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Growing Up

My Aunt Pam and Uncle David are coming to visit this weekend — they arrive tomorrow (well hopefully, if American doesn’t cancel their flight).

I’ve been busy all week getting the house ready and planning out fun activities for their visit.

I’ve menu-planned all the breakfasts/lunches/dinners (re: poblano cheddar quiches, vegetable lasagna, blueberry, cream cheese-stuffed French toast, Cajun skewered shrimp with Fettucine Alfredo, the individual chocolate molten cakes) and picked out a couple of cute places to dine out.

We’re going to see a play, we’re going to the museum, we’re going to the top of Greg’s office building with the amazing views of Chicago, we’re going to tour the Ebony Magazine office where Pam worked 40 years ago as one of only 3 white employees (thanks, Greg, for getting the ball rolling on that), we’re having Greg’s sister, niece and brother-in-law over for dinner, and I even scored last minute tickets to a taping of Gayle King’s show in Oprah’s studio.

I’d accomplished all this by the time Greg got home from work last night and, although I initially felt really good about the fun plans I made, by the time we got to the gym I felt heavy and sad and couldn’t quite figure out why. All through our workout I stared off into space, lifting the weights Greg handed me mechanically and thinking about how long it would be before I could just go to bed.

Finally, walking to the car, I tried to talk about how I was feeling, at first not really knowing why I felt so sad, but then as the tears started to stream down my cheeks, the words came out with them: I wish it were my parents coming to visit this weekend. Greg was sweet and let me cry. He asked me if we’d be doing different things and I tried to imagine what it would be like if my parents were coming to visit me…and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t really imagine it.

The last time my mother visited me I was 18. It was my freshman semester of college and parent’s weekend. She stayed in a hotel off campus and I showed her around the dorms and the dining hall…all those sweet, young things you do at that age. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to actually have her come to visit me now, to stay in our guest room, to meet Greg, to sit at our dining room table and eat a meal that I’ve cooked myself. I can hardly imagine.

And my Dad…the last time he visited me was for my 20th birthday in New York. He slowly made his way up to my tiny, fourth floor walk-up apartment and then we went to Peter Luger for dinner. I wore a pale lavender dress. It was Spring in New York.

All of this was easier when I was alone. Now that I’m creating this life and home with Greg I wish so much that they could be here, that they could meet this wonderful man I’ve fallen in love with, and see me in my life as the woman I’ve become.

And all of that said, I’m so grateful to have Pam & David in my life. They are both wonderful and love me so much and it will be so nice to have them here in our home. And while I was writing this post, Pam emailed to say that their flight hasn’t been canceled tomorrow…so here’s to a lovely weekend to come.


  1. i really am so sorry that your parents have both died, particularly while you were so young. my belief system, however, knows that they see you and your loving life with greg. i’m also so happy for the woman you’ve become, despite them (…or, perhaps, because of them?…) not being alive. you’re awesome, claire.

    Comment by RzDrms on April 9, 2008 at 11:09 pm

  2. Aw, thanks Courtney.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on April 15, 2008 at 8:29 am

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