True Blue

True Blue

I’ll have a blue Christmas. But not the kind Elvis sang about.

I had those blues all spring as I fretted over fall when my nest would empty. I’d always said that when my chicks left, I’d fly away, too, preferably to anywhere under the Tuscan sun. Or, if I stayed in town, to a bungalow in East Nashville. But when the whole Metamorphosis- thing finally came, it left me feeling more like Kafka’s Beetle-Boy than Skynyrd’s Freebird. Rather than soaring on wings I felt upside down, feet flailing. After living with parents, a college roommate, then a family of my own, I’d never flown solo. Existential choices over where to go and what to do made my Hamlet head spin. Wings felt…well, weird. Trying another metaphor, I repeated the mantra: “Leap, and the net will appear.” I asked Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, her thoughts on the matter. After all, she created my gypsy girl, Vianne, and lived the true artist’s life. Harris’ advice: “Try it over water.”

As with every summer, I found peace. I spent days on the deck–writing, reading, praying, swinging. I decided I would stay on Jenry Court. Like Amanda Wingfield, I made “plans and provisions” but not for a gentleman caller. In this old house I’d hosted daily, though often unaware, what Williams called that “long-delayed but always expected something that we live for.” As Cole reminded me, I’d raised him (and his sister) to adulthood and as he put it, “It has been a fun ride.” So happily I painted outdoor furniture for a family sendoff for him and my niece, Abby. The night after I took him to college, I cooked an Italian dinner for friends. We gathered in a celebration of change.

Inside I colored my world with what makes me happy–Tiffany blue–alongside my ubiquitous rich reds and punchy pinks. What a difference a can of paint can make.

I vowed to stay true to what I love–entertaining and writing–and claimed a room with a view. My dining area doubles as my writing space and from behind my computer I see pictures of good times with friends and family. My easel waits patiently in one corner while the grandfather clock I bought with money my dad left me ticks off time in another. Engraved inside the glass door is Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days, so we may present to thee a heart of wisdom.”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Nick, our neighbor, came home from his college on Thanksgiving break and played Xbox with Cole. Last night Taylor, Mom and I saw the final movie in the Twilight series. Tay and I thought it was the best of the bunch. We finished leftovers today, and Cole and Mom are watching Home Alone–the original–downstairs. Thankfully, some things don’t change.

Cindy McCain

I'm Cindy McCain, Southern Girl Gone Global, who flew from my empty nest to write/teach for three years in Marrakesh, Morocco and the Caribbean. Now back in Nashville, I'm sharing tales, tips, and takeaways from exploring 27 countries and finding treasures in my backyard. My blog offers itineraries, travel/hospitality reviews, and inspiration for letting go of fear, holding onto faith, and finding freedom in roots and wings. Featured in Yahoo!, US News and World Report, Expedia, Orbitz, StyleBlueprint, Named a Top 35 Baby Boomer Blogs 2020-2023 and a Top 50 Travel Blog of 2016.

Leave a Reply