Monthly Archives: September 2014

At the Lighthouse

I want to write, but my heart is so full right now, and I don’t know where to start.

Mr Awesome and I visited my dad today. We made the long drive NorthWest from Portland to Cape Disappointment. We stopped for Snickers bars at a gas station in a small Washington town and had a lovely long conversation about everything and nothing, the way we do when we get together without the kids.

We had packed a lunch, and parked at the base of the trail, and hiked up, past Dead Man’s Cove and through the forest to the cliff face overlooking the Pacific.

There’s been some changes, in the past fourteen years. A fence around the Coast Guard station. Trees lost to coastal winds and storms. Erosion has
shaved some distance off of the path, and eaten the sign with the poem on it that I have always loved.

But he’s still there. My dad. Watching the ocean, laughing with the other old sailors, and listening to the voices of the children who visit this historic site daily. I could feel him there, still at peace.

And I leaned into my husband’s arms and cried.

We watched the ships cross the bar, and the waves strike the jetties, and the dragonflies chase each other. My mom will never make it up there again, to be near him, so I took lots of pictures to show her later this week. And she and I will probably cry together, and laugh, and miss him. I cherish this time with her… I know she hasn’t much time left, and soon, in a year or a few, I will be an orphan. No parents, no sister, no grandparents, no ties to the child I was, no people to tell me the stories of way back when.

And I look down, as I type this, and realize the hands I have are the hands I remember my mother having, except I have all my fingers, and I am the same age now as she was when she had me. She was 35; my father was 50. An age difference that seemed impossible, when I was small, but seems so much less so as I look at my own dating history, realizing the last date I went on was with a man thirteen years my senior, and somehow, we had a lot in common we could talk about.

My mother’s light is flickering now, not as steady as it was even five years ago, and I realize it’s my turn to carry the torch, so to speak. To tell my children the stories of Portland-that-was and the world that used to be before 9-11 and technology and economic collapse and everything else that makes their world so much different from the one I knew. It’s up to me to fill their amazing brains with stories of the grandfather they will never know, so he isn’t lost, so the world will carry him for just a few more years. To let them know that when they see the ocean, he is there, with them always, laughing at them and loving them from wherever he is now.

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Summer’s End

Today is my mom’s 70th birthday.

And with that, the summer that had started with a whirlwind and so much drama has drawn, quietly and easily, to a close.

I’m doing well. I had meant to write more, to create more. But long weeks at work got in the way. I’ve not harvested much this summer, I’ve not done much canning. I’ve been busy, working for the most part, enjoying these fleeting moments with the kids.

We adopted a new cat this summer. He’s a lovely long-haired boy named Bing. The dog seems to like him. The other cats endure him. I’ve done plenty of knitting. I finished a hat and a pair of socks, and I started a sweater. I did not go camping this year, but the kids and Mr Awesome did and they had fun. I’ve been to Powells a few times, and the beach once, and I have done very little hiking, and no eventing at all. And I’m ok with all that.

I haven’t heard from Wash, and I miss him a lot.

This summer has been long and hot and dry. I feel parched, ready for the autumn rains, and hopeful for snow this winter.

There are new beginnings at this season change. Both kids are in school for full days, and for the first time in a decade, my weekdays belong, primarily, to myself. I find myself wishing Wash was still in my life, to enjoy this time with me… It was something we had talked about, the chance to spend afternoons together this year, once I had them free. But life changes, and moves on. I’m certain he is where he wanted to be, and I have let that part of my life fade into the past, where it belongs.

I’ve been on a few dates. One, terrible and terribly humorous, ending with me so thankful for an escape that I got on a train out of the city without a thought to whether it was even going the correct direction. I might write about that one later; it was a funny experience. I had a date, yesterday, which went amazingly well, with no need for a public transit rescue. But over all, It’s been a season of being monogamous, which hasn’t fit very well, and has felt strange and awkward. But it’s been good, too. It’s been good for my marriage; a good chance to reconnect with my husband without the distraction of other partners. Also, a chance to connect better with Velah, and (I hope) help her through a pretty rough patch.

I’ve escaped the seasonal cycle, this year. There’s been a few rough days, but, by and large, the bitch in the corner has stayed in her corner, and the depression hasn’t taken me as it has in the past. I am very, very thankful for that.

Tonight, I can hear the frogs outside my window and think of the rain that will soon replace them. I’m eager for the rain, for the change in seasons. I’m eager to see what’s on the horizon, to see how my children grow this year, and how the change.

And for me? New lovers, perhaps. New friends, certainly. New experiences, without a doubt.

And at the center of it all, I stand, living and laughing and loving.

Happy autumn to you all.


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