Friday, June 22, 2012

The Quiet This Morning


I always feel a little melancholy come summer. My kids are off somewhere immersed in warm weather experiences, and I frankly miss them. I'm finally getting used to it. This summer, my soul didn't fight the shape of things quite as fiercely as in past years. A year ago at this time, our family was in possibly the worst turmoil we had ever experienced, and I was the one who provoked it, I was the one who roused the sleeping dogs, put the dire spin on a passing mood, and now I think that I didn't know what I was feeling, I was hollowed out by what was happening with my mom, and my children leaving, and I was looking for an external reality that might offer a reason for how bereft I felt. And so I created one.

A year later, we are okay. Our son has been home several times, and will be here again this weekend. My heart expands every time he walks through that door, and when I see him and his dad engaged in their usual goofy interaction. And this summer, when it came time to drive our girl to camp, my husband was determinedly relaxed about the time we would leave, and I was the one birddogging everything to make sure we left early enough to allow him to drive there and back during his preferred window of time. It was not lost on me that we had exchanged where we stood, each one remembering the lesson of the previous year and wanting to accommodate the other. We didn't make a big deal of it, or even act like we noticed. But I did notice. And I was moved by the love implied.

On the wall in the photo above: Pencil marks noting the height of my children, and of various nieces, nephews and friends, and the dates on which they were measured. We'll never paint over that wall. There are more than a decade of stories in those pencilled marks, children we love who would say before leaving our home, Wait, you have to measure me. How much have I grown?

How much have I grown? A lot, it turns out. While my house feels very quiet this morning, and everything is neat and in its place, a sure sign that our kids are not in residence, I am managing. I am not wallowing at the bottom of a pit, sucking the air. I am putting one foot in front of the other and giving thanks for the shape of things. This is where I am today.


9 comments:

  1. Our three children flew the nest many years ago, so those feelings have lapsed. Now it's when they leave after having visited (with grandchildren) that is the hardest part. Angella, I adore my children, just like you; so I know exactly how you feel. That's how it should be; and I pity anyone who doesn't experience the same 'grief'.

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  2. Oh Angella. This is good. Very good. And that wall. We have a wall like that on Dog Island where everyone who visits has been measured and marked. Even the dogs! Every line a story.
    Isn't it funny how our stories keep being written and rewritten and the chapters go on and sometimes we can make sense of them only in the looking back even as new ones are being written?

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  3. We had a wall like that in the house in Idlewild that we lived in for 20 years. I've lived in a lot of houses and that is the only one I miss, the lake the garden, the woods and the living that happened there. However, all but 1 of my 6 children and all but 1 of my 7 grandchildren live in this city so that's where we are.

    I'm so glad things are better for you and your family this summer!!!!!

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  4. This photo is so evocative -- and then your words. What beautiful ruminations -- I at once dread these years that you describe and am comforted by your own evolving through them --

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  5. That photo is too sad. That said, I wish I would have taken it.
    Your Friend, m.

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  6. I'm glad you're where you are today. I'm glad you're here, sharing these beautiful words with us. Thank you.

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  7. That image is so poignant. Beautiful.

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  8. The light in the photo is lovely and sad at the same time. Love to you, my brave friend.

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  9. Love this post. Very peaceful, very calming. Glad you are feeling this way. Hugs. This summer is going to be great!

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