing HOME to Jeremy's new place in the sun, and whether in your arms or in the glass, he will feel home and ties to it that will always be there. If I wasn't older than you I'd ask if you'd adopt me.

BTW - I have a ridiculous 5-hour layover in O'Hare Saturday afternoon/evening (at least an hour of that in immigration so the passport guy can notice I've cut my hair since the photo taken years ago). Any chance you're flying Saturday?

Samantha Dugan said...

I wish! No I'm not flying until next week but damn, you and I meeting in the Chicago airport sounds like the kind of trouble I would be all over. Oh I understand the passport picture deal, can't think of the last time one of those cats didn't make some comment about mine. "Ah yes, the many stages of us" being one that sticks out....thanks dude. Safe travels my boogery buddy and thank you so much for reading!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I almost feel a sense of accomplishment myself with Jeremy graduating. Your story, his story, your mother's story, they all seem a part of me now after reading your brilliant blog all these years.

Congratulations, Jeremy! You're not only graduating from college, you're the proud winner in life's most important contest--the Birth Lottery. And you've done your mother and grandmother proud. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating as well.

This is a beautiful post, Samantha. Perfect pitch. You've once again filled us with hope and humanity. I know I can always use more of that.

I love you!

Do Bianchi said...

wow, Samantha, whenever you write these posts so many of my own memories flood my mind and heart... I couldn't hold back a tear at Sir Duke... and I remember when I finished my schooling and the thrill and the fear and the hope and the dreams that came with that milestone... I know that now grown Jeremy has a bright future ahead of him and what a thrill to think about the adventure that lies before him... no matter what happens next, no matter what joys or disappointments life will bring, the love and support that you and family have given him will always be the greatest gift that any parent can give a child... I love the selection of wines and how this moment draws out your favorites... what a powerful post and what a lucky man your Jeremy is... I hope I get to meet him one of these days... ti abbraccio forte forte...

Romes said...

hey girl - you rock, but a little warning so I know to not read in the office where people find my blubbering crying uncomfortable would be good.

Congrats to you and jeremy - you are both so lucky to have each other.

Finally, I hope no one working on United's baggage line reads your blog and likes wine - I know if I did I'd be confiscating that case in a big hurry!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
I'm honored that you feel like you are a part of my silly little are you know, part of my family. Your entrance into my life has brought me more than you can ever possibly know and I hope that one day very soon I will be buckling my chunky, double gin & tonic ass into another airplane seat, this time bringing some "home" to another great love of my life. Thank you so much for the years of support and love.

You and I bonded over my posts about my very own Jeremy and every time I write something about him it makes me think of you. For some reason my heart is fused with yours through the stories I share about my sweet son and your understanding of them. Grateful for that, hope you know that.

Dude, went through about half a box of tissues while writing this one. Not sure why but just typing Jeremy's name seems to send me into a pride and love filled ball of tears. This trip is oh so needed and I cannot freaking wait. Baggage handlers be warned, you touch my paired with our life selection of wines and you will have the wrath of The Momma fall upon DON'T want that, trust me.

Jeremy said...

I think what will be unreal will be on Sunday morning when we all wake up and notice we have survived the night before.. Can't wait Boss Lady, next weekend will be the best of my life...

webb said...

Have a wonderful time, Sam. This is one of those pinnacle events of life. Go launch that wonderful son of yours and rejoice!

Samantha Dugan said...

4 more days kiddo. Cannot wait!

I'm sure it will be a day that I will remember forever. Can't get here soon enough.