Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Norman! The loons are teaching their baby to fly."

In which I seek some bracing advice to deal with my last-ever-I-promise-absolutely-final bout of empty nest syndrome whining.



Me: Miss Hepburn, I...[snuffle]...oh, excuse me for crying.

KH: Whatever is the matter with you?

Me: I'm sorry, I'm just...[sob]...my daughter...

KH: Well, what is it? Speak up!

Me: She's leaving for college.

KH: Yes, and? Does she have a disease?

Me: Oh no, she—

KH: Is she pregnant?

Me: No, definitely not. But—

KH: Has she lost a limb?

Me: Oh gosh, no.

KH: I don't understand, then. What are you crying about?

Me: Well, she's leaving. Life is changing. I'll be here, and she'll be way over there.

KH: You must be joking.

Me: No, really. I have these moments of panic when I realize she's never going to take a shower in that bathroom ever again. It feels, I don't know, tragic.

KH: Tragic, my eye. Tragic is being labeled "box-office poison." For heaven's sake, put some backbone into it!

Me: Yes, I'm trying. I just—

KH: I spent more than three-quarters of my life living apart from my parents, and you didn't see me sniveling about it. Or them, either.

Me: That's true.

KH: We New Englanders are made of tougher stuff. What you need is a good swim in the Atlantic. In January.

Me: That's one idea.

KH: Invigorating! Clears your head!

Me: I'm sure. But, Miss Hepburn, didn't you ever feel sad when people went away, or when things seemed like they'd never be the same again?

KH: That's the point of life! Things move forward! You enjoy things while you have them, and when they change you enjoy the new things. Anything else is a waste of time.

Me: You make it sound so easy.

KH: It is easy! Comedy is hard.

Me: Hahaha.

KH: That's better.

Me: I'll try to look at it that way.

KH: Try, nothing. Just get up on that horse and go, go, go.

Me: Go, go, go.

KH: She loves you, doesn't she?

Me: She does, actually, yes.

KH: She knows you love her, doesn't she?

Me: Definitely.

KH: She'll enjoy college, won't she?

Me: I'm sure she will.

KH: Well, then. You're just moving on to Act II, scene 1, that's all. The players are the same, it's only the set that's different.

Me: I hadn't thought of it that way. Thank you, Miss Hepburn.

KH: Now stop sniffling, it's so unattractive. And what have you done with my brownies?

* * *

[Title courtesy "On Golden Pond"]

11 comments:

Wzzy said...

As you know, I empathize. The funny thing is, whether she admits (or realizes) it or not, she'll feel the same way. My son said as much the other night when we were IMing about how much fun our Walt Disney World vacation was last month (it actually was):

"I keep thinking
while I'll be back at WDW
it wont be like that
at the swan, with you guys
walking to Epcot every morning
going through the boardwalk and all that"

[Me: we can go back again, honey]

"I know
but stilll- I'll be at a different place in life
things will be different
it was just a unique moment in time"

So they get the bittersweet of it, as well.

Miss Hepburn is right, by the way ;).

So Lovely said...

Am dreaming about those brownies. Dear Miss Hepburn: I know you must be terribly busy and I do hate to bother you - but if its not too much trouble, may I please have the recipe?

Susan Champlin said...

Wzzy: Agh, here I was starting to buck up, and that comment is going to make me cry. That's so insightful of him.

So Lovely: Here you go (from the Gourmet cookbook...yes, it's true; not from my own cookbook):

2 oz baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square baking pan (I use glass, and I "flour" with cocoa powder to avoid white flour on dark brownies).

Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. (Add chopped nuts if you want them; I make them without.) Bake for 35-40 minutes. Recipe says 40; I take them out at 35 because I like them a little gooey. Let them cool. I dust them with powdered sugar—don't tell Miss Hepburn; not in the recipe.

marsha miller said...

Good thing you look to Katharine for help. She may be just what you need at this time. Better than where I turn for solace when I ask wwddd? My idol Doris Day simply strokes her 101 rescued canines and replies with a chipper: "Que Sera, Sera."

And, as far as I know, she doesn't even bake brownies.

marsha miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina Cockburn said...

This is great, Susan!

I've been feeling very split about Aidan being in first grade and Makena starting kindergarten. I know it's not college, but it feels like it. I mean I'm glad to see them go and learn new things and bring home some choice new words and phrases and wacky behaviors from school. Really, I am. And I'm ecstatic that we've survived their formidable toddlerhoods without the need for therapy or ER visits and have made it this far.

But it's sad nonetheless. They're growing up, dammit, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. So let's buck up together. I'll meet you in Nantucket in January for a little swim. I'll bring the hot chocolate.

Encore Entertainment said...

Oh dear God. Can I just say I love you? This is so funny and so sweet and I'm rambling like a child. I love KH, and I don't know how it took me so long to see this site.

PS. Can you head over to my blog and vote in the Katharine H. awards? There's a link on the side. Thnx.

Gaylen said...

Okay, this has been bothering me for a week now. Why does this entry have to be your " . . .last-ever-I-promise-absolutely-final bout of empty nest syndrome whining" ?? Isn't that part of the point of becoming more like Madame Hepburn to begin with? And where would I be without reading about all this angst? Where, I ask you -- where?!

Locandiera said...

Really a nice idea!! Your blog is very pretty... is very Hepburn!!

Amanda said...

That's the point of life! Things move forward! You enjoy things while you have them, and when they change you enjoy the new things. Anything else is a waste of time.

Beautiful line. Thanks for posting this. I too am leaving a place I have been at for a long time. I'm leaving good friends behind but I know this is right for me. Thank you for reafirming that

Levy Chocron Bentata said...


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