A Special Week

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Corey came home to visit last week and we had a great time taking long walks through our neighborhood while he was here. We have both always loved the fall and the weather was perfect. It was sad to see him go back to San Francisco on Wednesday, but a few hours after he left he sent Mark and I an email with the subject line “I get emotional on airplanes.” and a link to a blog post he wrote about his visit. We both thought it was beautiful and I asked him if it was okay to reblog it here.

Scenes from a Time in Autumn

I want to remember this week forever. I want each and every detail of the past five days to return to me just as they happened, to spill over me fully in crystal-clear vignettes of crisp gray mornings and warm blue afternoons spent in a simpler place with the people I have always known. I want to be able to call upon these memories whenever I need them.

My nephew Harrison at eight months old, bald and toothless, the tip of his nose reddened from a cold caught during his first weeks at daycare, leaning into my side in the big chair near the window as I read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to him once and then twice and then a third time while he slaps lightly at the pages and makes soft sounds, looking up at me with wide eyes and a wet grin before falling slowly to sleep, his head in my lap.

My mom and I standing on a sand-blown sidewalk near Pere Marquette Beach, my hands on her shoulders, the dunes at our backs, watching kitesurfers float in warm October gusts above cresting cerulean waves before drifting back to the surf, their kites—fluorescent greens and yellows—carving slow circles in a cloudless blue that spans forever.

Pushing my mom’s wheelchair down a leaf-strewn path in Beechwood Park, Harrison asleep in his stroller, the rows of ancient oaks blocking the sky with their canopy of orange and red and yellow and we stop to take pictures, attempting to capture a single falling leaf or a lasting burst of yellow, faces from the neighborhood nodding greetings as they pass.

Sitting on a leather ottoman in the middle of the living room, the sounds of Broadway musicals from another era playing softly from the stereo, the evening sky dimming over the lake while my mother and I look through old photographs until so much time has passed that I have to get up and turn on table lamps so we can continue.

Smelling dad’s stir fry from the kitchen table, candles lit, drinks poured, my siblings and their partners and I laughing with one another, teasing each other about the young things we did long before we called places like Chicago and Dallas and San Francisco home, Harrison asleep in a blanket and the dogs asleep at our feet, exhausted from play.

Gripping my father’s hand in the darkness as I pass by his chair to tell him I love him on my way to bed, the sleeping sounds of my mother audible from the couch beside him.

I’ve Slowed Down

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I would often say to myself “Rosemary, slow down and stop being so crazy busy.” I felt I needed to pack so much into my day almost as if my life would end tomorrow.  I remember wishing I would slow down enough to read more books, to watch the hundreds of the home videos we have never watched and to look at the thousands of pictures we’ve taken over the years. I wanted it all, to make every moment count by packing so much in but I also wanted solitude to do the quiet things I loved to do.

My solitude days came earlier than I expected so in the last six months I’ve had plenty of time to watch family videos and look at pictures. I have really enjoyed this quiet and reflective time I’ve been gifted.

My family has slowed down as well. For the past year and a half most nights our kids come over to visit as if they have nothing better to do but spend time with us. Last week during our late night candlelit family dinner welcoming Corey home I looked around our table thinking almost everyone had to work in the morning but no one wanted the night to end. My mind drifted back when our kids were teenagers and how they used to fight at the dinner table thinking one day I hoped our family would enjoy each other at the dinner table.

I realize that day has come and I’m happy.

Oskar and Allie

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Mark and I recently met our new great nephew Oskar and our new great niece Allie. These babies were born on the same day and their moms, Sara and Ashley, are sisters. Oskar was on time but little Allie was two weeks early.

Mark brought each baby close to me and picked up my hand so I could touch their heads and feel their skin. Then he put their faces up to mine so I could kiss, smell and nuzzle them. It felt so wonderful.

Welcome to the world, Oskar and Allie!