I let the tears flow, under the cover of darkness, while I lay on the girl's bed listening to them pray. Aaron's arms wrapped tight around me as we listened, as if he could feel the tears I wanted no one to see.
I let them flow for distances that may never be bridged, for the home I want, and the home I miss, and the weariness of the journey.
I'm from a giant family. My dad was the 2nd of 11 siblings, my mother the 2nd of 8.
And most of them still all live within a few hours drive of each other. Many, if not most, in the town where I grew up.
They all like each other, and get together for big celebrations, like the annual Canada Day weekend camp out at my grandparent's farm.
So when my aunt Carol, 3rd youngest of my dads' family and a fabulous photographer, posted all these photos from the annual gathering I had to spend the rest of the night wiping tears away.
|My grandmother, walking in the spot where we had our wedding photos taken.|
|These are my people. Well, some of them anyway.|
|The path to the spring.|
Grandpa has been keeping those paths clear to walk on as long as I can remember. He lobbied really hard to have his farm declared a nature preserve, and it is. I don't know if he's is still maintaining the trails, his eyes are failing, but someone is. I hope someone always will.
There is a rhythm to life there that I find myself constantly seeking elsewhere, and failing to reproduce.
Every major holiday was at that place, and then all the little excuses just to get together had us out there too. Grandma loved to have a full house.
I spent weeks there in the summer, helping grandma garden, shelling peas on the front step, hanging laundry out to dry. (I still think of her every single time I hang the laundry, which is almost daily.)
When my immediate family fell apart for a while grandma's house was still there, exactly the same. They were still there, exactly the same, all those people, aunts and uncles and cousins. To be loved by so many people is a remarkable thing, one I took for granted once.
Which isn't to give you the impression that they are perfect. Arguing about things is a favorite past time with them, and they have their opinions honed to a razor edge. But they care deeply, and love long and faithfully, reconcile when they disagree, and have the part about staying together and living life together sort of figured out.
I miss them.
Which is to explain how, even surrounded by my 4 children, with my wonderful husband's arms around me, and my fantastic in-laws, of whom there are many, just down the road, I can still feel the lack brought on by a series of photos shared on facebook.
When I let myself fantasize about what I want these days it takes the shape of a big country house, chickens, dogs, goats and space to run. It involves Aaron actually being home, more than he's away, and coming home before dinner every single night. In my fantasy I am no longer CFO of a growing organization, I'm just a mom, who has time to teach my children sewing, and sit on that back porch I want and play the guitar, an instrument I have not yet perfected the playing of. But in my fantasy I have a nice classical model, and I've taught myself to play it. I write, sure, and I am always on top of the home school schedule, but that is all.
You will all see right away what I finally realized. What I'm fantasizing about, truly, is going back to where I grew up, of living that simple life of work and rest and easy rhythm that provided my childhood with so much security, and so much joy.
My life is far from simple. No matter how hard I try to make it so. It turns out I'm not built well for change, and transition, and lack of permanence. I find it challenging. When I feel overwhelmed my heart retreats and grieves a little for what it no longer has.
It took forever to write this, because I was trying to figure out a point to it, which I haven't. This is just me, telling you about where I grew up, and how much I miss it sometimes, and making you look at pictures.
I hope you don't mind.
All of these gorgeous photos were taken by my dear aunt Carol Provins, who has traveled much farther and more adventurously than I have ever done, and is now blessed to be raising her children close to home.