Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Childhood Memories

Often I find myself being nostalgic about "when I was a kid".  But, I wasn't a kid for really all that long.     I got married at 18 and now I am 65.   Most of my life has happened after leaving childhood.   It has for most of the people I know.

It's so normal and usual to say "my mom used to" whatever.  But, is that really how it was?   Did she do something once and it stuck with me so I now refer to the one time she did a thing as "always"?

I wonder what my kids remember and how different their memories are from mine.  I often hear their versions of events that I either don't recall at all, or remember totally differently than they do.

In general, I just go along with their version.   Maybe they are right.  Or, maybe, like looking at the same thing from a different angle, their memory is correct from the angle they experienced it.  Not sure about the grammar here.

When we bought our house in Reston in 1983, I felt very strongly about the importance of the kids knowing "home".  When I was a kid and we were a traveling family, I never has a sense of "home".   With our life and all of our moves, I think it was nice to be able to look forward to moving back into a familiar house and home.

It hit me today- we have moved out of the house in Reston many times, but we have always moved back.   This time we have moved out and are not going back.  Someone else is going to call it their home.

Only two of the "kids" have seen and been in the new house.  I am sure all of them have some sort of feelings about their familiar comfortable home being sold.   I think about the house we are in now.  We have enough room for everyone to come home at the same time.  But I have a hard time envisioning what rooms are for which kid and partner. 

I wonder if it will ever happen.  Will all five of the grown up kids ever actually come here at the same time?   I hope so.  But it's not up to me. 

Another thing I think about and try to remember is, how was it with a house full of little people?  I guess they were not all little at the same time.  But they were all living together with us at the same time for at least a few years.  All the meals.  All the groceries.  Noise.   Chaos.   Was there really a time in my life when I couldn't sit down without someone wanting to lean on and touch me? To nurse?   Wow did that all really happen?

I think that is one of the reasons parents want their grown children to have children of their own.  Partly, for sure, so that there will be an appreciation for how hard their own parents (Nick and I) worked.  And also because there is so much amazement and wonder at it all.  All of the exchanged glances between parents sharing a smile at something or other that nobody else could possibly see as magical as the parents. 

I often say I wish that I had been nicer and more forgiving when the kids were little.  I know I got mad and yelled and more.   Yes, I really did lose it sometimes.  But I hope that they remember the good stuff.   The play-dough that we made.  The plastic table cloth on the kitchen table so the kids could paint and cook and play.   The little gardens I tried to grow a few times.   The hugs.   The praise.

I try to remember those things from my own childhood.  I know that they are there.  I do know that my parents loved me.  My father was not able to put it onto words, but I knew somehow.

It's so easy to dwell on the bad stuff of my childhood.  But there was laughter.  There were chocolate chip cookies that my mom would put inside the Dutch oven pan.   My dad looking through magazines with me sitting in his lap.  Letting me comb his hair and polish his shoes.

Ah, life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Row row row your boat, life is but a dream

I'm not sure why that popped into my head.   I remember being a little girl and singing this in rounds at my Aunt Geri and Uncle John's house.  Uncle John would lead us all in song and we would laugh and laugh.  I remember sitting on Uncle John's knee while one one of his daughters sat on the other knee.  It was so human, so warm and comfortable.

Uncle John and Aunt Geri are still wonderful and comfortable.  And, like all of us, a lot older.

And life goes on.  Sometimes gently, sometimes not. 

One day after returning from Portland, Nick went off on his own trip.   First he went on a transatlantic cruise, then on to London to be a tourist.  While he was traveling he got sick.  He emailed me from London and told me he wasn't feeling well.  He was tired and not able to do all of the things one would want to do in London.

Apparently, a lot of the people on the ship were writing on Facebook about having bronchitis.   That's what Nick figured he had.  The more he wrote. the more I thought it sounded like pneumonia.

Nick got in on Friday evening and we went to the doctor on Monday morning. An x-ray  confirmed that he has pneumonia.   He is discovering how debilitating it is to be so sick.    Antibiotics and steroids should help, and hopefully they are.  But it's a long recovery.

We talk about "after I die you can"  whatever.  It is said in jest though of course we know that we will die one day.  Hopefully a long time from now.

But, for the first time since I have known Nick, I was really scared.  All the travel and exhaustion and being so far from home.  I am not ready to face mortality yet.  Not his. 

I have faced my own mortality a plenty, all the sicknesses and surgeries and childbirth.   I wonder how much I scared my loved ones.    I know that I would be missed.  I know that when I do (eventually) die, that there will be tears. 

But the thought of me, myself, being alone.  I don't think so.   Sheesh.   How does the mind and imagination work.  Or is it just being prepared. 

Love.   Joy.  Attachment.   and also scary.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

I'm still here

I am not sure why I haven't written anything for almost a month.  Yes, I am still here.  By here I mean alive.  Of course I am here because, wherever you go, there you are.

I am back in Virginia.  Got back  April 25th.

I had a few days of fairly serious jet lag.  Now I just have my usual tiredness.

Austin turned 32. He said he wanted an ice cream cake.  I looked at some in the store, but there's no way I could fit one of them in our freezer.  So I made one.  It turned out pretty good, and by making it myself I was able to make it gluten free which means I could eat some too.    The only flaw was the paper.  I used parchment paper to line the pan I molded the ice cream in.  I forgot to remove the paper when I assembled the cake which means we were all pulling paper out of our mouths as we ate!

I've turned 65 since that last time I wrote here.   It's cool.   No big changes from the last day that I was 64 though somehow it seems like the number 65 reflects some kind of milestone.   For one thing, I am way past middle age.  Unless I expect to live to be 130 years old. Which I don't.   I guess I qualify for more discounts.  I am eligible for Medicare- I will sign up soon.

Gluten free cake brought to me by my sister

I kept up with my physical therapy while I was in Oregon which really was a good thing to do.  I am back at my PT here and even though it is hard, at least I am not starting from zero, which I would be if I had slacked off.

I am down one pant size.  I got myself a couple of new pairs of pants.  They are still a far cry from being "normal" as opposed to "W", the designation for big sizes- it means"women" not "wide" as some people might think.  And "women" means bigger that "misses", which I think if meant to mean average/ normal. 

It seems like it has rained every day since I returned.  Of course it actually hasn't.  But it has rained a lot.  And my knees don't like the weather when it rains.  They hurt.

I heard from all five kids for my birthday.  That was probably the best gift I could ask for. 

There are still some niggling things to do with the Reston house before Reston Association will sign off on the sale of said house.  We also have some things in the house that we need to move out.   I say "we".  I actually mean Nick and hopefully one of the kids.

Nick and I will be heading to Oregon again in July for Morgan and Kim's wedding.  In Courtney's back yard.     I'm looking forward to that.

Austin is heading back to Maine in June to study at the Maine Media school (I am sure I got the name wrong).    He learned so much during the couple of week course he took in April.  I am sure he will gain even more skills.  He is so very talented.

Time to let the dog out, bring the dog in, and go to bed.