Here we are in the first week of school already. How did that happen? Where did summer go? When I decided to take a little holiday from blogging I did not expect the break to be so long. So, since school is in, it’s appropriate to write an assignment on what did on my summer vacation?
A trip “home” to see my brothers and their families shaped summer for me. I have not travelled since before COVID and I haven’t seen my family for at least five years. As my generation is ageing, I knew it was time for an in-person visit. The travelling part of our trip did not go well. Planes were late. Our rental car was a wreck. Medications were lost along the way. We arrived at an unknown house in the middle of the night and the house number was invisible. By that time we were so tired we opened the unlocked door and climbed into the empty bed we could see from the hall. We hoped we were in the right house, but if we weren’t we had a “Goldilocks” story to tell in the morning.
After that, things got better. I saw all of my brothers and many of my nieces, nephews and “greats” — two of whom I had never met. Then there was the thirteen year old I’d last seen as a toddler. What a surprise. Intellectually, I know the children have been growing older. I send them notes on every birthday and have their years of birth recorded so I can keep track. But memory plays tricks. Even though the calendar says ten-year-old, my mental image is of a little one taking her first steps.
At the other end of the scale are my siblings. I’m taken aback when I see the aches and pains of old age in my younger siblings. Even though they have changed, I’m certain I’m the same as ever — until I look in the mirror that is. Then I’m convinced it is one of those trick mirrors from the circus and the image I see is not really what I look like. Delusion, denial and disbelief!
Despite the outward changes, our affection for each other remains undiminished. Our family jokes still resonate. I see my father in my brothers’ faces and they see Mom in mine. It is reassuring to know that our essential selves are still there. Since I’m working on a story with an older heroine, I’ve made notes of my family reunion and called it research.
The rest of my summer was spent gardening, harvesting, and preserving. I made stuff to take to the Fall Fair. I won some ribbons and got shut out in zinnias. I hear the phrase “next year . . .” echoing in my mind and wonder when I’ll get too old for all this. OTOH, so long as I keep gardening, I’ll always look forward with hope. That’s not a bad ambition.