We’ve been here for five days with my parents, in the seaside village where my mom played as a kid and I played as a kid and now May and August have spent days jumping through waves and rolling around the meadow and picking blackberries and eating crab. My parents just finished a complete rehab of the house they bought here 12 years ago, and it is gorgeous (see class post). Tomorrow, my parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary with a big ol’ party (60 people, and the house is big but not that big, so we hope for good weather so everyone can sprawl on the deck, lawn, and neighboring grassy lot).
Being here is always so evocative … jogging along the long, wide, sandy beach with the thousand sounds of waves blotting everything out, people walking along in the mist holding hands. Etc. The mortality! My now-gone grandparents who built the house down the hill with their own hands. My parents and their long-worked-for comfort. The sense that this will all be yours someday, daughter. My parents and their tech problems. My parents watching our little girls play. It’s so apparent that we’re all here so briefly.
It is utter privilege, these days, for a family to stay in one place so long. For me to be here caring for my daughters in more or less the spot where my grandparents took care of their daughters, and where they saw me play as a child and imagined that one day I’d be here doing this very thing. How lucky is that, to be in the same gorgeous spot where the people who came before us dreamed of us. On the other hand, no where on earth is it more obvious to me that we are only here for such a short time. That the space between baby and kindergartener and college grad and 40th anniversary and dead is almost none. Blink and someone else’s little girl is already growing up. Blink and you’re the one doddering in the corner, unable to hear and maybe not really caring what the thirtysomethings are saying any more.
May starts kindergarten on Wednesday, and, blinks of eyes aside, I’m really excited about it. She is so grown up, is going to learn so much, is going to love a lot about it. The brilliant Emmie had the foresight to snap a photo of May (and Emmie’s N’s) teacher at the open house we missed yesterday on account of being here, and emailed it to me, and May’s body relaxed when she saw it…an open, smart-looking face. “She looks like you,” May announced. (She’s prettier and probably younger, but all right, I’ll take it.)
Also via the brilliant Emmie: this poem from Rattle is so full of stunning line after line, it makes me despair about my own flabby writing and almost make me not want to write again, ever. Almost. Not for real, you understand.
Also, I understand that as the daughter and most responsible offspring of the couple of the day, I will be expected to give a toast tomorrow at this shindig, and I’m not sure what to say, although I’ve been scraping my brain about it all summer. My parents’ marriage is as big a mystery to me as anyone’s. They are both good people. They seem to just keep on sticking together. My mom does all the effing laundry. They fight, but then they usually end up laughing at each other. One of those things must be the key, don’t you think?