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A Woman's Journal


Seen and Heard

By Maggie Turner

January 25, 2000

Seen and Heard

It all started when I decided to do some "deep" cleaning. Our house is usually quite clean but dust does gather in certain, out-of-the-way places. The lampshade in the living room was dusty, very dusty. The frame of the shade is covered with a light fabric; the light fabric was covered with dust. In my attempt to remove the lampshade for cleaning, the glass reflector dislodged and fell to its death. Since it holds up the lampshade, it was no longer possible to use the shade or the lamp. The lamp was stowed away in a dark corner of the basement.

For months now I have been searching for either a new lamp or a new reflector. The price tags on the new lamps that I like are prohibitive. The old lamp has been in my possession for many years. It was aged and well used when I acquired it more than thirty years ago. It is a brass floor lamp; the tri-light bulb in the center is surrounded by three regular light bulbs. I am rather attached to it really. Consequently, I was delighted when a local lighting company told me they had just the reflector I was looking for in stock. The new reflector sits atop the old lamp, together they should be lighting our lives for the next thirty years.

The house is full of teenagers again tonight. It is noisy; it is loud. It is not conducive to meditative thought or to writing. Sensitivity and reflective thought retreat as a turtle might retract into its shell when danger approaches. I am "The Mom"; Attila is "The Dad". We are the keepers of the haven. This requires a certain amount of good-natured detachment. It is satisfying to know where the teenagers are and what they are doing. It is satisfying to observe what decent human beings they are underneath all the manic socializing. At the moment, life is very frenzied.

I remember when "The Older Daughter" left home. Those last few years she lived at home, the telephone rang every few minutes; someone was constantly ringing the doorbell; there was always loud music and laughter in the background of our lives. The day she moved out on her own was filled with young men carrying furniture, with trucks, with pizza and lots of excitement. Then they all drove away. A silence descended. At first, it felt as if something was missing but after a few weeks, it felt peaceful.

Well, here we are again. The next three years or so will be lived at high volume. Schedules will be complicated, telephones will ring, and Attila and I will feel like the hosts of a popular convention center. As exciting as it is, living with teenagers, I do not think I will pursue it into my old age. In fact, I have learned a lot from having teenagers and I cannot wait to try out what I have learned. If I am a burden to my children in my old age, it may not be in the way that they expect.


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