Dear Mom

Dear Mom:

A lot has happened in these past four weeks.

SOS went to sleep-away.  The camp owners post daily pictures of the campers on a private website.  SOB looks everyday for pictures of SOS. She lives vicariously through SOS’s summer (as do I).

I have learned so much from you, Mom.  Total control without any fingerprint evidence.  My camp “boyfriend” one summer has a son who is a C.I.T. at the camp.  And he was in SOS’s bunk!  Another old time camper sent all her kids and her son is now also a CIT. And SOS knows exactly how to get to Pearl’s house if he was having a really hard time.

Spies in position? Check. 

Camper happy and yet unaware of the mini-cam and walkie-talkies?  Check. 

A mother calmed?  Yeah, no so much.  But better than I would have been.

A dear friend sends her daughter. And funnily enough, guess who SOS was sweet on? I smiled such a big smile when I received a text from my friend about their budding flirtation.

A mother happy?  Hell, yeah. 

Knowing the family of your son’s romantic interest? PRICELESS. 

And a legacy at camp?  Get the wedding planners.

SIDEBAR: SOS’s “intended one” from age 7 and her family are beloved in our family.  I am hopeful they will find their way back to each other or find wonderful partners (like my friend’s young daughter).

And the young girl was staying only half the summer and was leaving that day.  SOS hugged her good-bye and shook hands with her mom.  The most adorable sight ever.

SOS looked happy and connected when we saw him at visiting day.  He was glad to see us, but wanted to make sure we would not kidnap him to New York at half-season!!

SIDEBAR:  I miss him so much, but there was no way that I would bring him back for the shit show that was in full swing in New York City.

In proud Blogger family tradition, I did post a story about a tragedy at a different camp for the camp owners to see.  But, possibly thanks to modern medicine, I watched calmly as SOS went on a sail boat, intentionally tipped it over and then didn’t surface for a few seconds.  I took a series of pictures in real-time so SOB could freak out.  SOS was fine and safe at all times.

Do I hear you say something, Mom?  Could you speak a little louder?  OKOKOKOK, not THAT loud.  Oh, OF COURSE, he had a life preserver around his neck.  In fact he had to expend real effort to stay submerged with that thing on.  Just to test the strength of my heart valves.  Since I didn’t keel over, I guess I have good constitution.

We watched him swim and do other stuff and he seemed comfortable in his skin.  He was so happy to be in the beautiful place where you and Dad sent us for so many summers.

SOS spoke to SOB and Dad.  He was so happy to hear their voices.

And then he wanted us to hug him and kiss and reassure him that his reentry into the real world would be ok.  And then he wanted us to leave.  And I was glad for that because a kid at camp who is having fun should want his parents to leave after a while.

And as a parent, I am grateful for the right choice made.

SOB and I talked shortly after visiting day ended.  ULOB wasn’t doing so well.  We left that night to get back to the City.

Dad wanted to make sure that we did not tell him that ULOB, FOPOB and Dad are failing in different degrees.  He didn’t want SOS’s mind cluttered up with what was happening at home.  See, Mom, through the haze, Dad is still there.

Back to ULOB.  You know the story, Mom.  I made a deathbed promise to Grandpa to take care of ULOB.  And then I made the same deathbed promise to you.  Promises to keep.

But in those hours when his death was imminent, it wasn’t about those promises.  It was about ULOB and easing — in whatever way SOB and I could — his passage from life to death.

We were, in the end, taking care of a hero of our youth, in his less-than-heroic condition.  Giving back to someone who gave us so much, so long ago.  Someone who shaped our lives and senses of humor.

The funeral went as well as possible.  POULOB joined Dad, SOB and me.  ULOB thought of growing old and death as such indignities that we couldn’t let his dance-world friends see his coffin.  Everyone needs to think he is still dancing the Argentine tango someplace else.  ULOB would have wanted it that way.  We are having a memorial service soon for him where he taught dance.

SOB and I led a good service at the graveside.  BOB sent a wonderful remembrance, which we read.

SIDEBAR:  On the way up, from my conversation with POULOB, I got the distinct impression that ULOB didn’t think of SOS as his great-nephew.  It really flipped me out.  But I kept it inside.  I can’t go into it here, when that feeling is raw, but the things he said on our Saturday afternoons together recently suggests that that might be true.  But I need to think more about this and factor in all the times over the last 12 years he was in our home and try to come to peace with this.

After the funeral, I had to go to the office and could not stay for lunch.  SOB produced the money she had from ULOB’s wallet and suggested that ULOB would take everyone out to lunch — to a diner, of course.

SIDEBAR: I made a mental note that that money was in his urine-soaked wallet when SOB found him almost dead.

I asked POULOB if ULOB had listened to my advice and taken her to a nice (non-diner) dinner.  She said he had and swallowed hard before paying.  Well, then, he would certainly want to take his family out for lunch after his funeral.  I agreed with SOB.  ULOB should take everyone to lunch.

SOB had a lovely shiva on Saturday night.  It was hard on POULOB because there were so many pictures of ULOB and AROB together.  I tried to console POULOB but it was a fact of their lives.  AROB is our family.

So, Mom, another end.  All of your kids needed to talk to you about it.  ULOB is the last of those who knew you since childhood.  We took care of ULOB — for you, for him and for us.

A door is closed.  A library is lost.