Sunday, July 31, 2011

“Things will never be the same again…”

I was recently talking to a friend who happens to have two boys that are the same ages of my sons. And just like us, they’re getting ready to send their oldest son off to college. I casually asked her how she was doing with the whole thing and she answered me with a memory. She described how when she was pregnant with James and getting close to delivery, she had this sudden moment of clarity. She remembers touching her stomach and feeling the enormity of the pending changes to her life, and the exhilarating anticipation of this new baby. And in one introspective flash she thought,  “Wow, things will never be the same again.”

She added, “And I sort of feel that way again, about James going away to college. I know that no matter what, things won’t ever return to the way they were before he left. Not really.”

And I know what she means. It’s the silent, deeper truth about sending your child away to college. Yes, of course, it’s an exciting time. And what mother doesn’t want her child to experience this bold new horizon, with all the eye-popping growth that comes with it? But the wispy sadness that I feel comes from knowing that change is here to stay. A precious era is ending and my heart gets achy when I think about it.

Oh, I know. Family life resumes quickly, we’re all busy, and our life will soon appear normal to any outsider looking in; except it won’t be. Things will feel dramatically different. Because one of my boys will be missing from our home. He’ll be gone.

So with all this in mind, we’re focused on having some fun during these last weeks with Patrick. This past weekend we all headed to San Francisco to see a comedy show and putter around. Of course I lugged my new camera with me.


On our way to our hotel we went drove through the Financial District.


The weather was wonderful. Sunny and in the high 60s. We decided to walk down Columbus Avenue to check out the City Lights Bookstore. It’s known as a literary landmark and billed as “one of the truly great independent bookstores in the United States.”


The sidewalks were packed with people. Later we learned that the San Francisco Marathon was on Sunday.

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This was our view as we passed by Chinatown. The colors looked so vibrant under the blue skies.

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The City Lights Bookstore has been a mecca for book lovers since 1953 when it was opened by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. With books from smaller, hard-to-find specialty publishers as well as the larger publishers, you’ll find titles here that you wouldn’t see on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.


The bookstore has three levels. Despite it’s size, the spaces feel wonderfully cramped with lots of old brick walls and books everywhere. There were printed blue signs displaying the various books sections.


And scattered on the walls were hand written signs like this one. I loved these little touches that let you know you’re in the culturally eclectic and dynamic city of San Francisco!


Afterwards we went to the Fisherman’s Wharf. As we passed through the crowded streets on the way to the famous Pier 39, we went by various fish vendors. Look at all this fresh crab! Can you guess what I had for dinner?


After dinner we headed out to the main entrance of Pier 39 to catch our taxi. The comedy show was 8:00 p.m. and we never laughed so hard. There were three comedians, and only one that flopped. It was such a perfect ending to our day.


The next morning while the guys slept in, I walked a few blocks over to the Ghirardelli Square.


We never made it there after dinner, so I had to have my chocolate in the morning instead; a steaming non-fat mocha.


On the way back to the hotel, I walked by the Hyde Pier and was surprised to see several swimmers out in the ocean on this early Sunday morning. Wow. I’m a warm water gal myself, and I can’t imagine jumping into the chilly Bay. How about you?  What were you doing on the last Sunday morning in July?


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