September 9, 2011 by Judith Liebaert
It’s eight-thirty on a morning that is approaching the pseudo-summer days of fall and I’m enjoying a gourmet coffee and cranberry-walnut muffin. A welcome breeze is rustling the leaves of a maple tree that wraps its arms around the corner windows where I sit nestled into a quilt covered futon. I could almost reach out to pluck one of those leaves from a branch tip, yet the limbs are not scraping against the siding. They are at such a perfect distance it seems they have been carefully groomed to create this tree-house like sanctuary.
From the street below comes the sound of occasional traffic. Voices of passers-by float through the window screens on the breeze. I have read the news, caught up on correspondence and will soon be coiffed and off to a few boutiques I’ve been dying to explore. The city is peppered with such shops in neighborhoods of venerable brick storefronts; small enclaves rich with character that has not been assassinated by the blight of malls.
I have dreamed of living exactly like this, in a second floor walk-up with a porch overlooking the street below. I have dreamed of morning coffee with pastries, of lunches in a storybook bistro where I would be a fixture – the author working on her next novel.
Having grown up in a very small town, and spending all of my adult life living in a rural community where everything of convenience is at least thirty miles away, the wonder of what city life would be has been a constant companion whispering in my ear. But mine was a life of keeping a home, raising children and tending vegetable gardens – envied by my city sisters.
I’m certain this secret longing I’ve had to experience the life of a carefree woman in the city has been just that, a secret. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t write about it. It wasn’t a life goal on my list. It was an undisclosed love and yet, somehow, my daughter has turned it into such accurate reality it’s as if she knew my secret all along.
I is she who brings me to this place that I have dreamed of. It is a magical place suspended in time for me – sitting here, I feel like a young ingénue with the world awaiting. Yet, as enamored as I am of this place, I caution myself. I must not usurp my daughter’s territory. I WILL not be one of those mothers living vicariously through her progeny.
I have a hunch she doesn’t quite see the romance in all of this that I do. Like any relationship, the lure of the city grows faint with time. Battling her way to and from work on traffic clogged thoroughfares cools love’s flame. As time wears on, the warts of the city can make the once handsome suitor begin to look a lot like a frog.
I know that one day she will look back on this time with the fond memories one holds for a love than cannot be recaptured. I am hopeful that until then, she can appreciate this moment in her life for what it is; her awakening into self. And I thank her, for sharing this time with me.
As for me, I plan to visit now and then to remind her what a “catch” her life is; just not so often as to make her bar the doors. After all, this little perch in the corner of the second floor porch, overlooking the not too busy street below, is her home, not mine. I’ll have to remain content with being a secret admirer.
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