Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

When walls talk, the heart listens

I never thought moving would be so hard. Not the actual moving part, though the packing and hauling is a bit daunting, it’s the mental separation from here to there I’m finding difficult.

My husband and I have lived in this house for twelve years. That’s not a long time considering that my husband was born and raised in the house we moved from to come here. Because I knew this house would not be our ‘forever home’, too big but perfect for our family’s needs at the time, I held off loving the house and stepped back from connecting. I considered it simply a means by which to house and eventually send our family on their way. But a lot has happened here. Like they say about talking walls: if these walls spoke it would be of life passages as casual conversation, of love and heartbreak as music.

One high school graduation, two college graduations as well as two graduate school celebrations, engagement parties, two wedding showers and weddings. And, add to that two baby showers and family gatherings to honor the births of those two little girls who have graced our lives in a way I never even imagined.

On one excruciatingly sad day in January an after-funeral celebration of my mother-in-law’s life was held here. She was a woman who proved that angels do indeed walk this earth. That we had a place big enough to gather all who honored her was a privilege.

Because we had the largest house, holidays were often celebrated here by the entire family along with a myriad of friends. These memories, these pictures pressed into the intangible plaster of this home will always be here, until those of us who experienced this special place are gone.

In the past 12 years I have cleaned and packed up three homes of family members who have passed away. The whole sorting and packing process is very similar to what I am doing now with my own things. I remember going through my mother’s life-leftovers. My late father’s sweater hanging on a hook and his slippers perfectly aligned nearby on the floor by the back door were easy to understand, but old greeting cards and pieces of broken jewelry I never saw her wear, why save them?

Because I am hoping this will be our last move, I realize that my daughters will be the next people who will go through my stuff. The seemingly unimportant is wrapped in tissue and stored away in labeled Staples’ cardboard file boxes because, like the cards and broken jewelry, they evoke memories that are too precious to give away or throw away. I may never unpack some of those boxes, and that’s okay, because I know they are there to remind me of the time before now, became then.

Our closing is in about a month but because the physical aspect of moving is, for us mature types, a big deal, I started the process early. Living with only our day to day kitchen essentials has enlightened me to the idea that we have too much stuff. My husband’s task, as a cabinet maker and independent contractor, has him going through this process in his workshop. The monumental undertaking of that project far outweighs what I am doing
So, as I attend to what is required, the memories of this house flood my heart and mind each time I pick up and pack. This is a beautiful home which is getting a young family to paint its walls with new conversations. Our new house is a smaller version of what we have here, and though I will miss this house terribly, I am ecstatic to make new memories in a place, though vacant and silent for some time, speaks to me as my “forever home.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

Granny gets another chance with the grandkids

Two and half years ago a grandchild came into our lives and enriched our existence like nothing else. Not even having our own children filled our heart-pockets the way that little baby did. Now another little girl has been born into our family. I wondered, could my heart swell and my arms spread any wider for another little life changer. Without a doubt, certainly and of course.
Holding a newborn is like holding the fragility of the future in your arms. You have to be cautious, yet sure, tentative and confident.

Babies are dependent on us as parents, grandparents and as the villagers upon which life’s safe sailing is assured. Our own future depends on them. Loving, nurturing and providing safe and enriching lives for them is what gives us our end of passage through life meaning. Born of compassion and care, the likes of which we showered on them, showers us.

Within hours of her birth I held all 7lbs. 14ozs. of new life in my arms and wondered if she’ll live to a hundred. What will she experience, what will she see in a future I can’t even imagine. What will she become, how mindful will she be of this precious world we live in. That I live long enough for her to remember how much she is loved by me, and how I so looked forward to her being a part of our lives, tugs at my heart.

The profundity of loving a grandchild is, I think, based on the lack of time we get to share with them. Time to learn their hopes and dreams and time to help steer their life’s voyage towards fulfilling ports and prophecies is fleeting.

I was a lucky baby, my grandparents were a part of my life until my own children were born. The wisdom and influence of those old folks, who were younger than I am now, was tremendous. At home, I was the much-loved daughter of two people struggling just like everybody else to survive and thrive. At my grandparents, I was simply adored.

At home I was on a diet, at Nana’s the candy jar was on the coffee table and always full. Funny how knowing I could reach in and take candy anytime I wanted, meant I seldom did. At home, we had structure, had to be with two parents working in a time when mothers often stayed home. At Nana’s structure was based on five words: “Be a kid, have fun.” At home, yelling; at Nana’s, discussion. At home questions; at Nana’s feelings.

I was never punished by my grandparents, never yelled at by them. My behavior was based on the credo that I could be me, and consequences were drawn on the belief that if I misbehaved it was because I was simply a kid, unless I did something really wrong, which I never did. At their houses I could be who I was, not what my parents thought was best for me to be. Everyone in our immediate family, and in our village of extended family, friends and community set the right boundaries and offered unending opportunity. From Donna Reed to Gloria Steinem, was a great and exciting time for a young girl to grow up.

In the very scary world of today I am hoping and praying this new little girl will be able to sail through life with the wind of all of us at her back, pushing just enough for her journey to be fun, exciting and filled with the kind of enrichments which grow a good person. Our new little bundle of joy, and her toddler cousin, sustain the continued hope that this time, again, we got it right.
Welcome Penelope May Dubreuil. My Sweet P. The world awaits you.