horizontal mystery ship—for Dad

HORIZONTAL MYSTERY SHIP

when you leave at seventeen
rarely home
more than two weeks at a time 
months, years and decades
can be surprisingly unreliable markers of adulthood

only once
in the summer of ‘88
a recent college grad
wide-eyed and wanderlust-fueled
my tonsils required more
I stayed a whole month

once healed, packed, and in possession of necessary visas
off to the southern hemisphere
a young pioneer 
in search adventure
and different stars

now, when visiting 
after a lifetime lived elsewhere
grey hairs visible
no matter my efforts
I find myself
sliding into a peculiar second adolescence of sorts

driving Dad’s truck 
windows down, hair blowing 
mile after mile of expansive, wild beauty 
the prairie 
a determined cellular homesteader 
forever staking a claim in my blood and bones

I want to sneak out to the bar
play Space Invaders
sadly, no longer a standard
unlike 1982
drink beer, eat junk food
and avoid the endless expectations of being a grown-up

Looking back with midlife sensibilities 
I realize
those late nights in high school
tenth grade, I believe
laser focused, playing Space Invaders
provided a surprisingly valuable education 

initials entered, quarters stacked
protect the bunkers, defeat the aliens
monitor the horizontal mystery ship with vigilance 
my peripheral vision unknowingly trained 
to notice things beyond immediate scope
bonus points pinged
while friends waited impatiently

twenty more minutes, please

under a waning August moon
only one lunar phase ago
I was still my father’s daughter
a middle-aged, South Dakota teenager
pretending time actually plays tricks
wanting desperately to disregard reality 

one more visit on the calendar
one more phone call
cheeseburger or ice cream cone 
one more evening watching
Everybody Loves Raymond
M.A.S.H. 
or Mayberry RFD

twenty more minutes, please

quarters stacked no longer
Space Invaders
the nearly forgotten teenage relic 
of a heartbroken
fifty-something
fatherless daughter

once again, 
I am protecting my bunkers
monitoring a new horizontal mystery ship
paying very close attention
to what's just beyond my immediate scope

just twenty more minutes, please

TED Radio Hour, second adolescence & hopefully gaining some wisdom

After visiting my family in Burke, South Dakota (population 670ish) last week I’ve returned home to Vermont and made a few discoveries.  I thought I’d share them and maybe you’ve experienced something similar at some point in your life.  As always, I would love to have you shoot me an e-mail and share your thoughts.

Burke Cape Cod Vermont Lisa Lillibridge

This is a mash-up of where I’ve spent the most time in my life.

South Dakota/23 years  •  Vermont/25 years   • Massachusetts/Lots of summers/holidays

1) As a nearly 49 year old woman (October 12th) I no longer visit my childhood home feeling like a child.  It helps when my husband comes with me.  I feel more in touch with my adult life…and much less so when it’s just me and the kids.

2) My children are rapidly growing up and I’m no longer a parent of “young kids”. GOOD.

3) I don’t feel particularly old except that I need “readers” in every damn room.

4) I basically like who I’ve grown to become AND I know that I’ll spend the rest of my life getting to know myself better.  I’m up for the challenge and hopefully the people I’ve chosen to date are up for it too.

5) Life isn’t easy and sometimes during the hard stuff all we can do is “show up” for our people.  However, the hard stuff makes you grow and the good stuff is just pretty wonderful.  And I’m slowly learning (very slowly) to let the bullshit slide.  It isn’t worth my energy now.

6) At this age I am more deliberate about my time, my people and choices. I think “deliberate” feels awesome in nearly every context.

7) Sometimes this age feels like a second adolescence.  I like it, my twin daughters and I are in it together—which is sometimes adorable and sometimes really NOT…but always interesting.  One day they will find it all very funny, I think.

  ad·o·les·cence

photo_2

This photo is our shared sorrow over the end of the “van years”.  I had to fake my sadness, actually. I now drive a VW Passat and I don’t really miss my van…except maybe listening to movies on road trips.  But, now we listen to the TED Radio Hour, This American Life and The Moth on NPR.  We save them up for our trips and they always provide remarkable discussions.

Here are a few links you might enjoy:

A great TED Talk on aging: http://www.npr.org/2015/06/19/414999589/why-should-we-look-forward-to-getting-older

This is an interesting site that was referenced on the TED Radio Hour last week—Stanford Center on Longevity.  http://longevity3.stanford.edu/

Cheers,

Lisa sig

when dreams collide

when dreams collide lisa lillibridge