Had a brief text interchange with my sister. She asked if I'm overwhelmed. I'm not overwhelmed. Two of my sister's most commonly used words are overwhelmed and relaxing. My sister and I are a lot alike but we have a different emotional vocabulary.
I don't do overwhelmed really well. Work and deadlines overwhelm me. Anything that involves performance anxiety basically.
"Relaxing" - I don't know anything about that. In the past, when I have told my sister we were going on retreat to the Blue Mountain Center, she said "that sounds relaxing." Like it was a spa with a hot stone massage or something. I've been thinking about what to say for over a decade now and how to explain to her that my spiritual practice is about as easy relaxing as climbing El Capitan on a razor scooter, and I still don't know how to respond. It's just not the right word.
But back to the matter at hand.
Mom hugged Ally, and then Morgan/Virgil and then Will and last of all, the awkwardness of Dad. Each of us hugged Ally in turn and I told her that she could never do any wrong, and she could call me any time for anything. And that she was the one like me, the one that makes lists. Like her Granddad building his boats, like her Dad chasing the Atman and/or whatever it is that I do nowadays work.
And she is the one like me. She's intense. An outmoded frame of reference called it Type A.
And then she walked off and joined the group of other kids. The CEO of the playground. She will crush it here. And hopefully, being around 98% super focussed nerds will soften her a bit.
She will come back not so much changed but colored-in.
We let her go 10-15 minutes earlier than the other parents. We're watching the deadline. Not clinging. How could we? We've been working toward this moment for 18 years. Every trip to the bookstore. Every walk across a seemingly random college campus in towns from Vancouver, BC to Princeton, NJ. We are Godsils. This is what we do.
And then all the other parents asking questions like, idk, are they going to have enough toilet paper?
I think it's included peeps.
And then we leave and go to The Hobbit Cafe, and get a table for four.
And that's when it hits - right?
Table for four.
The map hanging on the wall show the coast of Gondor. Outside the lightening crashes like the world is rebirthing itself. I'll have the Tolkien Bowl. Will orders too much food. Tracey orders too much food. Morgan can't help but order too much food but she gets a black bean burger than looks like it came from the mines of Morea and we eat.
And there's no one hunched over, talking to fast, getting food on her face, slinging opinions like webs ...
Table for four.
Next stop, Boulder.