Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 29, 2007

With my Girl in New Orleans

Late Thursday night, my daughter greeted me with a little jump and a long hard hug. It was so good to see, hear, smell, and touch her after two months apart.

It was Parents Weekend at Tulane, but we kept pretty much to ourselves. We watched Red Sox, High School Musical, old Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, and a commercial for dish detergent that promised to cut right through grease with no scrubbing. I got a little too excited and Em laughed because (obviously) I don’t watch much TV, also obviously a good thing. She caught me up on news of her old friends (Will Z give up his plan to be a doctor for a career in fashion?) and tabloids (that Britney). We talked about events on campus and in the country and I could see her grownup self coming out, the structuring, the peeling off, the lines she draws behind her spoken views. More often we mused about the dogs she misses: how cute Louis is, how he spins in circles when he sees you or food or the door opening for a walk. Every once in a while Em would say, “Oh, Mommy,” for no reason whatsoever and it was lovely.

Riding down the hotel elevator on Saturday morning, we heard one man ask another, “How are you?”
“Well I haven’t been arrested yet.”
Em shook her head when we get off. “Oh, tourists. It’s weird to live in a city with lots of them.” She noted that it’s strange to feel local enough to complain about tourists, and that of course the city has its partying (and Voodoo Fest that weekend), but also so much more she’s coming to know and love. On our way to the art museum she reminded me (if you can call being reminded pulling out things buried for decades) that Degas lived here for a while. New Orleans is so rich with varieties of history, so gorgeous with blue, sea green, or salmon-colored houses, wrought iron balconies, palm trees, and live oaks dripping Spanish moss.

We bought expensive toe-pinching shoes, visited the aquarium, dashed into Target, and saw Across the Universe, which we both loved. She put some things on my cell phone and gave me tips on how to use them. I’ll try! We sat in a taxi and the driver apologized for keeping us waiting a moment, then explained, “I just saw an old friend I haven’t seen since the hurricane.” He grinned and so did we.

Finally Em sent me home with some Grey’s Anatomy tapes and instructions to watch on Thursdays so we can discuss characters and mishaps. I hated to leave my girl and the South where I ate fried catfish and was called ma’am or baby.

I got off the plane and, around midnight, onto the shuttle bus to the parking lot and heard on the radio the Red Sox win the World Series. “Yes, yes, yes!” the driver shouted, pounding the steering wheel. Welcome back to Massachusetts. I was sad and sleepy, so it was good to know others were wide awake and happy.



  1. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful visit with your daughter! I’m so happy! (And yes, watch Grey’s Anatomy! hehe)

  2. Oh, Jeannine. I’m so happy for your wonderful visit with Em. You wrote about so beautifully.

  3. That sounded like a nice visit. 🙂
    Agh- I haven’t seen Em in a long while now.

  4. It was wonderful! Unfortunely just realized my next two Thurs nights are booked though. How did that happen? I never go out, though one is to my writing group.

  5. Thank you, sweetheart! Hope you are still floating from YOUR wonderful weekend!

  6. It WAS fun. I probably saw more of her last weekend than I did all of last year put together!! I guess there is something to be said for visitng someone in another place — we were stuck together, but it was sweet! Hope you guys can connect in December!

  7. Re: Sounds like
    Tracie, yeah, be grateful you CAN help. Em long since surpassed anything I could give her except you know, mom-advice like maybe you should try starting not the night before. Yeah, right.
    Good luck with house selling (always steps forward, and steps back) and your new novel!

  8. You can watched missed episodes for free on 🙂

  9. Re: Sounds like
    “maybe you should try starting not the night before.”
    That made me laugh.
    Seriously… words to live by though. 😛

  10. my daughter greeted me with a little jump and a long hard hug.
    Yes, those hugs are the best, aren’t they??
    My little girl was just home this past weekend (had a doctor’s appt that couldn’t wait till Thanksgiving) and I miss her hugs already!

  11. Oh, dear. This makes me miss my daughter. What a lovely weekend.

  12. Every once in a while Em would say, “Oh, Mommy,” for no reason whatsoever and it was lovely.
    This almost made me cry (and my kids aren’t even gone yet!) — thanks for sharing this time with your daughter with us.
    My brother went to law school at Tulane and then worked in NO for a law firm for a while (before he quit to sell donuts at a donut shop — another story!). We visited him a lot & loved seeing the city, being in the city. I’m glad you had a good visit.

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