Posted by: jeannineatkins | August 12, 2008

I’ll Be There for You Stories

A friend who went on vacation outside the U.S. just told me about hearing her youngest daughter, on an internship in NYC, got quite sick while she was away. Panic. Phone calls. Her daughter got friends to take her to the ER and she was fine, but her older sister took a train to New York to see her and “so you’d feel better, Mom.” These girls have their differences, but their mom liked knowing they might be there for each other in a pinch.

I told this story to my walking buddy, who told me about friends who she wasn’t sure were still friends, not as she defined it, but years ago when they heard her beloved dog had died, at a low point in her life, they drove three and half hours to give her hugs. She never forgot that.

Like my daughter, Mary grew up as an only child, and friends became her family. As my daughter begins making her way around a new city, I think she’s also making strong bonds, and I admire her for keeping up the old ones. She came back for a few days to see Nell, Deepa, Steph, Zach, Max, Alyza and others before they go back to college. Oh yeah, and us.

I’m trying to be flexible and go from a quiet house to a loud-ish, busy-ish house as she comes and goes. Yesterday I wasn’t as successful as I hoped to be while revising some poems. My mind felt in stuck – like a car gear? — and if that’s the level of metaphor I was at, well, you know things weren’t going well. So I switched to some of the to-do-by-end-of-August tasks, mostly relating to prepping to teach again, though nothing creative. With some of those checked off, I’m feeling happier to sit with blank pages. Or is it the Madeleines my husband brought back from the grocery store yesterday and which proved delicious? I told myself I need a few since I’m writing about Marie and Irene Curie, you know, French people, French sweets. Ah, the creativity, or something, is formidable.

Pondering, mulling images, seeing if they will grow for a few hours, until I’m back to being mom.



  1. This is what I so want for my son (also an only)–friendships that last into his adulthood. We work hard to keep up with friend who no longer go to the same school–and thank goodness for wonderful cousins, too.
    I think the creative stuff is just harder to do when there’s more happening. Last week’s “tricking the muse” didn’t seem to be working, but this week–with one more summer camp going (and a deadline!), I seem to be back on track. Sending good wishes for the hours your daughter is with friends, that you find that creative spot. So nice for her that she has a good in-and-out house to come home to!

  2. Yay for camp and deadlines, too – glad it’s helping you prosper.
    I like the idea of an in-and-out house; we all have our phases. I’m glad you work hard to keep up with those old friends; it is work, but worth it. In this fast paced world I think my daughter’s loyalty is one of her best virtues.

  3. Yes, the energy is so different with and without teenagers. Both of mine have been home for two weeks, along with my two teen-age nieces for five days. Even when they ignored me and did nothing, it was hard to concentrate, because when the kids are home, even when they’re big kids, part of you is always on “mom mode.” I wrote little dribs and drabs, drawing on the resources I acquired when they were young and I had to write in 15-minute spurts. But today, kids went to NYC and nieces back home to Colorado. Viva la difference–and enjoy those Madeleines. And so glad to hear that Emily is doing well in LA

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