Sunday, August 21, 2011


Neighbors Marla and John hosted August 'Supper Club' today with a fabulous Sunday brunch, to which I was charged with bringing lemon bars. The irony wasn't lost on me, while baking early this morning, that it felt like life had thrown a few lemons my way as we delivered Italia to her freshman year of college yesterday. The rational part of me is thrilled that she's launched into an exhilarating next chapter, but mostly I'm wondering where the sunshine will be without her clouds of perfume and constant smile, her inside/outside beauty and all of that everyday love.

Not wanting to completely disappear down the rabbit hole of loss and sadness, I willed my thoughts back to the kitchen, back to Sunday morning and the lemons at hand. I thought about how much I adore the way, when piled in a pretty white bowl, they brighten a room. How they make me think of Italy and the citrus groves of Florida and a van Gogh painting. How crazy I am about their flavor, zest and juiciness - qualities I need to cultivate in life, like Italia does. All of that seemed like just what I needed to remember today and somehow it showed up.

Later, during coffee and dessert, my friend Susu happened to tell me that it's actually quite easy to grow a Meyer Lemon tree, that I'd be surprised how big and luscious the fruit gets and how much there is of it. I think I'll go looking for one this week at Campbell's Greenhouse. I've got the perfect spot for it.
(Still Life with Lemons on a Plate by Vincent van Gogh, 1887)


Cathy Monetti said...

I, too, left my daughter at college yesterday. I am so thrilled for her and thought I would hug hard, drop a few tears, then come home to my blessed life. Instead, I feel emptied in a way that has shaken me to my core.

Tomorrow will be better, I know. I will think of you and all the other mothers who understand the raw emotion this transition brings. And I'm going to place a bowl of fresh lemons by the window in my kitchen as a sign of solidarity and sunshine.

Anonymous said...

"Letting Go". I think a lot of us know how hard that is to do however, the one that has gone comes back smarter, happier, more grown-up, more excited about life than ever. That's what we want-right. Enjoy the journey with her.

lit prof said...

We have come FULL CIRCLE. The daughter of the daughter heading off to Chapel Hill. I remember the day Dad and I dropped YOU off there and now you've made this same trip with your girl. You carried a big piece of our hearts along with you and now she does the same. I am so lucky to have been along for this journey...and there is more to come. Godspeed, Italia. I love you.