Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maid of the Year

Irony is this. I attended the Motivation Show in Chicago and stayed at the the City Centre Hotel. I didn't want to carry around a large wad of cash and the hotel didn't have a room safe. I decided the cash was safer on my person than left in my room. I pulled the cash from my purse and rushed out to catch the shuttle bus to the convention center.

At the end of a tiring day, I took a taxi back to the hotel and went to pay the driver, only to discover my wad was missing. I had just enough cash to pay and tip the driver, then fled to my room, my mind running every scenario I could think of for where I may have lost--or had stolen--the cash. By the time I reached the 19th floor, I realized I couldn't remember where I'd placed the cash to begin with. Dread hit me as I rushed to my room, fearing the cash I'd taken out of my purse--which I clearly remember--would be gone with the Chicago wind.

I looked on the ironing board, not there. I checked the desk, nope. I sat on the bed to look around the room, wondering where I might have laid the bills when I looked down and saw lying right below the pillow, blending into the green coverlet, the stack of twenties. I counted them out: $260 just as I remembered.

I don't think you need me to spell out the irony. I called housekeeping to find out who'd taken care of my room that day and connected with Sylvia the housekeeping manager. She was eager to help and before I could complete the thank you letter I was writing to the maid, Sylvia knocked on my door with sweet Herminia. Herminia blushed when she read the note and saw the tip I'd stuck in the envelope. She blushed again when I asked if I could take her picture for my blog. If there were a Hotel Maid of the Year contest, I would nominate Herminia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fluffing Up the Empty Nest

Two weeks ago we drove our youngest child, Jonathan, to college in Kansas. Our oldest, Elisabeth, returned to her campus last week. We are now, officially, empty nesters.

The week Elisabeth returned to school, my friend Amy had a baby. In a congratulatory email I wrote her this:
I want one. Well... maybe not. I had one once, no, I had two. They never last. You get all used to them snuggly and cuddly and everything about them is wonderful. They have a terrible habit of growing, though. When they grow they change, and every stage is as fun and fabulous as the one before. They never stop the growing part. The body stops growing so fast, but their insides get bigger and bigger until their eyes can’t contain it all. Before long your house isn’t big enough for them and their gigantic world view. They leave the nest and take all the love you gave them in their memory. They return, but they’re not yours anymore. That’s when you realize they were never yours to begin with.
Amy's journey as a mother is just beginning, while mine is taking a new path. Mothers and fathers never stop being parents, but the new path marks changes in the parent/child relationship. I noticed the first time my daughter came home from college for the summer that she was so much more independent, confident, self-motivated. Our relationship changed. She is still my daughter, but she's also my friend.

Jonathan went to college much further away than his sister did. I keep up with him through phone calls and emails. I can already sense the maturity coming upon him. He won't be home until Christmas and I'm already counting the days. But until then, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of my empty nest.