Our community came together one day in June to raise the frame of our home–along with 3-year-old Aidan who spent the day hammering nails into the floorboards of what would be our kitchen; and 8-year-old Lloyd who knelt beside his preschool & primary teachers laying down the floor to what would become his bedroom; and Casey, age 38, who lifted beams with friends & family (and even strangers) to realize a dream come true; and me, age 40, who never had the chance to live in one place very long and who climbed the frame at the end of the day and tapped an evergreen branch to its peak while everyone cheered below.
14 years have passed.
14 wedding anniversaries.
14 winters & springs.
Over the years, Casey spoke of needing an addition—the living room was always too small; but I countered that the boys would be gone someday and the house was already too large for two.
“Someday” has somehow arrived.
What was “raised” to be a home for 4, becomes a home for 2 at the end of summer—which is almost as unfathomable as building this home for ur family once was.
Beyond the awakening is the fragility to which i am most attuned;
Because hasn’t spring brought both love & heartache, conception & loss, burials and re-births?
How do I explain what it is to see a parent outside the highschool, pacing back and forth on her cellphone. Or another, a father, walking briskly toward the building with cleats in his arms. Or my own cheek still charged with the bristle of my son’s as he kissed me goodbye and hopped out of the driver’s seat… the car emptied of his breakfast, his music, his overbearing book bag.
I remain still. Bound to the passenger side of this empty vehicle.
Waiting? Watching? What?
The speed of time?
How suddenly the landscape becomes lush?
No matter how inconvenienced we are. These children. These lives. Ready to fly. Are everything.
Even as we let them go. Little by little. And then all at once. Holding on to the simplest ways to say:
We were once.
i pulled the socks from his feet and rubbed peppermint cream into his soles, while his father went in search of tylenol. and as i rubbed, i said to myself, whose feet are these? they’re so huge! even the toes! and i wondered, was I wrapped in his feverish delusions too? and later, when we brought him into our bed, and he tucked his shivering body against mine, and i wrapped my arms around him like i had when he was a boy, i was surprised to find a broad back and big boned shoulders, and i reached further still to be sure i wasn’t touching my husband; while my baby, at 16 & a half to the day, oblivious to his child-to-giant transformation, went on tossing and turning and sweating, between us, until we brought him to the shower, and his father, seeing his body, as if for the first time, said to me: how have we missed this?