Love's Gonna' Get You Down

That's Chicago. I'm home.

FD and I joke that we don't get vacations. For people who seem to be hopping on planes fairly regularly, we still don't take real vacations. There's none of this hanging around with nothing to do.

No Vegas, no Jamaica, Italy, or Costa Rica. But sometimes, if we leave for long enough, if the sun cooperates, we really do feel as if we've been away. We're refreshed. Exhausted, but refreshed. I left ahead of him this time. We were apart for a week.

I forget sometimes that little kids wipe you out. How you people in early childhood education do it, I'll never know.

The Story:

She's at the wheel, I'm supposed to be paying attention. When she has the baby, this will be my job, driving the boys to school.

Turn right on Third, then at the light make a left on . . .,

I don't write it down. In the back seat someone is telling me why he likes Mika.

When it's my turn, I take Vine. She takes Vine, too, she tells me later. She doesn't warn me that it can be confusing. If you exit too soon you end up on Cajuenga and may never get out of Hollywood. That's just the way it is. You don't panic, you don't tell the kids that you did this, got lost, not while they're in the back seat, anyway..
Lollipop by Mika

Hey,what's the big idea?

Yo, Mika!

I went walking with my mama one day
When she warned me what people say
Live your life until love is found
'Cause love's gonna get you down.

Sing it!
Say love, say love
Oh, love's gonna get you down.
Say love, say love
Oh, love's gonna get you down.

Mama told me what I should know
Too much candy's gonna rot your soul
If she loves you let her go
'Cause love only gets you down.
Take a look at a boy like me
Never stood on my own two feet
Now I'm blue as I can be
Oh, love only got me down.
Once the kids are in school I can sit in the backyard and smell the orange blossoms and lilac trees. I can even talk to patients on the phone in the recliner. It's not a bad life. It almost sounds like a vacation. I will be working here soon enough, and I have that sexual assault prevention program to set up. May as well relax while I can.

Usually we visit in January, when it's cold, or in July, when it's a hundred degrees in the shade. Nobody tells us that late March in the San Fernando Valley is as close to perfect as it gets. If Californians have a reputation for being a littly high, this is probably why-- lots of sun and orange blossoms.

I'm always telling you to change your sensorium, to stimultate the brain with new sensory data to lift your depression. You don't have to travel to California. You can buy a bottle of scents, something powdery, maybe, whatever scent you like. But I'm thinking aroma therapy started in California in the springtime. You could jolt an airplane in empath daught's backyard.

Too bad you can't bottle sunshine. It's one of those chaval things.*

We wait for a baby to be born. She has absolutely had it with pregnancy, which, as you might know from personal experience, gets a little old in the last week or so.

The ugly truth is that it has been six months since I've seen my kid. Sure, we Google Video-chat (better than Skype), but it's not as if we can take a walk in a museum or a park and just chill, not if she's in one town, and I'm in another, half-way across the country.

And the video chat thing has to be at the end of the day. My attention span is that of an ant by then. They're due to arrive in Chicago any day now, ants. To their credit, they have a fairly decent work ethic, and do focus day and night. So maybe that's not the best example.

Anyway. It's healing, being there, just working a little, hanging out with my daughter and my son-in-law, and his parents and their kids, and my grandsons who look at me as if I'm from Mars, but isn't it great that Martians arrive and bring baseballs?

We throw the rubber baseball and nerf football around for hours. They find these things, which I would bring any girl-child, too, in my carry-on within moments of arrival. We make up good games, like roll around in the grass to hold onto the ball, and kick your brother, but gently.

It's a two-week trip and my carry-on still has a little breathing room because of empath daught's closet. So many short trips, for years luggage has been shunned in my world, it's hard to break old habits. And who knows if you'll ever see it again? Picture this:

FD is waiting outside the office to take me to the airport. My short week is over. Thirteen people are scheduled for phone or g-chat appointments while away. I want to say goodbye to my friend, a colleague. She works in the office right next door. Her door is cracked, so I know she's alone. Knock knock.
"I'm out a' here. Watch the shop, okay? I didn't tell anyone to borrow my computer."

"Huh? You'll be in tomorrow, right?"

"No, I'm leaving now for California tout de suite."

"Get out!"

"No, seriously. Come look at my luggage."

She sees the one bag. "You are nuts."
Maybe, but I'm gone.

Long trips aren't good for the back, even if you sit all day for a living. So mid-flight I get up and find the galley to stretch. The flight-attendant tells me it's her galley, would I mind taking a seat? Okay, I say, but I'm only following doctor's orders, doing this. She lights up. Well, in that case, she says, come back in half an hour and you can have it all to yourself.
Who said flying has to be so bad?

Let's not talk about how they see you as something just peeled off a shoe if you fly stand-by (the return trip).

My first day in L.A. is all about reconnecting with everyone. It's two hours later for me, so by ten I'm am asleep, right after the Office and 30 Rock; they've waited for me to watch the shows.

As you may recall, my morning alarm clock is someone pulling at the covers.

"Bubbie, Let's play!"

Life is grand.

"Coffee, " I mumble. They have heard the same mumbling from their mother, so they don't object. I pop the waffles in the toaster, pour the syrup on the plates, make the coffee.

The machine is tricky, but I paid attention to the tutorial the night before.

My daughter shapes the guys into little people who want to go to school. How she does this inspires me. I yelled and threatened my own kids, eventually picked them up and forced them into seat belts. But maybe they were younger even, than these guys. Must have been.

