"Don't buy the hard ones and don't buy the squishy ones - just the soft ones."
Buying avocados that are already ripe and ready to eat is difficult and most the time a crap shoot. The barely soft ones can still contain brown spots inside.
I should have bought them. It was something I could control.
Wade and I spent a great day in Stillwater on Thursday listening to excited Cowboys tell us all about college life and his freshmen year. The sarcasm hopped between us as I resorted to it when trying to annoy him and he returned the blows when I tried to parent. We met a mother and son from Miami. Something told me the mama shouldn't be left alone so I said hello and introduced myself. Her name was Ashley, and when she pronounced Miami the i definitely made the long e sound. So I smiled and said - "So you are from Florida?" She looked at me like I was a little crazy and nodded her head. I quickly explained we had a town in Oklahoma called Miami -but no one pronounced it with the long e sound. Anyone from that town in Oklahoma says MIama - with a hard muh sound at its end. It broke the ice, and she laughed with me. Her six-foot three baby boy, handsome with shocky black hair, dark brown eyes and brilliant brown skin was coming to play OSU basketball. At the conclusion of our orientation and enrollment session, she would be leaving him in Stillwater and traveling back to Florida. Oh my goodness, my heart felt heavy. Zack is the oldest of three. Ashley was leaving her first born.
Wade and I skipped the afternoon tours and grabbed some chips and queso at Fuzzy's. The patio offered us sunshine and solitude and the soda's provided the caffeine spark we needed for the rest of the afternoon. Two speakers later and after more sarcastic bantering, we walked over to Hideaway for pizza before checking the boy into the dorm for the night, The line for the dorm keys only contained teenagers; there were no other parents supervising this process so I made my exit and began a quick dash home to make guacamole for our evening shin dig with some friends.
Stillwater is my hometown; there was little to learn and there is equally little anxiety about Wade going to school at OSU. Consequently, when I pulled onto Perkins road seeking the turnpike entrance, I felt betrayed by the tears and the nauseous knot in my throat. Wade Garrett is so happy; I refuse to be a sad sack, weak, sniffling ball bag over this.
However, the anger that had churned within me for more than a week sent hot tears searing down my cheeks as our SUV tore over the hard, grey cement. I have been angry.
I have been angry with a kind of anger I do not know. Typically, I burn hot and flame out fast when I choose madness in a circumstance - but this time as the fifth wedding approached that Taylor would not attend - I didn't soften. And I refused to cry - so that refusal just fueled more anger.
I left Stillwater Thursday later than I thought I would and was worried Joey would be itching to go to our friends. With haste, I turned into our driveway and darted into the house, creating my own stress. The onions and tomatoes I need for guacamole were already diced just as I had asked of my sweet man. So I reached quickly for the avocados still in their mesh bag. The bright green of the exterior told me what my hands would soon discover. The avocados were hard; they were rock hard.
In a whiny voice I offered, "Joey these avocados are not soft."
"Honey, I did the best I could. Can't you nuke them?"
Trying to recover I softened, "Thank you for cutting the onion and tomato."
I took the knife and sliced the first bright green rock. With a ripe avocado, I can generally gently pinch the skin and expel the fresh fruit from its interior. The avocados were so not ripe - even trying to cut away the skin was futile. I put the knife down and gently blurted out - "I think you are going to have to go without me."
He didn't move or respond - the reality of this journey is we recognize when we are lost.
I took myself into our front room and sat in my grandmother's rocker, one in which I sat as a little girl summer after summer. It's legs reach backwards a good ways and I remember always feeling like if I didn't lean forward, I would rock all the way backward. Here I was again trying not to fall backward, staring at pictures of Sis and wanting those dad gum avocados to get soft so I could just keep leaning forward.
After a few minutes, I walked into the bedroom passing my husband and kissing his sweet bald head. "I'm not going."
"We will just stay home." he whispered.
And I cried..
Taylor loved my guacamole and I love Taylor and all of it - college, Ashley's first born, the wedding, the avocados weighed too much and I rocked all the way backwards, crawling into my bed.
The good thing about the dad gum avocados that are still on my kitchen cabinet waiting to ripen is that they took away the anger and taught me, again, a lesson I guess I will just have to keep learning.
I can't handle this by myself.
I can't always lean forward and will myself into another day.
I didn't do anything to deserve this.
I can't do anything to make it better.
The avocados will ripen in their own good time.
Wade will go to college at summer's end. and as selfish as it sounds - I will wish that Tay was here with us until heaven shares her.