Places

Places

Some places in this world exist to remind us of ourselves. Childhood homes. Schools and playgrounds. Grandma’s kitchen. Wherever your children breathe the soft air of sleep.

These places seep into our souls, wrap up us in blankets of memory and love. The warmth which washes over us feels heavy and thick, but not smothering. Comforting. Real. Physical. Spiritual. Other-worldly and something completely of this world all at the same time.

I no longer can slip through the front door of my grandmother’s home, scoot up her steps, and sit down at a table filled with all my favorite foods. Another family lives within those sacred walls. They’re busy making the memories of a y0ung family; the walls echoing with their laughter and tears, soaking up their dreams and wishes from blown out candles on cakes.

When I drive onto The Farm, I cannot look in the direction of the home I built Lego houses and dreams in, learned family lore, dreamed of places bigger and better than that house I so dearly miss. The things we cannot see in our young, headstrong days; we miss what we’re missing even when it’s in front of our face.

I still have places, of course. The Farm itself, as I speed up the long driveway, I feel the freedom of being 16 and learning to drive with the windows down—full speed ahead with no fear, no question. The house which I now call home with my husband and two sons. Never before have I felt so safe inside a physical structure, though I know it has less to do with the house and everything to do with the family unit we created. Together.

And here in this damp, quiet Ohio valley, I find remnants of a girl with big dreams, a bigger faith, and a naïveté that endears her to me even today. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just knew I felt safe, felt a part of something, felt purpose.

I like remembering that young girl once a year. I like seeing it in the joy in my sons’ eyes. I like sitting on a porch with coffee cup in hand, listening to the birds and the voices of others from inside their little cottages all lined up in rows.

Peace manages to still live here, amidst some of the hate that slips through the cracks of even the most hallowed of places. Once per year, I like to remember that peace exists; I like to remember what it felt like to believe that we were all equal. With all the hate crushing so many lives and souls in daily life, I wish this same feeling of peace could settle into the hearts of all. And that young, naive young girl who still haunts these brick streets still believes that’s possiblie.

Maybe it is.

The Speed of Summer

The Speed of Summer

Nothing like a summer cold to slow you right down, to plop you back into bed allowing you to watch the clouds float by the window above your bed.

Because summer moves much too quickly.

Whether you’re vacationing or your kids travel somewhere without you; whether you’re playing baseball or watching endless baseball games; whether you’re swimming in a pool or an ocean or a lake or your own sweat; whether you’re trying to run outdoors in the heat or indoors on the treadmill or maybe not at all; whether you let the kids stay up late to chase lightning bugs and make S’mores or send them to bed early because omg, sometimes you just need a little peace; whether you’re grilling steaks or grazing on veggie plates or eating sandwiches or going out to dinner; whether you ever catch up on the laundry—or not; whether you make time to see your friends or the busy nature of summer schedules steals them away until fall; whether you have time off or spend your days in an air conditioned cubicle or office; whether you take time to smell the flowers or they given you allergies; whether you’re chasing Pokemon or complaining about others having fun; whether it’s your favorite season or your least, summer speeds right on by.

Right. On. By.

I’m reminded of my late grandmother’s warning about how time only moves faster and faster.

When you’re a teenager, that doesn’t seem to make any sense. Time is a set standard, based on the Earth’s rotation, right? How could it move faster?

And while I run the risk of sounding sappy, I must agree her advice rings true. Maybe not on the hardest days of parenting. Oh, those days seem to drag on for years. Trying to raise two sons to act with respect and compassion feels like an endless dance on hot coals with society throwing flaming hot daggers to make it all the more interesting; difficult.

But the boys came home from traveling with my parents at least an inch taller each. Once, when I talked to our older son on the phone, he carried on a legitimate conversation that included phrases like, “Well, that’s very interesting.” I’m sorry. What? Who are you?

Time keeps spinning out of my control. I can’t seem to stay on top of my cleaning schedule, my day job, my night-job, my kids’ social schedule, my social schedule, date night, the gray in my hair, the hair on my legs, bodily hair in general (omg, my eyebrows), the news, politics, the latest technology my kids find interesting, the latest warnings about the technology my kids find interesting, the garden, the flowers, the dog’s brushing schedule, when did the dog last get a bath?, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, why do we require food sustenance every single day?, multiple times per day?, we’ve only been to the pool three times, overdue library books, and hey, sometimes I like to write because it makes me feel good, like I’ve accomplished something when everything else seems mostly half-assed.

And so I sit in my rocking chair, blowing my nose and coughing up gunk, watching the clouds float by the other bedroom window. I sit and breathe ohsoslow so as not to start off a coughing jag. I drink my water. The boys run in, as fast as the summer speeds by, to check on me. I rock and remember a time when I felt so overwhelmed by the length of the days, those early newborn days spent in a haze of half-awake, half-asleep, mostly lost.

There’s too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Yes, being sick on top of it all feels like some kind of punishment for enjoying summer so far. But despite a lengthy to-do list and a growing pile of tissues, I kind of feel like this summer is maybe, almost, perhaps just the right speed. For this year. For us.