anxiety, friendship, life lessons, love

Coming Full Circle, Sort Of..

My sister and brother-in-law are in the midst of moving into their recently renovated house.  It’s been the longest labor and delivery – literally and figuratively.  And now that they have their little parcel of joy (so to speak), I hope they love and enjoy it and make it their own.  Needless to say I can’t wait to see the new addition to the family (I know that was a groaner, but I couldn’t resist).

There is a gentle irony in her move to this house.  Although we didn’t grow up there, it’s proximate to where my parents lived (they bought their house when my sister and I were already in college.  I used to say that had we moved to the suburbs before I finished high school, my graduation gift would have been way better than a Panasonic stereo).  It is where I remember them at their happiest.  And it became home – because it was where they were,  where my children crawled and toddled and ran – where so many memories were made.    My sons always reference this house when remembering their grandparents – the backyard with apple trees as bases and dad throwing pitch after pitch after pitch, looking for shells down at the dock, creating innumerable ways to take indoor soccer to new levels of hilarity.  It’s where Andy and I got married.

I can’t wait to visit my sister and yet, when I think about driving up 95 and getting on the Hutch, my eyes cloud with tears and there are no words.  No words.  Perhaps because my heart is too full.  There are some things that time doesn’t temper.  There are some moments that may  change in hue or shading, but remain the same in form and substance.

This sentimentality is heightened by another serendipitous experience.  My parents had a circle of friends (all European but for our dad)  that was arguably too close, too intimate, too ‘Mad Men’.  They were known as “The Group” – they had their children within months of each other,  summered together in the Catskills, wintered together at each other’s houses.  As their offspring, we identified with each other in so many unspoken ways.  All first generation Americans (again, dad being the exception), all growing up with a European perspective of child-rearing, all connected by an emotional cord tied by our parents.  Until it unraveled when we were young adults.

You know where this is going – Deb and three of these women have picked up that cord once more.  They had dinner together recently, and she described it as warm and loving.  They will see each other again; I’m hoping to join them.  And slowly I feel the ground shift, the angles inherent to any journey smoothing and perhaps unresolved elements coming full circle.  I find myself gravitating to these memories and holding myself back, venturing forward with some reluctance.  I need to protect the little girl who is in my care; she still has hurt along with the delight.  She’s never been very good at self-protection.

So I sit here in the silence that arrives with snowfall, recognizing the wonder in the nexus of these moments, their undeniable connection to the past and their inextricable relevance to the present.  As to the future?  It’s not mine to predict – I just know that it makes me smile, albeit with one tear.




30 thoughts on “Coming Full Circle, Sort Of..”

  1. I know you’ll hold her hand and walk her gently through the door that was her future and is now your past. It’s not easy, but we guardians of our little selves know when it’s the right time to take those steps. I hope the hope of a fellow protector, that visit will shed you both of the last tears of the unknown and leave you with the full hearts and beautiful smiles that come with the best loved memories..xoxo

    1. So happy to hear from you WW!! I can handle the tears for they’re bittersweet and hold much happiness along with everything else. Some moments, it’s just the ‘everything else’ that kinda grabs you by the heart..xoxo

  2. Sweet, sweet friend, I wish that I had something profound to say, but in lieu of that, I will simply say that you are loved. There’s an African proverb that says, “When the music changes, so does the dance.” You’ll figure out the new steps, I’m certain of it…. xoxox, l

    1. Well, I love music and I love to dance – so I know it will make sense to me..It’s all good honey – really. Sometimes you just have to go with it…love you, m

  3. While the little girl with all her uncertainties does indeed reside within you, you are able to recognize her, protect her, understand her and love her because you wouldn’t be you without her help. Your life experiences add the strength and wisdom you couldn’t possibly have had the first time around. And, then there’s loss; making the memories of time and place so very bittersweet. We all have our pasts so deeply imbedded in us – especially when we know love. And while love may not look the same in our relationships with our spouses and children as it did with our parents, we knew we were loved. Reconnecting will strengthen you. You will share laughter over the retell of stories you will all remember differently and you will basque in the love for these women and stand in awe of connections that had no choice but to bring you full circle. My parents, too, had a group. We are all over the United States today. One of us is even living in Amsterdam. Any time we are together, by choice or by tragedy, the overwhelming feeling of love for each other and because of our parents lifetime connection to each other unites us in a way that envelops us in warmth; lets us go back to “those days” and as we look at the adults we’ve become, we still see the child within. It provides peace and comfort (and stops the aging process for a while, too). At a funeral several years ago – a full circle, for sure – I was walking to the grave with a friend from my childhood, my parents best friends daughter. Here I was in my 50’s and as we walked to the grave of another friend’s father, suddenly my hand was in Jan’s and I was 3 years old again; surrounded by memories, yes, some bittersweet, yes. But at the end of the day all was still right with the world. Love you my friend. Wishing you rainbows and lollipops, blue skies and bright sunshine as your past and your present come together enveloped in love.

    1. Wow, Jo, I know Mimi says it frequently, but I’m gonna say it again, you write beautifully! What a lovely, lovely passage. I can easily see why you and Mimi are dear friends…. Lori

      1. I keep suggesting she write Lori – I hope she will listen to you …Btw Jo – Lori is a writer by skill, profession and creativity. Ergo, heed her words – she knoweth of what she writeth!! xoxo

    2. Thank you Jo..whenever I see these women again it will be ‘beshert’. The sun is shining, and there was far less sorrow in this post than it clearly suggests. Bittersweet? You betcha, and in my head far more you, me

      1. I do love you thats how I know it’s going to be better than ok. Enjoy the journey and this chapter.

  4. “You are the result of the love of thousands.” WOW!

    Changing the subject back to what you wrote: You are an amazing writer. I hope some day that you will come to appreciate just how amazing, my friend.


  5. I read this at the front end of my day, and have had it with me all throughout the day, feeling the many layers present in this post; indicating the myriad layers that life and relationships clothe us in over the years. I love that you honor the little one within you, acknowledging her presence and what she needs as you re-establish connections that began in her heyday. You two will go forward hand in hand and will be embraced and loved, just as you so freely give to those who are lucky enough to enter your circle. Beautiful post that was a joy to ponder in my in between moments today… many xoxox’s to you my sweet friend.

    1. It is she who is meeting her old friends, so protect her I shall..And that’s really what it’s about – recognizing the love that is in one’s life now and making sure that the entire person feels and receives it (perhaps to try and compensate for whatever happens as we struggle with the confusing elements of childhood)..Thank BonBon – for returning the joy..xoxo

  6. I lost my grandmother, my father, two uncles, an aunt, great-aunt, two cousins; I graduated from university, got married, travelled, returned and moved interstate – all within a six year period. There were a lot of changes. Every time I went back home, I pined. I do not not why I pined. I do not know whether I was missing my Dad or my grandmother (and the extended family that went with her), my childhood, my childhood places, or just that I had not adjusted to the changes; but there was a definite ache there – even long after i had my children and was loving my new life in Tasmania. I think it probably took 10 years before the ache completely went away. Now when i return, it is just all happy memories.

    1. Wow Elizabeth, that’s an awful lot of loss to absorb and grieve. I can understand it taking a long time to return to a place of happy memories..

      1. Actually, writing all that down made me think…. as I moved away, all the people ‘lost’ were the same as people who were still alive, but because I moved away I did not see any of them. It was only when I returned home that I noticed them gone. So it probably was a grief process (rather than pining) happening slowly over time, each time I went home….

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