My day started with birthday greetings at the breakfast table in Blacksburg. Ruth, Chris and Heidi had already left (in the virtual middle of the night) for early flights home. Sara and Fred Reed, Aunt Inez and Hazel visited until near lunch time, with breakfast table conversations topics ranging from family values on education to the fee and referral structures of the health care system today. Bob and I were in and out of the room as I worked on our laundry and packing and he copied the video from the wedding onto DVD so that Sarah and Peter can take it with him to show his family when they leave for Peru right after Christmas. During the afternoon Bob, Bill and I took the boys to Chik Filet so they could play on the indoor playgroud while we had a great visit. After supper the video was finished and we said our good-byes and bundled into the car for the long road home.
I am fifty five today. I don't know what that means really - what if any values to attach to having attained this particular age. When I free associate on a writing exercise, my thoughts about my age chrystalize a bit.
I am standing in a doorway. 55 is a doorway. Behind me lies a full house, generations of rocking chairs and china figurines, my grandmother's rice pot with a lid Daddy banged like a cymbol, against what I'll never know since everyone who could remember is dead. Behind me lie the rooms where I conceived my babies, rocked and nursed them, played board games on ancient green shag carpet and fought over potential piercings. Behind me lie the memories of their father, tossing pickle princesses in the air, rubbing their tummies on his head, singing along with Gordon Lightfoot or Don Williams. He died at 36. Who would he have been at 55? Who am I? Would he know me?
Behind me stands the house we bought with love, watched burn in terror, rebuilt, remodeled, the house Bob and I reclaimed as our family changed, remodeled again, chose to keep as our home. Before me, the sidewalk is familiar, and the street. But change is in the air - mist conceals mysteries - I cannot turn back, cannot pretend to be able to replay past chapters - no more babies at 55, no fantasies of adoption. Grandchildren run, tumble, leap around my feet.