These Are The Days

My cousin’s daughter got married last night.  Gorgeous bride, handsome groom – they could be on the cover of any bridal magazine.  They glowed, as only newlyweds can glow – reflecting so much light that your eyes are magnetically drawn to them, as one looks to the stars on the clearest of nights.

Our family has shrunk remarkably – my cousins and I now represent the elders of this tribe.  How strange, as we compared ages and reminisced about how large those nominal differences in our ages once seemed.  We don’t speak of our parents, for none of us have them any longer.  Family events used to be full of grown ups – there were so many of them, and eight of us.  We don’t say anything because each of us is so acutely aware of the absences.  The counterpoint of love and loss is too exquisite.

We are wearing our seniority with limited gravitas.  Dancing with typical disinhibition, not giving a moment’s thought to any propriety associated with our status.  I killed it (and myself) in five-inch heels, caring little about the consequences (sounds like me in college actually).  Let’s not talk about my crooked shape today.  It was worth it.  We longed for the opportunity to forget that there were no parents watching us from the perimeter, nudging each other and marveling at our energy and rhythm.  My dad wasn’t there when the music moved into Motown; I longed to see my mom’s ‘dancing face’ (lips pursed seductively, eyes harmless yet flirtatiously looking directly at her partner).   I wore her bracelet because I knew she would want to be there.  The days of going from one table to another knowing that because you were one of the kids, you were met with the kind of familial adoration which may have little heft, yet envelops completely.  My aunt’s laugh – which would begin a chain reaction with her brothers both hiccupping and crying with delight.  Who knows what our children see when they watch us.  Fortunately they dance along.

Perhaps the bittersweet taste is more acute this time of year.  Tomorrow is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah – the beginning of a new year and the ten ‘Days of Awe’.  ‘On Rosh Hashanah it is written on Yom Kippur it is sealed’ – the fate of another year decided by the sincerity of one’s heart, the commitment to a life led with the best of intentions, the depth of one’s atonement for causing another person pain or sorrow.  I am not religious – and yet I believe deeply.  I attend services on the High Holy Days – am I trying to hedge my bets?  I don’t know.  But I remember leaning against my father’s shoulder and playing with the fringe of his prayer shawl, doing my best to behave so I could sit with the grown-ups when the kids’ service was over.  To sit with my two grown-ups.

And now that is me.  And I ask myself  if my words and my actions have been kind enough,  my generosity sufficiently reflective of that which is in my heart, beseeching  that my family be graced with a sweet, healthy year.  I take my role seriously in this regard – I’m not fist pumping to Marvin Gaye, not trying to prove to my body that it’s still too young to be anything other than spontaneous and flexible.  I am praying for continued life and that’s a pretty adult activity.  The responsibility of the senior members of the tribe to effect with concentrated sincerity and seriousness.  And the wind seems to sigh, knowing that this is the truest dance of all – one that we all move to regardless of our sense of rhythm.  To my friends and family, whom I love more deeply than any ocean and with width and breadth that spans farther than the sky – I wish you a year of joy and health, abundant laughter and sweetness – and love..always, love.

66 thoughts on “These Are The Days

  1. Our family had a wedding last year as well – it was then that I realized that I am the oldest of our tribe. I also wore my mother’s jewelry as I knew she would have cherished seeing her grandson marry his bride. It’s a strange transition – I’m still adjusting

  2. beautiful and bittersweet. blessings to the newly wedded couple and for you dearest friend, and your family, for a truly happy, healthy, year full of light and laughter.
    xoxo
    R

  3. Mimi–your stories are so beautiful, and your gift for writing is stunning. I read this one out loud to Dan this morning-the only word we can come up with to describe your writing is “eloquent”, but that is completely inadequate.

    Dan lost both of his parents but luckily I still have my mom; still, all the holidays are either at my house, my brother’s house or my cousin’s, and my sister-in-law is the one who organizes all family gatherings (thank g-d!) and has assumed the role of matriarch. At Hanukkah last year Dan sat at the “kid’s” table with my nephews, 19 and 21…

    Wishing you a sweet, happy, healthy new year, and may you be sealed

    • You too Jill – I wish you the same. Thank you (and Dan) for considering me talented at all. You with the silver-dipped pen (or keyboard!)..It’s great that your sister-in-law stepped up to the role of family gatherer..but greater still that your mom is still here.. much love, m

  4. I should have read this AFTER my run, for running and crying do not mix well. This is gorgeous, M. You took me back to days of being the child, enveloped as you said, in the safety of the adults all along the perimeter, and remind me of the importance of what it means to be the adult now that most of the ‘grown ups’ gone. That kind of dancing, at a family wedding, is like no other; my parents loved to dance also, they left my own wedding reception to go out and dance some more – you reminded me of that exquisite memory. Rest your dancing feet today my friend xoxo

    • Isn’t it amazing how quickly it all comes back in clear relief?? I’m sorry you read post-run honey..though may be your eyes wanted their own kind of exercise? 🙂 xoxo
      ps. my feet, my back, my hip…groan..but so worth it!!

