I love the buzz of summer and I also love the tranquility that comes from being away from it; like sitting by the fire during the holidays.
I lost track of time up there in a cabin on the last mountain before California becomes Oregon. After a slam at the Arcata Skatepark, I even broke my watch. I know that sounds cliché, at least the losing track of time on vacation part, but I feel since becoming a parent, I’ve never been more aware of time. For a year I’d watch my nursing timer just to make sure things were staying as predictable as possible; seven minutes was ideal. I’m aware of nap time and lunch time and music time and how long the newborn days seemed and how quickly her hair grew long and her socks became too small over night.
Aunt Liz and uncle Thomas seemed ageless too. At the very least, their spirits did. This is comforting to me in a transcending kind of way since I think one of the things I fear most in life is forgetting how to be a kid.
Aunt Liz played with Avalon like I imagined she played with her own daughter, Victoria, when she was small. She ran after her and assembled puzzles on the floor. She got out supplies for building blanket forts and made homemade ice cream on our fifth wedding anniversary, tasting it with her finger. She loves games. They both do. We stayed up playing Parcheesi and this European dice game called Chicago until 2 a.m every night. One night we went into the Indian Casino after dinner and Basia won $76 for picking number 17 (Aunt Liz’s birthday) in roulette. A wolf came by other evenings. Her name was Bravo and she liked Basia and Phil’s bed. You could tell she loved Aunt Liz and Uncle Thomas by the way her ears perked up when they were talking and how calm she was in their home.
I could recognize then how God found other ways to reach me; Scott, mothers, fathers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, baggers from Trader Joe’s.
The ways that Basia has been there for me in this last, most challenging, year of my life are hard to describe. Especially because when we aren’t together we communicate semi-infrequently. But she is like the ocean to me; when I’m around her I just feel better and I know she understands and accepts everything that I am without having to say it.
Sometimes I feel nervous seeing Basia again because I love her so much and I want us to always have what we started with–the purest love and the most fun. But we always have what we started with; it comes back like the color to our skin when we’re in the sun (in her case-red).
And Aunt Liz. You know when you can tell that someone really loves you because just being around them heals you? Your dirty feet might be on their beloved crocheted blanket from their mother, but they just look into your eyes and ask all the right questions. She and Basia are alike and unique that way.
I cried saying goodbye to them in the kind of way that’s hard to understand and hard to stop.
When we got home, I found another watch in the recesses of my jewelry nest and strapped it tightly to my wrist. But I watched Avalon more– really observed her for all she is. I put things to dry in the sun. One night I even welcomed the neighborhood cat, for a minute, and listened to some rock and roll before I said a few prayers in bed.