Making Do

Chanterelles from my sister-in-law's foraging. Some sweet red peppers from our produce box. A little white eggplant gifted to us from someone else's produce box. Onions, garlic from the pantry. And lots of olive oil and salt. Roasted at 400 for 45 minutes. Autumnal ambrosia.

This isn't the first time I've pontificated about pulling disparate parts together. About making do. It's one of the qualities I admire most in people. As the wisest people remind us, all we have is how we respond to circumstance. (Which is why the incessant talk of sailing your own ship, finding your passion, branding yourself gets tiresome. At some point, that falls apart. Death is the ultimate example.)

Our family has just started a big experiment in making do. Yancey has moved to Seattle for the year to do his paramedic training. We will see him in snatches a few times a month, mostly while he is sleeping. All the lists have been made, goodbyes said, and there's nothing to do but to do it. I've mostly been very upbeat about the whole thing and I really do consider this an adventure where all four of us will learn more about one another. But I read this poem at our little going-away party for Yancey. It's good to be sad, good to be missing each other. And good to tell you about it here.

Before a Year Apart

Let me be dramatic
just this once.
Phooey on all this
strength and optimism.

For starters,
what will I do without the mountain
of black t-shirts on your side of the bedroom,
their soft scenery smelling of you?

And coffee cups in the car,
in the garage?
They will miss their daily excursions,
now bored and cramped in the cupboard.

I'm worried the dog
will lie by the door all year.
As hard as I try,
he always wants you.

The grass will grow long
and I'll miss the surprise
of coming home to see you've cut it,
your jeans green on the fringes.

We've lucked out getting to spend
this life together--
laundry, carpooling, working,
dreaming, laughing, longing.

And we luck out again, when,
after 21 years,
we are blessed, bound, consecrated
in this bittersweet (God, I will miss you!) goodbye.