01 August 2011

Into The Woods

Here we are, almost all of Mom Mom and Pappou's family, gathered on the steps of the old Victorian by the sea. We are only missing Erin's husband and daughters, but she is holding a photo of them, so they would be included in this shot. Everyone except my brother Sean's family stayed together in the house, and during the first week we also accommodated two cousins and an aunt. Sean and his family stayed a few blocks away with my in-laws; the Captain's sisters, et al, booked a place for a week;  and my cousin Bobbi and her mother moved in down the road. It was, truly, a family vacation.

I doubt we will ever assemble like this again, but we accomplished our goal of being together for "Mom Mom." Her pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease, and we don't know how she will feel next summer. Her prognosis is such that we plan for the future, but know that it's not a given. I choose to hover just outside the fringes of despair in this regard. I am, generally, an optimistic person, but I have enough experience with tragedy to keep my sunniness in check. A few well-placed shadows have left me a pragmatic realist.

I've heard the exhortations to "live like you're dying," and I've encouraged my mother to really think about how she wants to spend her time. Interestingly, she's chosen to hew to as much of her normal routine as is possible. The fibrosis hinders her mobility, so simple things like a trip to the store, or the hairdresser, are appreciated. Time with family is savored, but in smaller bites than we would like, due to the pace of our daily lives.

The Captain's grandmother passed away when he was young. My mother-in-law reminds me to take what time I can, now, to share with Mom. I try, but my life is constant motion,  lurching forward, an eager child dragging me into the future. There is no way to delay the end of summer, the start of school, the fall play, the soccer games, the holidays.

Except on vacation. Where time does slow, when we are released from the constraints of our lives. Where the rhythm of the day centers on the rise of the tide, and the heat of the sun. Where the most pressing issue is whether to  play a game or read a book. Of course, there are children who need tending, but that is normal. And we are learning that normalcy is to be cherished.

So, I've left the beach, and come back to the woods. Some of my flowers died while I was away, but everything else is green and lush. There is still possibility left in the season, for all of us.


  1. Anonymous1.8.11

    The photo is beautiful. The family gathering together is beautiful. The words are beautifully written. You, are truly beautiful. (And we missed you.)

  2. Lovely photo. Glad you all managed to pull together this special time for your mom, who sounds awesome as usual.

    Your voice was very missed in the blogosphere.

  3. What a beautiful family. It's wonderful what you all did for your mom.

    Welcome back. :)

  4. Beautiful post, beautiful picture.

  5. Anonymous10.8.11

    Gorgeous family. Just gorgeous.


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