September 10, 2015

Post image for bittersweet

Oh, dear readers, I’ve been wanting to write here, but it’s been a bittersweet month.

We had our girl home for the summer, which was wonderful. There was so much time for being with her, for cooking with her, for talking to her. (Spoiler alert: I wrote my next column for home/school/life entirely about talking with this girl. It’s what we do.) By the last week of August, I was already feeling that dread that comes when one of my kids leaves home. I nearly broke down at Whole Foods in those last few days, realizing that I didn’t need to pack my cart with kale and almond milk for my vegan girl, because she’d be back at school soon. The thought that she may never be home for three full months again is something I’m pushing out of my mind altogether. La la la.


Then the day before she was due to go, my father-in-law passed away. We’d visited him just hours before, so Lulu could see him before she left. His death wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was sudden. The loss of a beloved person seems too monumental for a blog post; let me just say that it’s the sort of thing that sets your world entirely off-kilter, and makes you grab hold of the people closest to you.

I was planning to go back to New York with Lulu, to move her into her new dorm apartment. I didn’t want to leave Chris, but he insisted, and so we went, lugging our heavy hearts with Lulu’s suitcases. There was the thrill of New York City, of walking, walking, walking (12 miles our first day there, according to my Fitbit), the thrill of lunch at Via Carota and an utterly delightful fava bean salad (which you can see at the top right of this page), of finding treasures at my favorite consignment shop (Thompson Street has the best stuff), of setting up Lulu’s sweet little dorm studio with her best friend.


But there were also tears at bedtime for her Papa. I was glad I was there to lay beside my girl and hold her hand.

I flew home Monday night; Lulu was back in California Wednesday morning with her older brother, for the burial, for the memorial service.

H hasn’t been home since Christmas, and having him here was a balm for his dad. After the services, we put Lulu back on a plane, but H stayed a few days. He played catch with his dad at Lake Merritt.

baseball_boysThe three guys and I went to an A’s game on Saturday night, and all three got new hats. Beloved boys and baseball: I can’t think of what Chris might have needed more.


Now we’re trying to move back into our days. It’s just the three of us at home again, and Mr. T is beginning what will likely be our last year of homeschooling. He plans to go to high school next year, so there’s this whole other bittersweet thing going on. A few weeks ago he asked me how long I’ve been doing this, and when I told him this was year nineteen, his response was “That’s too bad.” So close to twenty! I decided right then that I’ll just call it an even twenty, since the year when H was four, when he dropped out of preschool and I started madly learning all I could about homeschooling, was really the start of it all. (And that’s precisely where I plan to begin on Monday morning, when I start this class on The Thirty-Minute Memoir. It should be the kick in the butt I need. Thrilled! Terrified!)

I miss writing here. I miss all of you. I’m hoping to show up more often in this new year, since Septembers are beginnings too, whether you’re in school or not. I want to capture what it’s like to be on this end of the homeschooling life. There’s so much to say! I’ve been jotting it all in my spark file. Will report back.

Life is heartbreaking; life is beautiful. The best way I know to make sense of it all is to write it down.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey September 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

Heartbreaking and beautiful indeed. I share with you the impulse to make sense of the stuff of life by writing it down. And I’m so glad you do. xox


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:28 am

Lindsey, you’re the master of capturing bittersweet. Thanks for reading, and for your encouragement!


beth lehman September 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

life is brutiful (beautiful and brutal, both) as glennon melton says.


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:28 am

I love that, Beth. Yes, life is brutiful. *sigh*


wanderingsue September 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Love in my heart, for you. A nasty infected leaky mitral valve in my husband’s heart, which they’re operating on in 11 hours and 4 minutes. Once he’s home and my head stops spinning we’ll crack on with enjoying every gorgeous good moment.


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:32 am

Oh, sweet pea! Sending good wishes for an easy procedure and a quick recovery. Hold your kiddos tight and hang in there! Love in my heart for you too, faithful reader-friend.


Sue September 14, 2015 at 1:56 am

Thanks, my dear. Operation a lovely success and he’s on the mend.


patricia September 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

I’m so very happy to hear that, dear Sue! Many wishes for a continued recovery.


CathyT September 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Sad yet hopeful. I will be thinking of you and your family as you transistion for one phase of life to another. My condolences to all.


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:32 am

Thank you, Cathy. <3


Kortney September 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Woman, you amaze. Such grace, such welcome even for the difficult passages. So excited about the writing class. <3


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:35 am

You are always one deep drawer of encouragement, Kortney. 🙂 Thank you. And I’m so excited about the writing class too!


Kate Hopper September 11, 2015 at 6:29 am

Dear Patricia, I’m so sorry for your loss and for the bittersweetness of sending your kids off again. But thank you for writing about it, sharing it. You’ve so beautifully captured the messiness and beauty of life here. Sending love!


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:36 am

Thank you, Kate. For encouraging me, and all the other mama writers out there. You’re a gift to all of us!


Sarah M September 11, 2015 at 6:45 am

So sorry for your family’s loss. The memories of the summer must be both joyful and full of grief. (hug)
Sarah M


patricia September 11, 2015 at 9:37 am

Thank you for the hug, Sarah. I can feel it. 🙂


Kathy September 11, 2015 at 10:10 am

I’m so sorry to read about your family’s loss. Expected doesn’t lessen the sadness. My daughter is beginning her senior year in high school and I am trying very hard to cherish her just being around. I almost want to freeze time.


patricia September 11, 2015 at 10:43 am

Oh, Kathy, that senior year. Talk about bittersweet! Hug her as much as she’ll allow, and just drink her in. And thanks for reading along here for so many years! xo.


Dawn Suzette September 12, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Oh… I knew this was going to be a hard one to read. My thoughts are with you and yours, Patricia. You are such a source of strength and approach life with such grace. Your people are so very fortunate to have you. xx


patricia September 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Thank you, for your sweet thoughts, Dawn. I’m fortunate to have my people too!


shelli pabis September 12, 2015 at 4:29 pm

My condolences, Patricia. This is a lot of transitions on top of losing a beloved one. And you made me really dread the day my boys leave home. 🙁


patricia September 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Thank you, Shelli. You have a ways to go before your boys leave home! Along with the heartache of them leaving is the excitement of them watching them do what they’re meant to do! It’s the natural evolution of all those years of homeschooling, and it eases the sadness for certain.


Nina September 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

That last paragraph is spot on.

I’m so sorry for your loss.


patricia September 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Thank you, Nina. I’m so honored to have you reading along.


Maria September 28, 2015 at 10:12 pm

I haven’t stopped by in too long and I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

You do a magical jog of capturing this bittersweet journey. Heartbreaking and beautiful indeed. So glad I found the space to read this after a hard day of homeschool with my (young) four.

much peace your way


patricia September 29, 2015 at 7:18 am

Thank you, Maria, and thanks for stopping by!

Hang in there with your four!


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