Don't laugh. It'll be a reason to dig out the Goodwill cashmere.
For at least half an hour. Maybe.
Today's adventure took Lily and Jessie and me and the little ones to Monticello. There were some bar stools that I had seen last week and I wanted to buy them if they were still there. We stopped at the library first. All three of us women seemed to be low energy today. Jessie was awake with Levon in the night and then he was up at 5:45. Lily was tired from work and being a mother. And me? Oh, who knows? Still in my stagnant phase, I suppose. So the children played games on the computers and we mostly just sat and talked. I am so fortunate to have grown children who are my friends to talk to, to laugh with.
I am quite sure I'll never get over the wonder of that. And I most certainly never take it for granted. Besides that aspect of having grown children, I also love seeing how the sisters relate as mothers. They have different styles of mothering, for sure, but both styles absolutely have the best interests of their children at the base of them. Lily with her three children, her ten years of being a mama, is a bit more relaxed although Jessie is far from overly protective. And they effortlessly mother each other's children when the situation calls for it. Lily is like a mother bear, scooping babies up and loving them and Jessie is a relaxed and loving auntie to Maggie and Owen and Gibson. It's such a beautiful thing to see. When they were little, their relationship was difficult. Lily was almost four years older and had a very alpha personality if one can apply that term to an older sibling. She was, quite frankly, the boss of all of us, and they were discussing how much easier life was for Jessie after Lily moved out of their shared bedroom. But they don't discuss these things with animosity. They just admit that they were completely different in so many ways and that trying to share space with each other was a bit of a disaster.
I listen to them and think of how my brother who is closest in age to me and I simply cannot get along, even now. It's one of the saddest parts of my life that our childhood experiences still get in the way of us being friends. I know we love each other. There is no doubt about that. But no matter how much time passes between our visits and no matter how much we both (I am certain) vow to keep our tempers and our tongues, inevitably something will arise and the next thing you know there is more anger between us than I am sure either of us ever experiences with anyone else.
There is a sheer violence to it which scares the hell out of me. And my brother is not a violent man and god knows, I may have some anger issues but outward shows of them is absolutely not what I do.
I have my own theories about this, about why it happens but when I try to discuss those with him, he gets even angrier.
And I suppose we could say that my youngest brother and I are estranged (and he keeps a huge distance between himself and all of his siblings) and also that my relationship with my middle brother, although loving, is not what it could be. We do not see each other nearly enough. Our mother's death somehow precipitated a splitting apart of us all that is absolutely dreadful and painful and none of us are in close contact.
So seeing my children all being tender and sweet and funny with each other is a sort of miracle to me. In a way, I think it is a very good thing that all of my children are so different. Competition is simply impossible when differences are cherished and respected.
At least, that is how it has seemed to work out in our little family.
So. Back to our day in Monticello. Mr. Terez was happy to see us and we were happy to see him. After the library we went to the place where I'd seen the bar stools and they were still there and I bought them and Lily and I hauled them to her van.
This is them acting scared. Which of course made them laugh. And made us laugh too.
We had our lunch at the Rev and it was tasty as always. Our diets are so diverse now. We're like one of those new-age jokes about diet-obsessed customers in restaurants.
"Does the meat have any soy-based products in it?" "I'd like the salad but please, no onions."
They accommodated us graciously.
The children were happy with their kid meals with french fries. Maggie got her chicken, August and Levon had venison sliders. And I got a Greek salad with shrimp.
And then home we came where I discovered that my bar stools are a bit too tall and so Mr. Moon is going to have to cut off the legs a little. Right now he's out taking a tire off the tractor.
There is something so comforting about having a man about who can remove a tractor tire. Truthfully, I love having a husband who has a tractor. I'm not sure why. I guess because that represents something that I so primally need and am attracted to.
I had a friend once who talked about "the changers of the oil and the tillers of the soil" and I suppose that is exactly who I married. On the other hand, he can tear apart a contract until an attorney weeps so there is that too.
I can't believe that a week from right now, we'll be on the dock in Roseland, watching the last color from the sunset, hearing the plash of fish doing their twilight feedings in the shallow water, watching the current take the water from here to there and back again. The river of my heart.
I dreamed this morning that developers were tearing up not only Roseland but the river. The islands were being dredged apart, the jungles growing on them torn up and the trees broken and twisted, the little strip of land between the white sand road and the water where there are pine trees and a few little houses, destroyed.
I was trying to tell two people that I know what was changing, how horrible it was, and to explain to them what it had been like before.
They didn't really care although they tried to be interested.
"Do you want to go see the spitting lions?" I asked them. Somehow I knew they were still there.
"Uh, sure," they said, but I could tell it wasn't a priority.
And then I found myself my in my grandfather and grandmother's old cottage and people were living there and it was horribly awkward and I saw amongst their things, things from my childhood.
This is all so obvious and I suppose a response to Thomas Wolfe's "You Can't Go Home Again."
Strangely, Roseland, sixty years later IS the place where I can go home again but there is always the fear that I will return to find that untrue.
Well. We shall see, won't we? I have a feeling that the islands will be intact, the strip of land just as I left it. The little Community Center will still be sitting on the property that I just found out a few years ago that my grandparents had donated to the little village, the ospreys will nesting in the pines and the railroad trestle will still be spanning the river as it has been since long, long before I was a child.
And all of that is a joy I cannot even begin to express.
