Joan's Blog

"Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat"
MARCH 15, 2012 10:01AM


Rate: 72 Flag

We are ready.  The sheets on the bed are washed, the wrinkles are smoothed out with loving hands. Four hands ready to welcome her home. One pair of hands gets the last of the laundry done, the other shops for the favorite foods. 

Our hearts are ready too. We long for the circle to be complete if only for a week. We are grateful she wants to come home to us instead of somewhere else. After all, it is Spring Break. She explains it may be a while before she can come home again. There is a summer internship and a semester away after that. We don't cling. We are good at not clinging. 

We have raised our only child with gentle hands. Hands that comforted and smoothed, and wiped away tears. Hands that cooked and cleaned and addressed the envelopes for birthday parties. Hands that clapped too loudly at all the school performances and dance recitals.

We held her tight, but not so tight that she thought she could never leave. 

We are the three-legged stool that will be steady again for a little while. We focus on today. The homecoming. The arrival at the airport where we will search for her face in the blur of the crowd. The face I love like no other. She will hug me first because I bully my way through the crowd to get to her. On the way back she will hug him first. I ask her why he gets the first good-bye hug.  He needs it the most, Mom.

He will smile again. He will ask her what she wants him to cook for her. She will eat fried shrimp with a guilty pleasure knowing I can't have even one bite. He will wipe the flour on his pants and ask her how it is.

 The best, Dad. 

I will laugh out loud again. She will tell me stories and somehow they will be the funniest ones I've ever heard.  We will shop the Spring sales, visit the Newseum at least twice, and watch bad TV. We will eat all the good food our city has to offer. The Buffalo wings, the barbeque, the Indian and Thai restaurants. There will be the inevitable comment about my lack of cooking skills. And just as I am feeling a little hurt, she will admit she did not inherit the cooking gene either.

For a week, he and I will feel whole. For a week, the shaky three-legged stool will be sturdy again.

He and I will look at each other and know what the other is thinking:

Of all the things we've done in our lives, this was our favorite gig.



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simply beautiful; lovingly so r.
Oh I hope the week is everything you predict and more - enjoy and soak it all in
Everything that is wonderful, great, and bittersweet about being a parent! One of the most important things we can give our children is wings! So beautiful! R
I can feel the joy all the way over here, in my corner of cyberville. Such a pleasure to behold.
I'm also a part of three legged stool, albeit mine is more unconventional. I love to see how you adore your child. Fried Shrimp is overrated, Joan. Love the imagery of you bullying your way through a crowd though it does't comport with your avatar ;)
Joan, this is beautiful and makes me want to cry. Have a wonderful week!
Make sure you take lots of food pictures.
Enjoy Joanie, why am I crying at work ? You should preface all your posts with NSFW...
What a beautiful post. Have a wonderful time together.
She's a lucky girl.
I so relate! Lovely. R.
absolutely wonderful, but too close to home. will come back and read later, couldn't get through it. we are also a three-legged stool and even after four years the nest is always quiet and empty. I'm so happy you will have this wonderful visit!
And then tears on the way home from dropping her off at the airport. You've written for a lot of people with this. Have a great week with her.

What a lovely story! I hope you all enjoy your visit together.
Sniffle. Lawdy, ya brought me the tears. Yes, I had much long-distance, face-in-crowd, only-you's with my own one-child. Sweetly put, what a lovely glimpse. Sigh. Enjooy..
Lucky, lucky you. Lucky, lucky Julia. Here's to true love, beautifully expressed.
As I'm living it this week, I'm familiar with this story. But I could never tell it so well.

We've done museums, the zoo and I made some green coconut curry on Tuesday.

Enjoy your week!
"He needs it the most." Now there's a daughter.

So full of love and life.
Touching. Miss my kids. All off on their own now. Visits are not always possible. Enjoy!
Tears in my eyes, Joan. I relate to this on so many levels. Beautiful. R
Crying joyful tears with you, sister mine. On top of luscious, soulful descriptions, you hold a mirror up to all three-way stools out there... now I get it more than ever. Hug her for me.

(And why didn't your list include, We will visit Aunt Sally? ;)
It's always good when The Girl comes home...happy for you, Joan. I know the feeling. Enjoy!
This is the best we get!
I am preparing for my daughter and grandson-they come tomorrow for a week. We just got off the phone and I am off to the store to get some favorites : )
Enjoy your week-all three of you!
I won't comment on the private feelings you've made public here - they speak for themselves - but how you expressed them. Today you can surely "fancy yourself a writer." Not so easy a claim to make.
So much kindness, as it should always be in a family. Thank you.
My heart smiled all the way through. I thank you.
So much love here. We have three and we too feel it is our best gig evah. A joy to read that others have this too.
Oh, you. Each little word a kiss on a rosy cheek. Sometimes this sweet sadness is overwhelming. three-legged-stool.
I wish I could find what it is in the way you write ... I'd bottle it & sell it shamelessly at Writer's Festivals ( & donate the profits to our PD ;-)

But try as I might, I just can't isolate it. I guess that's your 11 secret spices, your JoanH-ness.
I can live with that :-)
i hope you guys have a wonderful week :)
Lovely! And cherry blossoms too.
By now she should be in all four arms, basking in her royal welcome. Have fun, you Hs!

