Friday, May 22, 2009

California Dreamin'

Cell phone rings.

Me: Hello?
[Five to ten minutes pass]
Me: Uh huh.
[Another span of time. Pasta has boiled over.]
Me: Really?
[Rest of family tucking into dessert]
Me: Mm hmm.
[Water drains from bathtubs, toothbrushes put away]
Me: Isn't it getting late there?
[Infomercials begin on all major channels]
Me: Well, I have to get up in an hour or so. Can I call you back?
Husband, groggily: What did your sister want?

New message from my sister in my inbox.

Scroll down.
Scroll down.
Page down.
Scroll down.
Page down.
Paragraph break.
Scroll down.
Scroll down.
Final sentence: "More later!"

Chat box opens up.

Many sentences and smileys.
I start to type a reply.
Message from system: Your sister is typing...
Three subsequent conversations appear before I am able to reply to the first one.
Message from system: Your sister is typing...

Now she knows how to skype. I really hope we have enough bandwidth to handle it.

We go through all of this because she's in Michigan and we're out here, and we can't stand it. Especially since she's been kind enough to give birth to my niece, whom I adore more than I can possibly say, and to spoil my own kids rotten as their doting Auntie. Everyone in both families counts the days until they come out to visit, and cries our eyes out every time they leave again. Our biggest wish was that somehow they could move here, and we could all be together.

All I can say is, be careful what you wish for. Her husband did get transferred to a job 30 minutes from our house, and they sold their place in Michigan last month. But the plan went crazy from there. He's here, they are there, with her tenure track position, school obligations and the highly uncertain future for his company all contributing to keeping their little family unit miles apart. It's awful. On Tuesday, the moving truck came, and a five year old watched the only home she's ever known get boxed up and shipped out for storage.

I feel good and bad that the only thing that is apparently making this bearable is the idea of coming here.

My sister reported finding her daughter banging against the empty walls of her room. When she asked what was going on, the reply came: "I'm trying to push the house to California."

After her performance in a dance recital, offered anything she wanted as a celebration.
Her: Anything?
Her mom: Anything.
Her: Can we go to the airport and go to California?

Cell phone rings.

Me: Hello?
My niece: Hi Auntie Shar!
Me: Hi Honey! It was a big day today, huh? The moving trucks came.
Her: [Long pause] Would you prefer 5 or 6 weeks until we come to California?
Me: I would prefer 5 weeks. Or no weeks.
Her: Me, too.

Maybe it's Legoland, or the day at the Pier, her cousins or the dog or the pool that she's longing for, but I'm hoping it's the Auntie Shar part of California that she's clinging to, when everything else is falling apart.

More later.

1 comment:

  1. LOL and crying at the same time...I'd prefer no weeks, too.