I’m in my bedroom. My door is closed and the younger boys are having a Nerf gun war, goggles on and all. I hear music. It’s Hebrew. Then I hear my son’s voice. He is chanting the blessing before the Torah is read. I turn to my bed and swear I can see the image of my proud father sitting there. Or at least, I can feel him. We sit together, listening. It’s one of those moments that carries my heart from this life unto the next, and back again. All those years ago I sat with my dad chanting away whilst he tutored me for my Bat Mitzvah. It was a tradition in my family to study with him months beforehand so that we were confidant about what we were ‘teaching’ the congregation on our big day. Now, I actually have a son taking those steps right in front of me and I’m bursting with love and memories.

I do feel my dad much more here than anywhere else and for me, it provides a closeness to him during a time when he would so be in his element as a grandfather. The anniversary of the death of my beautiful mother-in-law was a few days ago, the same date as well of a close friend’s dad, and it reminded me of how quickly someone can be plucked from your life. Just like that. Taken. We do our best to make big life decisions with a plan in place, but now we equally have the knowledge and realization that all things can change unexpectedly and throw the best laid plans amuck.

Plans. We make a lot of plans. Sometimes we plan a period of time where we’re not going make plans. We don’t make little plans, only big ones. In fact, the things we never plan are usually the things others always plan: holidays, weekends, dinner that night. Our plans are life plans – where we’re going to live, whether or not to set up shop somewhere, doing a movie that will consume two years of family life. And at the moment, we are living out one plan without the pressure of the next, which is blissful. It’s a mistake to forget the ‘living’ part of life however easy that is to do sometimes.

I’m now sitting in the Soho House awaiting a dear friend from London. My two lives mix so well in this space where the view is arguably the best in LA from this exquisite penthouse and the vibe is all English. We end up talking about life, creating it and living it, and again, those plans. I watch older people doing the same, looking forward towards trips and events, and I think it’s human nature to do so. We tend to focus forward for the most part and I find it comforting albeit a bit strange, that that doesn’t stop when one gets older.

Rain has enveloped LA these past few days. Everything shuts down. No one knows what to do! Kids don’t play outside, the schools have their rainy-day-schedules, traffic comes to a stand still, the streets get flooded and newscasters scream ‘Storm Watch!’. I don’t even own an umbrella here, not that I’d use it anyway. I always found it wonderfully odd that English people don’t use umbrellas. Either you get wet, or you own the right coat and simply get on with it. Don’t make a fuss. Here, people quickly go down under and don’t really surface till it stops. Not that I’m one of them…yet!

I’m now at carpool. I’m told by a mom that her 13 year old recognized my son from his laugh on the soccer pitch. How sweet is that. I smile, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Our cars move in the line. Hmm. Who is she? Then she revealed it was ten years ago since we sat park-side, eating sandwiches with our toddlers. Her son had a memory of playing batman in our rented house all those years ago, laughing alongside his fellow pre-school friend. Wow. Time is definitely racing by when my son now has a friend he hasn’t seen in ten years! Happy memories. Boys are unmistakably significantly older, which usually brings up conversations of having another. Another? Husband would be so happy. Hmmm. Now that would be the some plan.

About Jennifer

Jennifer is from Beverly Hills and has lived between London and LA since 1994. She's been a writer for over 20 years in the world of film, tv, travel and magazines and has been a class rep eight times and counting... She has just completed her first novel, Venerdi.
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2 Responses to Plans

  1. Gail @ the Gate House! says:

    Me again! Great blog – can so relate to the whole “planning not living ” bit. Jen, for you and anyone else this resonates with, I have beside by bed a really great book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, all about living in the present, enjoying the moment and not aways planning ahead or looking back. Well worth dipping in to if you can “plan” in a bit of reading time!

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