Sunday, December 28, 2008
Today is the day the family disburses and it brings a mixture of sadness and gratitude. I'm so grateful that everyone was home for Christmas this year - and so sorry to see some leave. Even those that live here are traveling now, off to visit other relatives in other places. So it will be an especially quiet week in East Hampton. Many people are traveling - and the holiday is over - so a peaceful calm will settle in.
I like the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. If we need to travel we can, and if we don't need to travel we have time to do things we usually don't - like walking into the village to see a late afternoon movie, or going to a restaurant for a quiet dinner. It's like the calm after the storm, when it's a pleasure to just sit back and survey the world. Even a walk along Main Street is a pleasure
I loved having children and grandchildren in my house for Christmas this year. It was memorable in so many ways. I hope they'll hold those memories in their hearts the way I will. I know they're memories that will warm me during Christmases to come - some not as much fun as this one was, no doubt. I miss my family when they're not here, and yet I know they have their own lives now, apart from us. It's as it should be. I'm happy that they are all grown and making their own way...but I miss them.
For my children, the best years are right now. (Not that I'm not enjoying life now, but I look back fondly at the years when my children were small - it was a magical time!) And when you're in those "best years" you tend to be so distracted that you miss a lot.
When I think back I'm amazed at the things I assumed I knew about my parents and their lives. As someone who is now the age they were then, I realize I really didn't know much of anything. I thought I understood their relationship and knew the way they thought. And I really guessed that I knew them - - and what they wanted in life, pretty well. Now I know better. I wish I'd taken the time to ask more questions when I could have. Because I would love now to know more about the dreams they'd had, their goals and desires, and how they felt about the way their lives evolved. What did middle-age feel like for them? Were they content with their lives or were there great regrets? So many unanswered questions. I was way too critical - and not as understanding - as I should have been.
When I think of my mother now I envision a young college graduate moving to a strange town and knowing no one. What was that like for her? Was she terrified? Was it stressful? Was she excited? All of the above? And at the end of the day was she happy with the choices she'd made?
Life is such a puzzle. Maybe its better we don't know the solutions to the puzzle - but I am by nature a person who wants answers.