As I sit here, listening to my dad play some of his favorite oldies on the piano and the thunder outside, I start to tear up. I hope that he keeps playing so that he doesn’t come out here and see me before I stop… Oh well. If he does, so be it. I had an incredible day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fully explain why, but I’ll try. Being where I grew up is one of the strangest things– Yesterday, I walked through a grocery store and found myself smelling something familiar– it immediately took me back to a cooking class that I must have taken in 2nd or 3rd grade. It seems like something so insignificant, but it was like I was just there, learning how to bake oatmeal muffins (of course I couldn’t bake you on oatmeal muffin today to save my life), but all of the sudden, I knew exactly where I was–
That’s how I felt when I walked into my grandparents’ house today. I should probably call it Granddad’s and Dorothy’s house, but I don’t for two reasons– 1. Granddad has been remarried for almost 13 years, and I love his wife very much- so she qualifies as a grandparent. 2. That house will always be Granddad and Grandma’s house. It doesn’t seem like a label should be that important, but for some unexplainable reason it is and will always be. I’m not even there all that often nowadays, and neither are my grandparents, as they live half the year on the East Coast– I’m only there once or twice a year for a few minutes to say hi before going out to lunch at best, but I used to be. All the time. When I was little. The sights, sounds, smells, and feel of that place are not erasable. It was a place where, no matter how I hard I tried (or didn’t try), I could do no wrong. It was a place that I could do or be whatever I could dream of. A place where everyone was always proud of me, and no one was ever scarce in telling me so. A place where, despite the real and present lack of interesting things to do, never bored me. It was a place that was invincible– where there was always breakfast in the morning, piles and piles of presents during the holidays, a joke to be told, or a hug and a kiss to be had. I was loved and could love there unconditionally. If you asked me yesterday, I would have told you that I didn’t remember having a place like that. I realize now that not only did I have a place like that, but that I still do. More than one. More than two even. And that it was never really even about the place, it was and still is about the people that are there when I get there.
In thinking about all this, I wondered why I wouldn’t have thought about any of this before now, and I realized that I haven’t wanted to. It’s connected to all sorts of wonderful memories, but also to a lot of loss and pain. I’ve managed to keep myself so consistently preoccupied for so long, that it’s become far too easy to bury both the the wonderful and the not-so- wonderful feelings and memories that I used to know (and how incredibly ironic and human that they’re often one in the same thing). I suppose that’s part of the reason I operate the way I do. Thinking is dangerous. If I don’t have time to think, I don’t– so, easy fix, I don’t leave myself any time to think.
I realized through all this that I’ve pretty much succeeded in burying the things that used to hurt. The downside is, in the process, I’ve managed to all but bury some of the wonderful stuff too–
I’m just about ready for some of my stuff back. Please dig up and return.