Saturday, October 24, 2009

big questions all around

We had a wonderful time this past week in Santa Barbara.

Or rather, Charlie had a wonderful time in Santa Barbara while I was in business meetings.

Since my husband grew up in this beautiful coastal town, nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains and Pacific Ocean, while I worked, he spent time at his old stomping grounds and visiting with high school friends.

One afternoon, he took the children by the house where he grew up.

Slowly driving by, he pointed out to the kids that this is where he lived when he was a little boy. Then, he drove by the cemetery where his mother was buried 17 years ago. Climbing out of the car, he told the children that they need to be very respectful in a cemetery. He took the children to his mom's grave and had everyone stand around in a small circle, holding hands. My husband told the kids that they were going to be quiet for just a moment and say a little prayer.

As they stood holding hands in a circle, with their heads nodded, the children were whispering, "Dad. Dad. Dad! DAD!" When he finally looked up, the kids, not surprisingly asked, "Where's your mom?"

My husband tried to explain that when she died her spirit went to heaven and her body was placed in the ground. Then he pointed to her headstone and said, "She is right there." The kids looked at him incredulously and asked, "She's in there?"

When Charlie nodded yes, William tried to lift the headstone up with his hands. Once he determined that he couldn't, he made up a game of jumping from one to the next, across the cemetery. While their brother was distracted with something new, the girls stood and cried because they really wanted to see their grandmother and show her their new outfits.

My husband told our daughters that although they might not be able to see her, she can always see them. As Charlie was relaying this story to me, it just further confirmed what we've been feeling for a long time.

Life is short.

Family is important.

Follow your heart.

Everything will work out.

And that is why, change for us is coming soon.

We've been faced with some very big questions over the past few weeks.

What do we want to do?

Where do we want to live?

When will all of this happen?

How will all of this happen?

We think we have it figured out. But details won't emerge until they are confirmed. Until then, we're trying our best to answer the questions are children are posing. Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why are clouds white? Why can't boys have babies? Why can't girls have peanuts and go potty standing up?

Then there was the question Carolyn asked the other day as we were sitting in the Santa Barbara restaurant where Charlie worked as a teenager. As she was nibbling on a burger she asked, "Mom, Dad? Where do cheeseburgers come from?"

I said, "A store" Charlie said, "A cow" and William shook his head and said, "A cheeseburger tree. Of course!"


  1. My husband grew up in Santa Barbara, too! I wonder if they knew eachother! You had me cracking up with the kids thinking their grandma was IN the headstone. Kids are so literal sometimes. Can't wait to hear what adventures await you!

  2. God, California is BEAUTIFUL. Overpopulated and expensive, to be sure, but that ocean! Those mountains! Won't you be just a teeny tiny bit sad to leave that scenery and weather behind?!? Can't wait to hear more about the big change coming...

  3. Anon: America is BEAUTIFUL. There are so many places that I've been fortunate enough to visit that have absolutely taken my breath away. The rocky coast of Maine ... the mountains of Colorado ... the Carolina lowlands with Spanish Moss dripping off the trees.

    If we do leave California - I'm sure we'll miss it. Although, the thought of REAL SEASONS makes my heart flutter. To wake up every day and not have beautiful sunshine - in a way - sounds pretty great. To look outside and to see driving rain and think, "Hmmm. Today I think I'll stay in and bake and sit in front of a roaring fire" sounds AWESOME.

    We're ready for a change. Of course, we'd never be more than a plane trip away - and we could always come back. At least for a vacation...!

  4. Well, that's a good point -- seasons. I grew up in Michigan and now live in NJ and couldn't live without Fall and Spring! I just love the colors of California -- the blue sky and the blue ocean and the sandy beach and the green's awfully gray here Nov-March. And the crowdedness of Cali would definitely get to me. So good luck wherever you are headed!!