Wonderful. Simply wonderful! Sometimes, mired in the swamp of my 12, 10 and 6 year-old kids' homework and hockey, I forget that this is my future. Thank you for the reminder. Enjoy your spring break!
Joan, I'm crying!!!! Where does the time go? Have a wonderful visit.
Enjoy your week in a seat that doesn't wobble! I don't think they'll ever understand how much we look forward to the visits...or maybe they will a long time from now.
...looking with futility for a combination of letters and symbols to show how much I love, nod, empathize and truly know the feelings you express so well here. YES, the face that I love most in all the world belongs to my girl too....has been since the day she was born! Have the best best time! Thanks for this lovely and generous shared view of the homecoming!
Can't wait to hear about the fun you will have!
"The face I love like no other."

Do I ever know that feeling Joan..

Damn you, making me tear up down here. Do enjoy
Beautiful - our oldest is just deciding where she will be off to in September. It's going to be an interesting ride; we can only hope that looks forward to seeing us as much as your daughter does.
Thank you so much, everyone for reading, commenting and for such very kind words.
I. Understand. Totally. Yay for you guys!
I could just see Julia (even though I've never met her)saying, "He needs it the most, Mom.
And again in so few words, Joanie. Superbly done

I had my week in the sun with my girl a few weeks back -- (it's a couple weeks earlier up here for students). She called a couple of nights ago to say she was accepted for two jobs she applied for which means she's staying in her U. town this summer. I'm beaming for the opportunities before her while navigating my own feelings. I know ... you know. xo
Oh my, snot on my laptop. Sigh... This year I will watch my oldest walk down the aisle and my youngest graduate from high school and leave for college. Propelling me firmly into empty nestedness. Not sure I'm ready. Off to blow my nose!
Enjoy your week, Joanie H! A beautiful gig, and still lots of happiness to come.
God, I love your stories. This one in particular made me well up. One day, my baby girl will fly from the nest. I'm so not ready.

There's nothing better than having your girl home, nothing nothing, never. Have a sweet week, joan, eating in all those yummy places and laughing really hard. Great gig for sure.
This made me cry. Love is so precious, and so fragile.
This is really one of life's milestones Joan. Artfully written and you must have been doing something right to wind up with such a happy homecoming.
Love this...thanks for sharing your joy.
Thank you, I really appreciate everyone's comments so much.
Wishing you a lovely visit.
You know you're a poet, don't you?
Ah. You say so much in so little. I know. I only feel whole when everyone is home. Beautifully written.
This rings so true with me today. Our son lives far enough away that it is either a 6 hour drive or a plane ride to see him. My time with him is always too short. I'm grateful our daughter lives in the same town. I think if she ever moves away I will want ot relocate closer to one of my children. I cna't stand the thought of being too far removed. This was beautiful Joan.
I love your Homecoming.Wish I had one to go to...
.........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥
Beautiful, joanie. It's so true, how the atmosphere lightens up and everything is better those few days they are home.

But one thing--there's no such thing as clapping too loudly!

I'd say "enjoy your week," but I know you will relish it.
I resonated with this post so much. Just LOVE how you write and describe so well the love that goes into our children. I hope you had a spectacular time.
This piece is wonderful!
Oh my, Joan. Beautiful, heartbreaking, tender and sweet.
Have a wonderful visit!! Such love your daughter is surrounded by.
I also hope you two find a way to laugh out loud, regardless. You might have to do something crazy. : )
You two deserve that. There are four-legged stools too and I am sure you are that already -- but to laugh out loud with just each other...
...what a gift to offer back to your daughter.
(I so hope you don't mind my adding that...)
@Just Thinking~ I don't mind you adding that at all. Thank you...
I can remember feeling like this. Thanks for reminding me.
"Of all the things we've done in our lives, this was our favorite gig."

this is getting ridiculous. YOU try reading you in a day. try it without a box of tissues. and it's not maudlin or sentimental or bullshit. it's real life put out here consistently, powerfully, and lit with such a loving hand.

jeeze, aren't you ever not good?
I hope that you will go along to acheive something more special than conceiving, carrying-out and rearing a child. I am sure the latter can provide many moments of joy but it is one of the most common things in the world. But it is from uniqueness, Ithink, that true satisfaction is derived.
There is nothing common about loving and raising a child well.