E&G | Issue 204
I looked out at the fire pit today, it’s rusty legs digging into the sand left over from the swing set we took down last year on a whim. This was the swing set that Mom and Dad bought from the Pembroke Christmas Tree Shop and put up shortly after Jordan, the oldest grandchild, was born in 1998. Every grandchild has swung or climbed on it, my kids being the last. I remember Isaac swinging maniacally back and forth as the entire set swayed with him, matching his youthful energy with a weary groan as he pumped, kicked, and threw his head back to stare at the trees above. “I want to burn stuff today.” I thought to myself. “Today is a good day for burning.”
We went over to Meg’s house last night and although our kids are definitely still kids, I cannot help but mourn the past we had with all 7 of our children under the age of 10. There’s a grief that comes when you suddenly realize that things are no longer the same. I, per usual and much like Isaac, handle change awkwardly. People will tell us we’re in the sweet spot right now and I know that is partially true, I also know that this is only the beginning of changes that are set to continue and evolve, claiming little victims and victories along the way. It’s hard to take standing up, scary too.
When it was time to come home, I found Isaac sitting in the middle of the “playroom” at Meg’s, now with less toys than ever. He was sitting in a little bucket, his string bean legs dangling clumsily over the tops. “Look at this kid! He’s just like he was when he was 7.” J.D. said sounding almost proud of Isaac’s adherence to himself. Isaac looked up, looking a little sad to go. Or was it because he knew he was no longer 7 and that alone is depressing for any child in puberty.
This morning I talked to Mom about all the events of the past week and how Isaac seemed a little down after our visit last night; this kid is sometimes much like a mirror of the complex combination of emotions of all that surround him. He’s sensitive to shifts, be they seismic or subtle. “That happens, you know, as kids get older.” Mom told me, discussing Isaac’s melancholy as a normal part of aging. “You grow apart, then come back, grow apart, then back.” Another nugget of golden wisdom from the woman who, at times, drives me insane. To me, it sounded as though she was describing the very nature of DNA, that twisted ladder of life.
As I await dinner this evening, the house smells amazing, my backyard too with the ladder of the swing set ablaze in our fire pit. Family will gather around our table, the whole lot of us here have gone through so much over these past few years. Change has happened to all—for better and worse—and we are trying to catch our breath in these pauses over shared meals. Now, I am sitting in the backyard with the fire pit roaring, filled with any odds and ends I could find. What will come of this next stage will twist in front of us like that double helix of life always does. For today, we’ll have dinner and prepare to slide into our own little slivers of life for another week. How lucky we are, how happy I finally am.