a string of gifts (or, the longest blog i’ve ever posted)

April 4, 2009

the leap from 43 to 44 last week felt enormous. miles long? hours? i don’t know how to measure it. i only know it appeared at week’s beginning as a simple and painless move from one day to another; by wednesday my birthday was just a day away but i was bouncing between highs and lows as i awaited 44. this all sounds terribly dramatic – really i think it was simply a wonderously strange week.

mondaywas a barbie-dream-day kind of day. coffee & bagels with judes and my sissy lou. loreen giving me The Sister Ring, that one we have been searching for a few years now, the one i haven’t been able to take off (it feels like it has been on my hand always). after coffee, a mystery appointment (fabuloso!), shopping, chicken tawook with extra garlic sauce at open sesame, all the indulgent things i never get to do. the saleswoman at macy’s amazed at my mom’s beauty, at all of us as we [per usual] took over the jewelry & sunglass counters and probably laughed too loud. and in me, a weird sort of soft pride way down deep as, instead of mother, i reveled in the role of daughter and sister for a few moments. i am rarely not a mom; likewise, i am rarely just a daughter or sister. those roles used to accompany me almost everywhere. to feel them now, in moments or hours, means getting to drop everything and feel cared for in the most gorgeous of ways. the day wasn’t extravagant, but it was perfect. perfect gift number one.



i bounced into tuesday. literally. awoke to maya jumping on my head and my bed and within five minutes i morphed into mommie-dearest mom trying to get her fed and to school on time. then lovely coffee with lovely Estranged Husband rick whose birthday it was, and then bam! a weird gear-switch as hours later i packed up my sweet kittycat blue for a visit to the vet where i knew we would say goodbye.

i had planned on doing it alone, but rick in his kindness chose to come, even though it was his birthday. truthfully, i don’t think i could have done it alone. blue was the first little thing i called my own when i came to long beach almost thirteen years ago. her passing last week was for me another really difficult moment of letting go of what was. of saying goodbye to not only her, but to many significant and forever life-altering chapters of my life. she was there, in the background, for so many Big Moments. it was hard and my sadness is without words, but i got to be with blue for a long time before and after, and i was brave and so was she, and ricky drove me home and i got to cry in his car for a long time (thank you ryki). my goodbye to blue and her goodbye to me was very difficult but it was, in its own way, a perfect gift number two.


wednesday was ryan’s birthday, sandwiched between mine and ricky’s. somewhere that day came the unbelievable news that june would be flying down from northern california for friday night! i couldn’t stop beaming. i made a cake and rick and i joined up with everyone in bellefleur to eat the best pizza imaginable and to watch maya hang out with her fake cousins during ryan’s birthday celebration. she absolutely…shone. engaged in kid-conversation, dancing around and giggling with the boys, looking up at the girls with that weird brand of ‘you’re a big girl’ love pouring out of her eyes. rick and i kept exchanging looks and whispering to each other about her everything; her impossible impishness, her voice, her eyes huge as she listened to something with her 5.5 year old earnestness. ricky and maya and i are the most unorthodox family i know. we are three people orbiting around a million commonalities: around parenting, around our own separate evolution(s), around a central and undeniable core of love. within it all, there are moments of joy and gratitude and anxiety and sadness and learning. that is family, whatever it looks like from the outside. we are family. perfect gift number three.

thursday, it became my turn, the big day of landing in the double digits, again. the day was work, work, money and work, but that evening maya’s best pal audrey and my very own susan joined us for mexican food in the neighborhood. the girls drew pictures and clowned around. susan and i drank beer with dinner and talked about life before being ambushed by our girls outside the restaurant. long beach sometimes feels so cast off from the world at large and it was one of those nights… going from one cozy space to the next, we had coffee and rice krispie treats just as the sun was going down. a sunset that was streaks of purple and pink, the santa anas starting to blow their warm winds, the simple sweetness of two of our best friends waving goodbye from across a parking lot. perfect gift number four.




and finally, friday. a lovely calm day before the martini storm to come. a day of puttering around in my pajamas, watching a movie, long distance phone calls, caffe lattes at peets, another movie, a nap and a bubble bath, all leading up to eyeliner and tight jeans and cocktails with my closest friends on a dog-friendly patio at my favorite beach side restaurant. it wasn’t the evening that i had expected, been promised, but it was my birthday, and i vowed to be fully with the people who were choosing to be with me. it was chilly outside but loreen gave everyone scarves as gifts, so we bundled up and spent a gorgeous two hours eating appetizers and drinking before heading to the gaslamp for dancing. a few more girls dropped off along the way, but those of us who remained had more fancy cocktails, laughed our asses off and danced (juney) until last call. ricky rapped in dedication to me, and there were elegant orange candles in my birthday creme brulee. i didn’t want it to end! so delicious, this love-bombing, this saturation, this ending to a week of extremes. my perfect gift number five.




3 Responses to “a string of gifts (or, the longest blog i’ve ever posted)”

  1. myriam Says:

    lovely, lovely 44

  2. Ruth Says:

    You received no word from me – that is true – though I read your posts daily…whether they’re newly written or not and usually I weep…I weep your joy and pain and I weep because though I love my life here in France…it is exquisite and a true gift…I miss you and others like a piece of my heart is gone..and so that makes it very difficult for me to touch base – strange as that sounds :)…..I loved your birthday…I love that your mother gave you to us…I love that you had the string of perfection the week of your birthday….I send you my love to Blue, to Maya and to Ricki.

  3. leslie Says:

    beautiful post kerri lynne, i cant wait to join your circle of friends and family! (didnt know i had that plan, huh?) you have such an amazing spirit, really deep and light at the same time. thanks for putting it out there, i loved reading about your birthday rituals, i do the same for mine (movies, bubble bath, coffee and martinis??? yes!!) and about your cat, i just put my dog of 16 years to sleep about the same time, charlotte. i couldnt do it, my husband did and it made me love him more than i thought possible. if i had to, i could have but he very sweetly and assertively wanted me to let him do it. i had that same feeling like someone was taking care of me for once and i needed to let them. OH! and about the mother/daughter day… you know, i went to london with my mom last summer (a huge treat!) and felt the same feeling of freedom and strange peacefulness allowing her to “mother” me and take care of me. it really was the strangest feeling, very tangible and i spent the entire week thinking about what it means to be a mother and daughter and all that craziness. it was a great trip and learning experience for both of us. wouldnt have missed it for the world!

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