Today is my Mom's
49th 59th birthday. Wow. I just lost a decade. I need to remember that it's 2009, not 1999. My mom seems too young to be that old. I know, we all say that about our parents, but seriously, she doesn't look like she's pushing 60 and she sure as hell doesn't act like it, either. I mean, aren't people supposed to mellow in their old age? I've mellowed considerably! Yet she hasn't. She's as feisty and sarcastic as ever. She does a good job of hiding her disappointment, too. I know she thought she'd have grandchildren by now, as well as a more conventional elder daughter with a house in the suburbs, a mortgage and a car. Yeah, I have none of those things. Oh, well. That's what you get, for being an unconventional Indian mom. The mango/jackfruit/(insert exotic fruit here) doesn't fall far from the tree.
Today is also special for another reason; it's the first time my oldest, most beloved best friend Eileen Perfume visited DC. She wasn't here because of me-- oh, no, she was here for the supreme court. She took the red eye on Monday, was busy all day and night Tuesday and finally had a free moment for me today, on Wednesday. I got to run in to her just before she went to the airport, for almost exactly an hour. I was so happy to see her, I just kept telling her that, and that I loved her, and I couldn't believe she was here. She made me giddy when she locked eyes with me and announced, "I LOVE DC." Strong words coming from the LAist who currently lives with a view of the Golden Gate bridge (no, I'm not joking). She stared at me for a moment and then nodded. "I get it. I get exactly why you love it." And then I knew, for the 1,000th time, why she was the best friend I'll ever have.
"You may feel pulled towards SF, but resist. You belong here. I could even see myself here, if my life were a little different...". And then she looked happy but wistful, as we both remembered that when we were 17, and signing each others' yearbooks, we thought we'd end up here. "You could still come here," I said, softly. "I can't. You know that. Not anymore." And at that moment, I realized that I had done the right thing by not moving back last year, not settling, not getting married yet, and not having children. Heavy and cliched, but true. I'm not ready to be wistful.
I was happy to see her husband and her little brother, J, too. He might as well be my little brother. I've known him since he was a few months old. J's waiting to hear back from all the colleges he applied to, (mein gott, he's a graduating senior?? already? he was in a stroller at OUR high school graduation) and I dragged Panda along, to meet my best friend (obv), but also so he could answer all manner of questions from not-so-little J, who applied to Panda's alma mater.
Poor Panda was nervous about meeting one of the most important women in my life...and who could blame him? After this, it's just Moms and Veen. I've met his college friends, but no one from his hometown, no one like my E. It's a big step. I wasn't worried at all, though. Panda is as adorable and sweet as his namesake.
It's strange, having my worlds collide, like this. E had never been to DC and she hadn't met Panda. Meanwhile, I've seen her twice back home in CA since I started dating him. Now she's been to my "adopted" hometown and she's met him. At home, I often feel like I've passed through some time warp, and I'm on a different planet, where things are 15 years behind...tonight, I kept looking across the lobby cocktail table, to my Panda, laughing with not-so-little J..and then I'd shift my gaze back to the giant, emerald-colored eyes of my best friend. I am not 19. This is not Northern California. Smash. Bang. Pow. I'm here, now. It's so exhilarating and astonishing, it left me a little numb.