A Dance In The Hurricane

The other day I was cleaning out our closet.  It was time to do some much needed purging.   I decided to gut out everything and go from there.  I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away.  I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me.  They were sweet and sympathetic.  My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close.  Some I kept and others I didn’t.  So much for the big purge.    In among the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family.  Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood.  She and her husband were friends with my parents.  We used to visit them at their house after they moved away into a new house.  She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham.  She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself.  She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect.  I think she was disappointed neither had my mother.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected.  It was just life.

Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives.  It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday we forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.

letter

Those days get lost in band practices, packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts.  People get older, move to other streets or to other towns.  They work, they make new friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past.  The present is different.  Its fluid and changes with the seasons and the ever-speeding passage of time.  We don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there.  We don’t notice our hair changing colour until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING HERE MORE OFTEN?!  )  we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks outside the house,  how the maple tree has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and we take a look around us with open eyes.  And older eyes.  How did this happen?  When did we get HERE?

I understand her disappointment and dismay.  It seems like a sudden about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t like that.  It was a lifetime of being, of living of surviving.  The disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that can be prevented if we take the time.  Aye there’s the rub.  TIME.  We never have enough. It flies away so fleetingly.  If only we had more time to connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its transformation.  It’s a difficult dance.  Maybe we don’t want to watch because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane.   Maybe we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore.  We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present, just let me have one more day!

Connections are our lifelines.  We crave them, seek them out and some hold dear for a lifetime.  Our intentions are for connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then are suddenly lost in the gale force wind.  It’s not wrong.  It’s life.

I’m thinking after all of this time, to send her a letter of reply.  To let her know I did receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it.  That I remember everything she said was true.

Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.

Moving Forward Reluctantly

I was debating how to start this one, as it’s fraught with euphemisms and ‘life is like a box of chocolate’ kind of sayings.  It’s challenging and scary and moving forward is always hard.  Children become adults without even blinking and suddenly university is over and moving out is on the horizon.  And not just moving across town.  Moving across the country.  Moving to another province, another time zone, another way of life.  Ugh.  When did I give birth to adults?  This is a lot harder than they told me.  I don’t remember anybody saying that moving on would be harder on the parents than the adult-seeming children from whom I wiped snot from their runny noses and caught their vomit in buckets and chauffeured them to dance classes and guitar lessons and Tae Kwon Do sessions and even the occasional hockey-from-hell practices.  Christmas presents are no longer dolls or toys or games, but dishes for their new apartments, or new bedding for the new beds or gas cards to get them across the province.  We don’t eat supper together every night because one is running to work then class, another is running from class to work and the third one is preparing his four thousand word essay on the bombing of Hiroshima and can I possibly let him eat in his room tonight?  Gawd, where did these people come from?

The daughters will be finishing up university in the Spring which has brought discussions of Chapter 3 into the round table.  Everybody wants to be supportive, but with applications flying from one end of the country to the other, my nerves are starting to fray.   I’ve got one with ambitions of working in Intelligence and one nursing in a warmer climate.  I’ve got the other one applying for unis in Ontario and BC and then saying ‘well, you know I have to think about Medical school down the road.’  MEDICAL SCHOOL???!!!  WHO ARE YOU?!  WHERE’S MY LITTLE BOY WHO SPILLED CHEERIOS ON THE FLOOR AND REFUSED TO SPEAK UNTIL HE WAS THREE AND SANG ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ SONGS TO HIS GRADE ONE TEACHER?!!  * As a side, they weren’t really ‘inappropriate’, but when your kid goes to school singing “Save a horse, ride a cowboy” you get a call….

I had a long discussion with co-worker who has been through this with his son and he was very good at allaying my fears.  “She’ll be fine.  She’ll land on her feet.  It will work out.”    Okay, I’ll nod and trust you are right.

In the meantime, I’ll be around the house looking at old photos and lamenting the times the children were children and asking for friends to come over to play barbies and making snow forts in the backyard and NOT looking to get as far away from me as possible…

baby-kyle

Family Time and Dog Farts

It’s not very often that we can gather together as a family, these days. With daughters working and going to Uni full time, and son also in his first year of high school and slightly employed (I say ‘slightly’ as he has secured a gig as a referee for some minor hockey games, but only on the weekends), our busy lives have prevented us from being in the same room for longer than fifteen minutes at a time. So when the opportunity presented itself for us to take a road trip to Nanny’s house Christmas day (a 4 1/2 hour long road trip), we surprisingly jumped at it. Turns out, the spontaneous let’s squish in the truck with an anxiety prone dog who should be taking Prozac and anti-farting medication was one of the better times we’ve had.
Why?
A short trip that entailed little in way of responsibility for any parties involved and virtually no expectations except that Nanny would be home and happy to see us. Yay for the latter, as Nanny happened to be out and we were waiting patiently for her return…but when she did show up, she was happy to see us. And we were happy to be out of the truck and away from the smell…ugh.

Our drive home on the open road...

Our drive home on the open road…

What?!  I didn't fart...that was the boy...I blame him.

What?! I didn’t fart…that was the boy…I blame him.

As fast as that road trip was (up and back home the next day) the time in the truck produced laughs, cuddles for us in the back seat, one spilled hot chocolate, a wandering dog who enjoyed licking everyone’s faces and some serious book time. Except for the dog’s flatulence and the tragedy of a hot chocolate downed on a Christmas shirt, it was quite a great ride home. One I think we needed in order to get that ‘family’ togetherness we have been lacking.
Since our spontaneous arrival at Nanny’s meant no Christmas turkey (Nanny had been invited out for turkey that afternoon), we postponed our dinner for a couple of days and invited Bestie and her fam. for the event. That meant, nine for dinner. Besides a runny bread pudding and less-than-baked cheesecake, the turkey was great and everybody around the table for dinner was amazing…
A nice way to spend Christmas.
New Year’s Eve prompted the annual Resolution Reformation and I cannot remember what I declared in Miss H’s binder of, what I am confident to be, intelligent and non-inebriated declarations of determined goals for the year ahead. However, after giving it some thought and a couple of prompts from Miss H herself in the forms of prolific quote and thoughtful email, I have decided to enjoy more.
That’s it really…smile more, laugh more and enjoy more. Fairly simple, really. I want to be able to enjoy the moments around me, the people who pass in and out of my life and the little stuff that we take for granted. For example, the quiet snowfall last night…I went out in my pj’s and took a few snaps, stood in the falling snow with my face to the sky and stuck out my tongue. I caught a few snowflakes and admittedly, a few questioning glances from neighbours, but I enjoyed the shit out of it. I got to linger in the peacefulness of a quiet night, the black sky darted with fat snowflakes falling gently onto my face and I thought “this is a wonderful night”.

Our snowy night...

Our snowy night…

That, my friends, is an awesome start to a new year in my books….how was yours?