Monday, September 22, 2008

sad in a happy way

1. not the john hughes movie

It’s a good day for it to be the first day of fall. Because fall makes me sad in a happy way, or maybe the other way around. This weekend was that.

Saturday I had breakfast with the group of ladies my mom called Breakfast Club. They met—what, biweekly? monthly? time is so weird when you’re a kid—for more than 20 years. The first time my sister and I stayed home by ourselves was when our mom went to Breakfast Club. We locked the doors and watched as much TV as we wanted (which was a lot), and when she came home, she came home with a blueberry muffin for us. After that we didn’t mind staying home by ourselves.

Also, she always came home with good gossip about the other ladies’ kids, who were all within a couple of years of our ages. We weren’t that close to most of them when we were in school, but even years later we knew when one of them decided to go to law school or study abroad—which were the kinds of things that they would do because they were all nice kids who made their moms proud.

The moms were so sweet to Cathy and I, buying us breakfast and asking how our dad was, asking about our cat by name, telling us not to worry because they didn’t start having kids till they were 34. They reminded me of my mom in a way that getting together with extended family does not. These women and the schools they worked at and sent their kids to were her every day, not just her Christmas and Easter.

Cathy and I spent most of our time at the kids’ end of the table with the daughters we knew lots about but had hardly spoken to in years (with the exception of Jenny, Susan’s daughter, whom Cathy has been good friends with since junior high). It was pleasant to discover that the breakfast had none of the overtones of most reunion-type experiences—discomfort, competition or, at the very least, the sense that if not for this one random connection, you wouldn’t be talking to each other. Even though some of us had babies and some of us were working for NGOs in Tanzania, I felt like any two of us could easily be friends. I felt like our funny, book-ish, down-to-earth moms raised us right.


2. the woody allen movie

On Sunday AK and I were supposed to have brunch with Meehan, but that turned into a different kind of day when she found out, while we were on our way to meet her, that one of her best friends from college had died in an accident. Her phone battery was dead and she hadn’t brought her charger to L.A., so she came over and used our place as a sort of base camp for all the terrible calls she needed to make.

So it became a day of calls and emails and internet searches, happy stories lined with sadness (or maybe the other way around), food offered, distraction provided, a day of not knowing what to say and finding things anyway.

Late in the evening when Meehan had returned north, AK and I watched Annie Hall, which she’d seen but I hadn’t. It was so sad, I told her after laughing all the way through and really seeing what fashion magazines mean about menswear. Or not sad exactly, I clarified. But bittersweet, definitely.


Prince Gomolvilas said...

Yes, that Diane Keaton can wears men's clothing like it's nobody's business.

Cheryl said...

I want a bowler hat now. More so than before.

Peter Varvel said...

Bittersweet, exactly, yes, was what I was already thinking before reaching the last line of this post.
Your perpetual-musical-theater-geek, here, is going to mention how 'The Fantasticks' plays on this very theme of September for things in life that are bittersweet . . .

Cheryl said...

Can you believe I've never seen that one? But I like that sad Green Day September song!