Since when did looking at family photographs cause me to ache with the passage of time? How dare that happen!
Since when did I know exactly the feel of my children at the age I see in a photograph, and know the smell of their hair , the feel of their soft skin, the silly faces they might make, the tender hugs with not so big arms thrown around my neck in loving embrace?
Since when...did the faces I am looking at...are now gone? Those faces full of life, friends of my parents, doing silly parties, wearing party hats, or silly outfits for an event...since when did seeing them, remembering them, make me sad?
Looking at photos always made me feel good. Always made me smile and laugh.
I remember that day. I remember that dinner. I remember that birthday party. I remember putting the swing set up with my parents at their home...I was nine months pregnant and round and heavy with child. I remember that day.
Am I really getting old? Has the passage of time slipped by in the wink of an eye?
We use to go to the parents for dinner, now they can't do those dinners we enjoyed so much. Now my mom can't drive and my Love's parents I don't want driving after dark.
We use to do more dinners together with the family, casual nights of playing croquet on the lawn on a warm summer evening. Being silly, cheating, laughing, being...just being together. Our kids, nieces, nephews, grown, some with family of their own, busy, away.
We use to play games like Trivial Pursuit which I really didn't like but played anyway. We use to play UNO which I did like and still do. We use to play Monopoly on vacations playing late into the night, well I did with the kids, my Love long in bed snoozing.
Vacations...ah vacations. The time to connect back with the family unit. No TV. Just us. Always asking who wants to come along, always getting a place that can hold a group. Some of the best times we have had was going to Tahoe when the kids were young. How I loved having the extended family along to hang out with. Sitting on the beach being as lazy as possible. Watching the kids and what they would do or come up with doing. Looking and listening for bears at night. Sitting in a hot tub if the place had one as we swatted mosquitoes, looking at the starry night. Hikes. Going down the Truckee River, splashing water, laughing, such times were had.
Transitions. I don't like that all my kids don't live near us. I miss the times together. I don't feel needed or thought of. It sounds selfish, I know. I just want to rekindle those good times we had. I just want to sit around and let what ever comes to our heads and talk. I want to make s'mores. I want what was to be. I want the memories to still be important and to create them.
Transitions. What happened? I know the family grew. So many more little ones now that the kids started having kids. How can every one fit in a single place anymore? How can everyone find the time? The economy has screwed too much up. Who has the money or time?
Time. I believe, and will always believe, you have to make the time for memories and good times to have a chance to happen. You have to be available. No assumptions, no judgement, no predictions. You have to see the possibilities and potential. You have to let it happen.
Such crazy times I have been a part of from the first years of dating my Love and going to or having family events. Such memories we still can laugh at....
Crazy #1 : Too cold and windy at the beach in Santa Cruz after we started our BBQ on the beach on a small BBQ grill...bright idea of Uncle Doc to bring the BBQ back to the family cabin (the old cabin) in the back of the truck. Yep. Getting on the road back to the cabin with a hot, HOT, BBQ in the bed and the sparks are flying with a bunch of us in the back with it (yep..before it was illegal to let people sit in the back of a open truck)...yep. BBQ is trying to slide around and how do you hold a hot BBQ?.
Crazy #2 : My niece and her friend on Lake Tahoe on a simple raft...floating too far away without a paddle. Yep. They had to be rescued by a friendly boat.
Crazy #3 : Finding ourselves lost in London while walking around. Found our way back to where we could get a Taxi.
Crazy #4 : Convincing my Love to don a wig, wear a grass hula skirt, and coconut top and perform for his mom's birthday. It was hysterical! Of course he has done this before so it wasn't too hard to get him to do.
Crazy #5 : Every Halloween Party where we dress up. R. and my Love making the Wizard come to life for the little ones. Yep. My Love dressing up again.
Maybe those memories aren't crazy but they were definitely memorable experiences that would never happen if we didn't get together.
I am feeling melancholy that R. has missed out on so many of those memories, not to mention my great nieces and nephews. I can't fully explain why.
I am determined to keep trying to present the opportunity for gatherings though. I am going to believe that there only needs to be a nudge in the right direction. I am going to believe that our family does want to have this still happen.
As the saying goes, "Friends may come and go but family is forever". I believe this....
Tahoe 1988 ~ w/ Sue and Joe in the meadow from Ellen F. on Vimeo.