|Posted by Nicole on June 21, 2011 at 12:44 AM|
They’re all asleep – All 5 of them, curled up or sprawled out as the case may be for Owen. Aiden is snoring next to me, the calming green light tracking his heartbeat rising and falling on the bedside table while I type. Alec sleeps in the adjacent twin bed like an angel, two hands folded neatly under his cheek, and Owen, Lexie, and Scout are sharing the cushioned mat on the floor at our feet. We’re all in one bedroom at the lake, just the way I like it. I’d be lonely without my boys since Andy’s halfway across the country.
Somewhere between childhood and middle age the memories we recreate in our minds come full circle and we begin to see how those same experiences may have been lived, or even created by someone else in that time. Most visions I recall from 25+ years ago are really half-truths, physically cut off at what would be considered eye level for a small child. I can see the skirts of women working in the kitchen, the pockets of men taking fish off of hooks, and the little eaves under counters and couches we, as grown-ups, forget even exist. What I can only now see, 25+ years later, are how those visions were formed in the first place.
I see, now, that the matt covered in terry-cloth with blue and purple horses is actually quite small. My sister and I spent years sleeping on that matt, which was stored in the cabin’s sliding closet doors (also with a horse right at child-eye level). I hear my own children’s hushed voices drifting down the hallway that is not quite as long as I remember it being and realize, now, that the adults heard every word we thought was said in the utter and complete secrecy of a dark bedroom past bedtime.
I realize the preparation each meal required, though it seemed to appear out of nowhere just as we were running up the gravel pathway from the lake, changing out of our wet clothes in the nick of time. I see the afternoon tennis game on the television and understand, now, that Bapa needed that break from the chaos we grandchildren created, no matter how much he loved us.
Smooch pulled out a picture book for bed tonight, and written in awkward black crayon on a few pages were the emerging letters B-e-t-h. To think my older cousin, who colored in that book years ago, is now the mother of a high school graduate who has her own memories of growing up at this lake was a little mind-boggling.
Some things are remarkably different now (such as my being about to upload this post via the neighboring cabin’s unsecured Wifi, my slumbering special needs child still snoring next to me), life’s basics are exactly the same. As children we feel we’re the most important the world: As adults, we live to make children feel like they’re the most important thing in the world.