Over the last few months, the reality of time and home have been on my mind. I have been visiting my aging parents more frequently, and reflect on the moment as much. I think about the past, during my childhood years, growing up the oldest of six siblings. I believe our childhood mirrored a series or two of the Waltons, that is, without the mountain-we had a hill. I realize that sounds hokey, but it is what I remembered in our semi-rural dwellings in the Midwest.
Our bare-footed summers were spent running through the woods playing hide and seek, creating secret hideouts in the trees, building dams in the creek, barricading forts in the woods for the “bad guys,” swinging from tree swings, long hours at the local ball field playing soccer, kickball, hotbox and fast-pitch.
When my dad bought a vintage convertible, my brother and sisters and I would volunteer to wash it for him so we would have an excuse to hear stereo. We would crank up the HiFi (yes, that’s HiFi, Gen Xers and Millenniums, not Wifi) and sing, “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog!” We were free and loving life.
In the winter, we could not wait for the snow to arrive. The colder the weather and the higher the snowfall made for the best sled train ever. The oldest kids would rally the neighborhood tots, tweeners and teens. Everyone would link up their sleds at the top of the longest street in the neighborhood. There would be at least 15 kids willing to brave the long hill. This was the one time of year when all kids laid down their arguments and became a movie of interactive, collaborative characters in a winter wonderland.
We had sleds, shovels, toboggans, or whatever would slide through the snow and link into
We laid claim that it was the longest sled train in the universe. Our parents were certainly amused by our spirit, as they watched us whiz by with kids rolling off and giggling in the snow, and the littlest guy with frosty red cheeks running to catch up shouting, “Hey wait for me.”
Many of those parents still live in that old neighborhood, including my parents. They have stories to tell about their families and living in the 50’s and through the 80’s.
Aging parents, like mine, sometimes are forced to make decisions about their lives- do we stay or do we move? Their limitations have become reality. But, such memories here. The family home, the memories of celebrated Christmases around the tree with their lit
tle kids ripping open presents, laughing, and singing carols; times around the campfire listening to Mom and Dad’s jokes and stories; music lessons, PTA meetings, dance lessons, 4-H club, scouts, football games, proms, cold brisk soccer games, and graduations. The timeline list of hustle and bustle could write a great American life story for anyone who lived in Maxville Terrace.
Recently, when I’ve thought about all of these fleeting moments of joy in my own life, I could not help but wonder what my parents feel, as they approach the last years of their lives. My mother had recruited a couple of us to help her downsize. She had been preparing for the “just in case,” moment. She made it known: “Dad or I could go at any time, but if Dad goes first I just want to be prepared to move.” Logically thi
nking, she- being the quilter, seamstress, and crafter- would obviously have more things to downsize, so she chose to move forward,ready for whatever emotions she might face, as she gave away fine memories that were attached to each scrap of fabric. “Oh, this was a piece from
your father’s shirt,” or, “Remember when I made matching dresses from this for you and your sister?”
When I heard her words, I heard a bit of quiver in her voice. She had been reflecting on the past, too. As we pulled out old boxes of greeting cards from the closet, she seemed to have a story for nearly every one of them. I recalled some faded stories of the past, as well. The cards dated back to the 1950’s with angelic faces, romantic watercolor pictures and cartoon characters of the times.
“Look, Mom, this one was when you and dad were married; Oh, Mom, look at this one. It’s a shower card from when I was born.” She stopped, looked at them, pondered, and smiled. This was a moment for both of us. Time stood still for just a moment.
She knew she couldn’t keep them, as it seemed like leaving a friend behind when we tossed them, one by one, into the wastebasket. I felt her loss. I reminisced with her with bittersweet sorrow, as she disguised her own with a smile.
I asked her if we had to dispose of all of them. She responded quietly, “Well, the memories are all there. I’m just saving the ones that have special messages written.” I smiled as she said this, as I knew that she could not give up all of the beautiful cards, particularly the ones with special thoughts. Giving up the cards were reminders of good memories, some not so good; however, I could see it was difficult.
After, we completed the first phase of downsizing, we paused. I said, “Mom, I know this can’t be easy for you.” She smiled and said, “It’s just stuff. I have still have pictures and memories of our family.” We hugged, and I knew at that moment she was at peace with her decision to downsize.
As I packed up my car with things that were bound for the thrift store, it occurred to me that the two of us were in a place of acceptance with a home that no longer represented a house or even the memories.
I sat in the driveway feeling grounded in a truth. My mother and I had explored, reflected, and discovered that our peace was in the women we had become. It was a place in our mind, body, and soul that we truly know as home.
May you find joy in each moment as you discover your own sacred place of home in the heart during this season of love, peace and celebration.
Kat is a Core Alignment Mentor and Professional NLP Specialist and Emotional Wisdom Trainer. She is the founder of Taproots for Life, where she guides women, men and teens to awaken their light within to live a life of joy.at believes that each person deserves to feel grounded with conviction in their own authenticity, with a voice to be heard.
Kat holds a sacred space for people to grow as independent thinkers by exploring, discovering and embracing their true authenticity and to inspire others with love, understanding and empowerment.
Her mentoring has changed lives, locally and internationally. She is also a writer, herbalist, aromatherapist and lightworker.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit her website: www.taprootsforlife.com (currently under construction)