Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another Goodbye

The Borders in my neighborhood is closing. It's in a large mall and according to one of the clerks I spoke to, their rent is high and they are not making enough money. I was over there last night - my second evening foray since I discovered their January 19 closing date. Many signs everywhere saying "25% off", "last chance" "75% off". Many empty shelves. I felt somewhat like a looter, slightly evil for walking the aisles, using their misfortune to grab a bargain for myself. I feel bad for Borders. Clearly I think of the store as more friend than a place to shop.

There are several reasons for this:

1) I am a bookaholic and no thank you I don't need a 12 step program or to recover. I love books. I am very very happy to wander in a bookstore for hours. It's rich. It takes me to different worlds in a manner of moments as I flip pages. I have always loved to 'retreat' by reading books.

2) I used to work at a Borders. I'm not talking 'put myself through college' employment, I'm talking recently. When I came to the point in my life when I recognized something needed to change in my career, I started exploring what made me happy. I had always harbored a secret fantasy of owning a bookstore. I ordered a book on owning your own bookstore and explored that option. One day online I randomly applied for a job at the Borders in my town. They called me and hired me!! This was when I was also working full time as a paralegal in a lawfirm that was constantly in trial. I worked my 'day job' at the lawfirm then scooted down to Borders to work the evening shift and close the store. I feel crazily proud of this dot on my resume. I was working with kids the same age of my kids and they really liked me. I walked the store with my Borders badge saying to myself (giddily I might add) I can't believe I work here!! I had so much joy helping customers find books. Since I have bought and read so many myself I did know where they were and could tell them - "yes, that is a great book, and you should also read this one".

3) It hurts my sense of community that a store like Borders cannot survive. I don't know what to attribute it to but I'm guessing Barnes & Noble being across the street - and mind you I play no favorites - I love all book stores - could be a factor. The accessibililty and affordability of Amazon and the internet could be another. Hey, I am probably one of Amazon books' best customers. What is not to love? I buy them used, they bring them to my house for a fraction of the cost of going out to the store to buy them. So while I am contributing to it, I feel a little sad that real bookstores, where people go out and walk amongst books, sometimes running into a friend there, having coffee, talking with the clerks about books, could be becoming a thing of the past. Is the internet creating less community on a physical level? Don't need to get too deep, I'm just noticing my feelings.

I'm going back there today. There's a couple CDs I'd like so I'll see if they are there and marked down. Again, the feeling of profiting from someone's loss. All the employees are out jobs. One told me how sad it felt to him as he really likes working there and the people he works with. Again, this is part of the cycle of life, the inevitability of change. And, change isn't usually comfy cozy.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Saying Goodbye

I've been going through some letting go the last few days. I've been crying and pondering and feeling my feelings. Now it's time to write and it occured to me to post a blog would be therapeutic for me and perhaps someone out there will resonate.

My daughter turns 23 in January. She and I, like most mothers and daughters I suppose, have gone through some ups and downs. Basically though I feel we have a deep and caring relationship. A few years ago she had a boyfriend who just was not a mother's dream of a potential son-in-law. He had serious growing up to do and I found myself feeling so frustrated as they continued this relationship that seemed to only run downhill. They moved to Colorado together and lived quite poorly. During the time she was out of state, I missed her horribly and of course worried a great deal about her wellbeing. The boyfriend was generally not working and while she was, they didn't have much money. She and I didn't talk much then and when we did it felt distant.

Fast forward to 2007. My daughter dumped the boyfriend, moved back to California, and basically started getting her life together. She moved in with us several months ago and I have been delighted to have her back. Despite living under the same roof, we really didn't spend a lot of time together, and yet, it was somehow comforting to wake up together, have her right across the hall from me preparing to go to work while I worked in my office, saying our "goodbye honey"s as she drove off to work. She got a new and vastly improved boyfriend, a super guy who loves her madly. He proposed. They are getting married. And, as really makes sense, she decided to move in with him.

While I could see the writing on the wall that she would be leaving, I really hadn't planned on it being as painful as it was. After she and boyfriend loaded up most of her stuff, I hugged her and started to cry. She started to cry. She's not moving out of town, and let's remember, she is almost 23. This is what 23 year olds do and I'm happy that she is. Why was I so upset? It felt like my baby girl was moving away, going away. I told her she was experiencing the next chapter of her life and that it felt huge. I spent the rest of Saturday, and much of Sunday bursting into tears every time I thought of her.

My baby is growing up, has grown up, is living her own life now. And in that, I need to let go, and grieve. I want her so much to be happy, to have a good life. She does have that. Yes, they are poor; they don't have much, but I know they will make it work. This is surely a chapter in her life of creating who she will be. She will find her way and learn to work with her spouse and make a life for themselves that will eventually include children.

It is a strange and very emotional time. What am I learning from all of this? How very deeply I love my daughter. I have felt it so keenly to the depths of my soul.

This is the nature of life: change. Things must change. We grow, we move on. Everything is normal about that. I am glad I am a person who feels my feelings. And while it felt painful (and a bit bewildering) to break into tears all day long yesterday, I know it is good for me to experience my feelings - and even to share them.