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.