      • It is indeed amazing, and perhaps yes, my eyes needed some watering 🙂 It fueled me though, as I ran, to imagine you dancing the night away in the midst of so much – joy, memories, new life, the ‘presence’ of those who may have left the party but are always with us. And remembering so many of the same kinds of moments and just the ‘everything’ of it all. You have such a gift in your writing, to paint the picture of it all and somehow still convey the fibers that make up the texture beneath.Everyone in your circle is lucky to count you as part of theirs…

        ps…I can hear them groaning, but I also hear them saying, ‘girl, you still got it!’

        xoxo

      • My dad would have danced too…I love that you ‘get it’ – the pain of a circle broken and yet marveling that it is still whole…I appreciate you thinking it’s my talent – I think it’s your sensibilities..;-) xox

      • I’m laughing as I picture the two of us saying “I get it” “You get it?” “I get it” “I get that you get it”..I am so happy we’re a lovely combo…xox

  5. wonderful posts mims and i learned stuff 🙂 thank you for this insight though i can only add loves you mims as i am falling asleep as i write 🙂 take care wonderful mims xx

  6. It’s ironic that between during these next 10 days I had planned to complete the paperwork and business plan for the nonprofit and set up the scholarship program in my friends memory. There are no coincidences in life are there? Beautiful post. Thank you.

    “But penitence, prayer and good deeds can annul the severity of the decree”

  7. “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”. Thich Nhat Hanh.

    My dearest Mimi, another stunningly beautiful post. Each line is filled with the joy of family, the sorrow of absence, the hope for the next generation. You are SUCH a special woman. I glory in the fact that you got your “boogie shoes” on last night (even if you are paying’ the piper a bit today) and I am so happy that you were able to mark this special occasion with your family.

    Your love and warmth buoys those who are lucky enough to be within your orbit (and I thank my angels every day that I am one). May you, too, be blessed in all ways. To the moon…. Xoxox, L

    • I hope I am able to do all that my wonderful friend…I wonder if there isn’t a little favoritism at play – but don’t get me wrong – I’ll take it!!! Somehow the nexus of the wedding with the beginning of the new year and all the poignancy associated with both just sort of blended together. And yet again, you bring me a quote that is a gift and I am stunned and surprised and grateful – xoxox, m

  8. Mimi after reading your post, I finally have a clean adult definition for kinky: the way a lady who is old enough to know better, but still young enough to dance the night away feels the next morning.
    😀

  9. I sometimes wonder how I will feel when we no longer have my parents around but hope that is not something I have to worry about for many years to come…………..that said I also know what it feels like to realise that you are the parent looking on and not the child dancing and drinking and trying to see how much you can get away with before the parents notice…………..

  10. Words fail me, Mimi. This is simply gorgeous – sincere, honest, vulnerable. I love it. Your Aunt’s laughter brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reminding me to call my parents. You amaze and inspire me.

    • 🙂 Thank you Jenni..that’s pretty much how I felt – vulnerable and out there and dressed up…You are too generous with your praise – but thank you thank you..

  11. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Your words gave me goosebumps and my face moved closer and closer to the screen the further on I read. You really have an amazing way with words. You really are a truly wonderful, kind, grounded soul.

    May you and your family have a year of great health, love, and happiness.

  12. The clarity of words, of thinking in this post is remarkable. I shared some of the very same thought as I sat through our new year dinner last night saying the blessings that my late father would have said until recently. He would have been amazingly proud that I knew them. At some point we earn our right to be a tribal elder and not only to carry on tradition but to make our own. Happy new year to you, Mimi.

  13. I love your title ‘waiting for the karma truck’, but you wouldn’t catch me WAITING!

    This is a beautiful piece, view into your family. Very soulful.

  14. Beautiful, Mimi! You have the unique ability to put into sensitive and expressive words what are jumbled feelings and thoughts running through my mind. Shanah tovah to you and your family. May we all be inscribed for a beautiful year.

    • Hi Vivian and L’shanah tovah to you and your family. It is a time of promise and hope, and also of sorrow. I feel the losses so profoundly during this time of year. And you’re right – it’s all sort of jumbled together, isn’t it? And from your mouth – may we all be blessed with a beautiful year. love, Mimi

  15. It is a feeling I am not clear how to handle. Becoming the elder in extended.means we are getting older and should be wiser. My mom is the last of her generation and I have two aged aunts on my dad’s side. Kathy is part of the new elder generation in her dad’s family. It has a surreal feeling to it, but I am sure, like everything else, we grow into it.

    Ivon

    • We grow into it whether we want to or not – it is the journey we’re on. But it is surreal and at certain times of the year, met with an undefined longing for the past..

  16. Interesting the juxtaposition of marriage and age. It all moves forward whether we pay attention or not.

    L’Shanah Tovah to you and your family – wishing you a sweet and healthy new year!

    – J.

  17. Beautiful Mimi. Thank you. A reminder to treasure every single moment we have with our loved ones because all too soon, they are gone and we are left to carry on the legacy. I am so fortunate to still have both my parents and every day thank God for that special gift.

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