Treasure that your daughters respect and love each other, children and all.ReplyDelete
And PS: I love those chairs. From the thumbnails I thought they were library chairs, and in their full glory, they are long legged library chairs. Almost like a tall stool for Bob Crachit's desk. Assuming Ebeneezer Scrooge allowed him to sit.Delete
Do you think that Ebeneezer allowed Crachit to sit? I love old office chairs. I have a few that I got at thrift stores. They are solid as rocks and comfortable too. I am sitting on one now.Delete
Those are great chairs. How lucky you are to have a capable husband who can solve practical problems. I immediately thought they would be great for an indoor tent for the kids. Toss over a sheet, weight down with books on the seat. Instant fun.ReplyDelete
Family dynamics can sure be a minefield. I always said if our family ever tried to have a family reunion, they would have to call in the National Guard.
Your dream was wildly interesting to me. Wow..that may be a warning of coming events on several levels. I do hope all your family has BOB bags. The New Madrid fault is very active. You have perfectly described what will happen. Forewarned and all that.
All of my children fell out of a different tree. You are indeed blessed to have your daughters close and close by. I wish you all a blessed day.
You're right- those chairs would make great forts or tents.Delete
Well, when my own little family (little being a relative term- no pun intended) gets together, it's mostly all merry except for maybe an in-law or two. We are very lucky in that way.
I did not see that dream as any sort of forewarning of a natural disaster but of untamed commercial growth. I had to google "BOB bags." In my opinion, a few days worth of survival items isn't going to help a whole lot unless there's someplace you can get to where safety can be found but what do I know? And the New Madrid fault is far away from where we live. Hurricanes are far more likely to take us out than an earthquake.
I am VERY lucky to have all my kids close by. You are right about that.
We have very similar barstools at a high counter in our library! I hope they work out well. I'd be scared to death to shorten chair legs for fear I'd never be able to get them balanced -- but I'm sure Mr. Moon is more skilled in that regard than I!ReplyDelete
Your Roseland dream is interesting. I have a close friend, a fellow Floridian, and we've talked about how living in Florida long-term can be somewhat trauma inducing because things change so quickly, and so remarkably. I mean, ALL neighborhoods change, but few places are under such pressure from developers and population growth. If Roseland has been able to hold onto its quaint characteristics all this time, it's doing better than many places -- my hometown, for example, which I barely recognize anymore!
It's great that your kids have such a good relationship. I get along with my brother, for which I am forever thankful.
Yes. Mr. Moon already described to me the process wherein you can guarantee a balanced chair when cutting off legs.Delete
You're completely right about development in Florida but I swear- when I turn that corner into the little village of Roseland, it's all still the same. "There's the Ponder's house!" "There's the Long's house!" "There's Granddaddy's house!" There is of course the huge ugly box of a house on Granddaddy's river lot and I hate it with all of the heat of a thousand burning suns.
I'm glad you get along with your brother too!
A friend recently told me that writing down dreams changes their story line and we should instead draw them. Oh dear. Not that I would or could.ReplyDelete
As regards siblings, people are different even if they shared a childhood and there us nothing magical or genetic that should command us to like or dislike each other.
Well, I doubt that the science of dreams is that precise. I couldn't draw them either.Delete
You're right about siblings and their growing-up experiences. Each child had different parents and different circumstances no matter how close in age they are. And no, we can't love someone simply because of blood.
my sister, 3 years older, and I did not get along while we were children growing up but once I married (the first time) we started developing a relationship. I'd say she's my best friend now. I never did get along with my brother, didn't like him as a kid (clearly my parents' favorite) and he had the habit of talking down to you as an adult. it's only in the last decade or so that I enjoy his rare visits. so, you have 3 brothers. I thought only two.ReplyDelete
Yes. I have three brothers.Delete
I'm glad that you and your sister get along so well. Isn't that a beautiful thing? And that you and your brother have worked it out so that you can enjoy each other's company. I hope that perhaps someday my brothers and I can do the same.
I wish you and Mr. Moon a fantastic trip and I have deep hope for your visit to Mayo Clinic. Hang in there Mary, it's all going to be good.ReplyDelete
Thank you, sweet friend. I appreciate that so much.Delete
Sibling dynamics can be so complex within Families and one can never predict how well they will get along... or not. It is indeed wonderful when a closeness is evident. I only have a Younger Brother but we've been very close our whole lives... The Man has a large Family and is close to some and not at all with other Siblings. I suspect Personality and the Family dynamic plus age differences all play a role to some degree.ReplyDelete
I think you're right- all of those factors have a lot to do with it.Delete
I think all families who are close are miracles. My one brother and I were estranged until he needed help. He always treated me like I was an idiot and ignored me for years at a time. I am so happy that the little cousins know and like each other. Mine are strangers to me and each other.ReplyDelete
I am really looking forward to pictures of Roseland (shameless hint), so much of the old Florida is gone and it's a shame.
Oh honey- there WILL be pictures. And you're right- close families are blessings beyond blessings.Delete
I envy you your close and loving family. I have no siblings and my parents much prefer to spend time with my cousin and her children and grandchildren (they consider her grandchildren their grandkids, too, since I didn't give them any) and Gregg's brother and sister make very little effort to be a part of our lives even though we've tried hard with his sister and her kids. It usually feels like we're going to alone on this life, although I have lots of wonderful friends who help make up for it.ReplyDelete
*going IT alone IN this life*....I apologize I'm typing this on my phone!Delete
I think that the one thing I really wanted in my life was to have the family I'd always wanted to have and by some miracle, it has happened.Delete
Friends can be family and I know that for certain.
You raised your girls in such a way that their differences are cherished and their bonds are strong. You gave them what you yourself needed as a child. I dare say you brothers needed it too.ReplyDelete