She's still working, has been working from home for three or four months. Once she wrote a book for someone about the virtual worker. In the book she suggests that if you're working from home, you should dress like you would to go to the office.


At lunch she says, "Maybe we should do something. Go somewhere. Like a museum, maybe the Getty. Get out and walk."

Anything to put her into labor.


We're very pleased with this field trip. We're walking around the Getty, enjoying the art, and she reminds me that it has probably been fifteen years since we did this, walked around a museum together.

She's enjoying the entire gestalt. It's something I tell people to do. Take your mom to a museum. Take a walk. And here we are, doing that.

The Getty is free. We don't know this, and both of us, without saying it, have been hoping not to have to spend a lot of money. By the time we get out of the house, time is slipping away, closing in on the end of the school day. We at least want to get our money's worth out of the museum. She calls my son-in-law, her guy, my fifth son, who will pick up the boys. We're free to have the day together.

The exhibit is what you would expect, basically your typical Renaissance religious painting tour de not force. But it is certainly marketed to me, specifically. This one has my name on it. It's called, Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575–1725.

Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575–1725

In the one below, Joseph is fighting off Potifar's beautiful, seductive wife. She wants him in the worst way, this woman, according to the bible story. Who said the Torah was dry? Certainly not the first and second books. But he will not be seduced, not Joseph (you saw the braoadway show). After all, he's Jacob's son, and it's bad enough already that as the patriarch's son he has been living as a prince in Egypt for years and still hasn't called home.

That's it for anything Jewish in the exhibit. But it was interesting getting top billing like that.

Anyway, end of this story, she has the baby. Walking does the job. We have hit the mall the next day, not spending a dime, except for coffee, decaf mocha latte, heavy on the whipped cream, for me, at least. And after her short stay in the hospital, her littlest guy finds out, although he's been warned, exactly what it is that Mika means when he says, Love's gonna' get you down.

The kid is a good sport, but at four, it takes some getting used to, your mother holding someone else in her arms. All The Time.

He puts it in words and she reassures him that he's still way at the top of the pecking order. They have history together. She's only known this new little guy a few days. How could she possibly love him more? And it's annoying, isn't it, that he always has to be held? Come on. You think mama's made of iron? The dude looks small, but he's heavy.

Wrapping his head around this, he accepts it that she loves him, and she may even love him more.

After all, what choice has he got?


*Chaval is Hebrew, I think. Hard "ch", cha rhymes with duh, and val rhymes with doll. It means, What a shame, too bad. Works for almost everything.


Retriever said…
She's lucky to have you with her during this last frustrating stretch before labor. With my first kid, I did hours and hours of gardening, squatting to plant boring pachysandra ground cover. Perhaps that helped the kid get born sooner?
blognut said…
You sound like a great mom, with a great daughter.

Welcome home, TD.
Margo said…
Your readers should know that you are actually the BEST mom (with the BEST daughter. Heh.)
I could never have gotten through the last two and a half weeks without you.
And the four-year-old is doing remarkably well adjusting, although I do get a nightly lecture from him about how I ONLY pay attention to the baby and NEVER him and I NEVER carry him, etc., etc. I tell him that's not true, that he knows it isn't true, and then...he concedes that he's making it all up.
And holy hell, does he belt out that Mika song now.
therapydoc said…
Such an emotional dude. American Idol, here he comes.
Rosie said…
"You can buy a bottle of sense..."
Would that we could!"
porcini66 said…
LOL! What a great story! My 6 1/2 year old (youngest) STILL says that I don't love her as much as the oldest, that she wants to be a baby still, that she wants me to be able to carry her again...and she makes it up, too. It's nice to read about you being there with your daughter. I am there in spirit w/my mom, but it isn't the same. Thanks for writing. :)
therapydoc said…
Not very p.c. of me, I guess. But aren't there any that aren't $60.00 a bottle?
Rosie said…
The "bottle of sense" - Freudian slip? I'm sure you meant "bottle of scents"... but it's the "bottle of sense" I wish were for sale!
Syd said…
I like these stories. I am an only child which had its own burdens. Glad that the little one arrived and is well.
therapydoc said…
Syd, as we say, your mouth to G-d's ears.
therapydoc said…
Rosie, so funny. On the uptake, did an edit and changed it. Should have left it Sense, no?

I actually have a bottle of Sense'
although not my favorite, not bad at all.
Jack said…
I think that part of why I like these posts is because it is easy for me to relate to.

My folks left Chicago a thousand years ago,as did a number of relatives. But there are still enough there that I get to hear first hand these tales of how nice it is to see the sun in March.

Can't tell you who invented aromatherapy, but I can say that it works for me.

I have yet to find a time when the smell of fresh baked goods didn't lighten my mood a bit.

Mazal Tov on the baby!
therapydoc said…
Thanks, Jack. I miss bread already.
Not to be um.. indescrete, but I recommend unprotected intercourse (in only appropriate situations, of course... not preterm, and not with anybody you wouldn't other wise be willing to have uprotected intercourse with) to trigger labor... there is some evidence that it works (and some that it doesn't), although the theory is based on strong grounds. Kinda hard to do randomized trials, though... ;)
therapydoc said…
Mid-wife, you're never indiscreet :)
Dr. Deb said…
I'd like to bottle sunshine and the lilac trees.
FamDoc said…
'. . .they see you as something just peeled off a shoe if you fly stand-by . . ."

LOL, so true. Not to mention the anxiety and rush of excitement before you are "called" to the counter. Takes air travel to a whole new level of entertainment.