Tomorrow, I celebrate the 27th anniversary of my journey into motherhood. And the little bundle of joy I brought kicking and screaming into the world twenty-seven years ago, arrived safely, after a long drive north from Texas, to visit us just before 3:00 a.m. earlier this morning. In a strange juxtaposition of events, tomorrow also happens to be the last day of the Year of the Dragon. Even stranger, Derek was born on the very first day of the Year of the Tiger in 1986. Sunday begins the Year of the Snake, the second for my daughter, since as she turns twenty-four in June.
My feelings about this past year are mixed and bittersweet. Part of me grieves with the passing of my fourth Dragon year and part of me is disappointed with where I am, what I’ve accomplished (or failed to accomplish), where I’m going and what, if anything, there is to look forward to by the time the next Dragon year rolls around. Right at this very moment, I’m not even sure I can muster any enthusiasm about it’s arrival or whether I’ll make it another twelve years to enjoy it (or not). Gloomy, I know. Perhaps it’s a by-product of two consecutive days of insomnia.
But enough of my maudlin thoughts. I came here today to write a short blog post celebrating my son’s birthday. I haven’t seen him since last November, when all of us (my husband, my son and his wife, my daughter and her boyfriend and myself) traveled to Austin, Texas for the return of Formula 1 to the United States. Derek opted to support Kimi and the Lotus team (see photo at left) in direct contradiction to his father’s preferred team, Ferrari. I was clearly the underdog, since I cheered for Michael Schumacher. Today, though, I am very excited to have both Derek and his wife, Royna, visiting us. All I have to do is survive a gauntlet of meetings at work today followed by the commute home. Then I’ll be able to spend quality time with both of them. I even ordered his favorite type of birthday cake earlier this week. I’ll pick it up from the local Dairy Queen tomorrow morning.
My biggest adjustment to ’empty nest’ life has been a less hectic schedule for the last four years. During the last Year of the Dragon (circa 2000), we traveled all around the country, taking Derek to compete at regional and national judo tournaments. That schedule only increased through high school with the addition of wrestling, soccer and lacrosse. My Saturdays are decidedly quieter, as compared to a school gymnasium crammed to the rafters with screaming parents and ten or twelve wrestling mats. And warmer, compared to all-day tournaments in the early spring for soccer or lacrosse.
I do miss the excitement, though. Watching him compete. Or even listening to him sing at a choir concert. The quiet life sometimes has its drawbacks.
At least I have him, and his wife, for the weekend. I take what I can get when it comes to visits from my kids.