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.