It is early morning and I am sitting in the middle of a large sectional sofa with my feet propped up on a large ottoman that sits in front of it. I am behind closed doors in the Den of my daughters house and she is still sleeping. It is very quiet!
I feel unsettled in the aftermath of a bad dream where I was in search of home but could not seem to find it. In my dream, I did not know where my home was, and while I was feverishly in search of it, my panic seemed to grow. Where, oh where is my home?
I woke up and rolled onto my back in the dark room trying to reorient myself. I laid there and watched the fan spinning overhead with the chain below wobbling in the breeze. Somehow, its hum was comforting. Oh yes…now I remember, I am at our daughters home for an extended stay and MY home of 25 years is being watched over by my husband. He was just here for a few days and left for home yesterday.
I try to shake off the emotions from the dream so I get up, pad off to the kitchen and make a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee. Mmmmm! Now THIS is the beginning of my usual daily routine and I begin to settle into reality. Its been three weeks I have been here and I have three weeks to go. I have never been away from my husband AND home simultaneously for this long before and there are times when I feel as if I am in a free fall. Our daughter had a health scare which required I be here as her driver for a while and I am half way through the six weeks needed.
Our daughter has been very gracious to me and I am grateful. She even dotes on me from time to time, sliding unto the sofa next to me and slipping her arm through mine as she speaks loving thoughts about our relationship. Those times are savored and I tuck them away in my memory bank to take out on another day when my spirit is sagging for one reason or another. There are other days where something I say makes her bristle but she is careful to not retort back. Goodness! Two women in one house for an extended period of time is obviously a lesson on give and take, but, overall, we are doing very well and the lessons on boundaries and space are invaluable.
Growing old is not for the faint of heart. I feel proud of the independent and strong spirits of our children. None of them are dependent on us in any way, so I guess you could say we did well on our parenting report card. The other side of it is, they are in their prime of life working, some raising families, all chasing that American dream which means they are very busy. Though I know I am loved and welcome here, I also know I do not belong here in a permanent sense. There is nothing I would not do for my children, but I am learning to ask first.
As we continue to add years to our life we look around at all the things we once thought we just had to have. Oh, what joy we felt as we brought our new little trinkets home. I remember when we purchased our first brand new sofa and matching chair. I was so excited about the purchase, I would first sit in the chair to look at the sofa and then sit on the sofa to look at the chair. I was so thrilled! Those years were the building years. We were building a life together and furnishing our newly purchased nest. To think I actually thought this sofa beautiful! It speaks loudly to the influence of good marketing snd inexpensive goods.
So now what? There has been a lot written about simplifying ones life and the articles make it sound liberating and freeing to the soul. Sounds good, and after all, a shroud does not have pockets, as they say. I have no trouble discarding things, but I do have a hard time discarding the memories these things bring about. As my daughter and I were bringing things from her house to the thrift store, I was her champion! “Good girl! YOU GO girl! I am so proud of you daughter dear!“.
That is, UNTIL she put what was once MY beautiful crystal wine glasses in a box to ship off. They are a very delicate shade of pink etched crystal bought to compliment the pure white china upon which a single delicate pink rose graced the side of the plate. The water goblets, too, were selected with such care and precision almost 50 years ago. They represent to me our beginnings…the beginning of our marriage and our life together. It was ok to see Grandmas stuff go out the door, for she is in heaven walking golden paths that pass by crystal cathedrals, but I am still here! I quickly grabbed the crystal and said I would bring them home. So, we put them in a box and sent them back with my husband. Foolish….just FOOLISH thinking on my part, because honestly, will I ever use them again? Doubtful! Our children are informal people. It is a whole new world out there and what they see as old-world stuff doesn’t fit into this lifestyle, and don’t even think of leaving them anything that needs to be polished regularly!
I am ready to let go…I am ready to let go….I am ready to let go!
Easier said than done. I KNOW this is a lesson in life made just for me! I felt such joy building our life together and feathering our nest. Each item was selected with the idea of creating my own personal Norman Rockwell painting. Surely those people on the cover of Saturday Evening Post are US, are they not? They’re NOT? What? That was all just fiction in the imagination of the painter? Just an imaginary family picture on a magazine cover? Well, now. That’s a jolt!
I think that many women growing up in my generation saw too many idealized movies and t.v. shows depicting this type of a lifestyle and we sought to emulate it, because it appealed to us. We also witnessed our grandmothers setting a nice table with an ironed tablecloth and lovely dishes for the holidays. I remember those long ago commercials with high heeled housewives vacuuming the new carpet in their house. They wore pretty ruffled aprons, and looked ready for a date when the kids came home from school. Well, I certainly never wore high heels around the house to do my cleaning, nor did I ever wear an apron, and don’t even ask the kids what I must have looked like, but I sure loved setting a beautiful table for special occasions. I thought I was teaching our children about the “finer” things in life, yet these days very few of our children’s generation want any of that type of dinnerware, nor those type of complicated dinners that created heaping piles of dishes. Those days are gone.
I imagine God smiling indulgently as we finally grasp the amount of money and time spent on things that just simply do not matter. Our kids have their own way of doing things and it is different from us. I guess I will just cut a larger swath through my home and cabinets and closets when I get back to my nest and send more out the door. It rocks my boat to say goodbye to the representation of a life well lived, but one has to step out of the past and join loved ones in the here and now.
I am trying to remember the name of a movie where in a scene towards the end, an older Jessica Tandy was sitting on her suitcase in the middle of a small town intersection. She was looking for her house and I remember how that scene stole my heart as she realized the house was gone or maybe boarded up. Jessica Tandy was one of my all time favorite actresses and oh how I loved her scratchy emotion filled voice. I wonder if it was “Driving Miss Daisy”? Or, was it “Fried Green Tomatoes”? Both movies were excellent, and more so because she starred in both. I just found it..It was ”Fried Green Tomatoes” but will leave in both references if you are looking for a great older movie to watch.
Well, anyway, the movie was about a woman who was moving forward towards the end of her life, being faced with some difficult unavoidable changes to her living arrangements and she did it with grace. I am not that kind of old age yet, but God willing it is not all that much farther down the pike as they say. Time….it has a way of rolling up life’s carpet behind us as we walk our journey. There is no going back and so one may as well embrace the change as we move forward. I will try my best, but I suspect that my embrace will have white knuckled clenched fists as I work through it. Lol! Relax, M’am, relax!
For what it is worth….I love my daughter for so many reasons and in so many ways. If the world had more people like her in it, there would be NO wars! ❤️