The sky is blushing like dry rosè tonight. I am packing up a family vacation feeling the usual mix of relief and regret, fatigue and rejuvenation. August had been action packed: my Connecticut childhood home was sold and emptied, the eldest’s wedding has taken form, winter travel has been hashed out. What we are not doing is prodding a child along to get ready for school and writing a tuition check — not one remains on an academic schedule this fall, 2016. The first time since 1990.
At first, a boulder of grief lodged under my clavicle when August began: things were not what they had been, or should be, or would be again. In Connecticut I leaned against a tree that shaded me when I read my first Nancy Drew. I photographed the weathered boards of my first pony barn to remember the texture of the two-hundred year old cedar. I ran my hand along the settled, lichen-grey stone wall I watched built, stone by stone, when I was six. I visited my small foot, imprinted in cement, 1964.
Who would remember the stories?
Ahead, there are no lacrosse schedules, student art shows, parents weekends.
Everyone now works the day after Thanksgiving.
The boulder grew unbearable as I followed the moving van out the driveway. Swallowing was impossible. Nothing would ever be the same. I steered the car north and didn’t know who to call.
But here’s this:
The words of 86 year-old Triathlon athlete and nun, Sister Madonna Buder.
“You carry your attitude with you…you either achieve or you self-destruct. If you think positively, you can even turn a negative into a positive.”
I have to reconstruct as time and life changes me. Positively and with purpose. Otherwise I would never realize the potential of the next day, of myself and the potential of my family and friends. And that, I believe, would be a waste.
As I put away the beach towels, the old flip flops, the worn picnic blanket I think to myself September will be my month — my own reconstruction time, sharpened pencils, another quiet birthday, a wonderful engagement party is on the calendar, there will be travel and visits with good friends. Soon, I begin a new workshop in Seattle that pushes me to the next step.
A new type of promise this fall.
I sip my sunset-colored wine and watch the sky begin to deepen. I think of all the new opportunities. A fireball of excitement warms me from head to toe. The boulder dissolves.