Monday, July 12, 2010

A Black Cat

Yesterday morning I woke up early and biked to the local Anglican church. I haven't done that in a while, and I've missed it. As I was biking along, something crossed the road in front of me. As I drew closer, I realized it was a cat. A black one. I said hello to it and biked on. And then, I remembered that it was bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. I'm not superstitious, but I held that cat in my mind, considering it. I wondered how that became a superstition, what reality there could be to it and how my day would unfold.

After that church, I went with my family to our church. Our eldest was refereeing a soccer tournament and we picked him up, mowed the lawn, finished last minute packing fro our daughter's week at camp, jumped in the pool, ate lunch and left for camp. Actually, some of us left for camp. The boys stayed here on their own, with a World Cup final to watch, twenty dollars for a supper adventure, and phone numbers of nearby adults. Dave and I, along with Megan and her best friend, took off down the 401 and up the 400 to just past Gravenhurst. It was our first big trip in our new vehicle and other than slight seasickness in stop and go traffic in Toronto, and a sore behind after 7 hours in the car, the drive went beautifully.

The girls chattered the entire way to camp about what they were expecting and hoping for. We listened to the BBC commentators splutter about the World Cup and its umpteen yellow cards.

At camp, we were greeted at Cabin 6 by a Very Loud Singing Girl. She reminded me of my hospital roommate when I was eight and recovering from anesthetic. Then, Megan's counsellor barely recognized her existence. She did get a top bunk by a window though. Finally, when I asked about whether they needed a note so that Megan could come home from camp with her friend's parents, they shrugged the question off, leaving me to worry that they would either allow her to leave with anyone or that it would be mass chaos at the end, and they would presume everyone would end up with the right parents. I thought of that black cat and did not feel confident about her security at camp. I redrafted our church's policies this year on protecting kids, so maybe I'm more sensitive than most about this. And, we don't have a rogue parent or person in our life who shouldn't pick Megan up. Still, these policies have a reason. I planned to cry after dropping her off and I did, but my tears felt a bit heavier than just missing her. I hope they are vigilant.

We stopped at Weber's on the way back home and Spain won the World Cup at that moment and the rain stopped and we had a picnic for two. It was very very nice and the whole thing gave me a glimpse of a nice empty nest in another dozen years. The boys checked in with us to tell us they were walking to Dairy Queen for supper. We made a u-turn south of Barrie for butter tarts. We also resolved the enormous work-house-church-life balance questions I have been wrestling with this summer. Truly we did. We've talked - poor Dave - about these questions a lot, but yesterday, driving alone through green rolling hills on a quiet evening, my understanding fell into place. I know my matrix now - how I will make decisions. That's all I needed.

And then, I got home and had a letter from my literary agent in my inbox. It was another rejection from a high-end publisher whose reading of my writing made him a fan. He was very flattering, but alas, had to wash his hair. I have been convinced that to take these letters at face value: that while they try not to be mean and nasty, they will say what they really mean. They will not lie to soften the blow. It's a business. So, I had mixed feelings on this. Then, an hour later, another email, about a terrific work opportunity I had thought was lost, and apparently isn't. More on that later when I know more.

I'm not sure what to make of that cat. I'm not sure it was a lucky day or an unlucky day. What I know is that it was a full, full day and that I was glad to crawl into my bed and dream quiet dreams.

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