and then it was summer …

Things happen so quickly.

For months, we were all building up to our family visit, and then before you knew it, everyone was back home, having survived a whirlwind of intensity for several days, but now onto other things in life. My brother is at home, and his epic ‘Dazed & Confused’ party is today.  And then, before you know it, Jo will be flying back to France.  And Dave will be heading to South America to climb another mountain.

For John & I ~ we have dinner at our favorite restaurant for our anniversary (three years of wedded bliss!!! eight years since our first date!!!) and then a trip to Iceland to celebrate his 35th birthday.  Moving to yet another new office & then my work people coming over for food (the pressure!) and new restaurants opening.  Heading to Jackson Hole again (after four years! how has it been that long?!?) in September.  Football, holidays.

When we were little, time stretched lazily before us.  Summer days filled with buzzing bees, mud pies, exotic explorations into the depths of the neighborhood woods.  Bike rides and stick hockey.  Whole worlds could be formed and destroyed in the time between when you fled the house in the morning until you trekked home as the sun began to sink in the sky, hungry for dinner.  Imagination was king.  Inconsequential things were full of untold magic.

The weather this year has been strange. We went from 50 degree days of gray skies and rain to full-fledged summer in less than a week.  Today the high is 90, and we’ve already shut the windows and switched on the A/C.  This morning, as we sipped coffee and waited for Dora to arrive, we ruminated on the fact that come July, we will have lived in our own house for a full year.  And we’ve furnished and decorated it.  And paid the mortgage on time.  We are fully grown up.

Adulthood is odd.  It seems to be a constant exercise in filling time. Categorizing things in our worlds to create order and sense.  We all slog to work, and then flee home.  We cook dinners.  We have children.  We begin the process all over again.

Why?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Not to be depressing, but what’s the point?  I mean, yes, I like my nice house and my slick car.  I like my husband’s Jeep and driving with the roof off.  I like ordering clothing online, and buying insane facial products. I like having sushi twice a week. I like all those things, so I work in order to have the money to pursue what I like.  But honestly, what’s the point?  Each person’s life is a grain of sand on a huge beach in relationship to time.  We are all scurrying here and there, learning languages and looking at art (well, sort of.  I mean, people don’t do that as much any more).  We’re suing people, and being audited.  We’re updating labor laws, and stream-lining tax processes.

Why?

Is it to give ourselves some sort of purpose? I mean, IS there a greater purpose? Is there a reason that a tiny blue planet, third from the sun of THIS solar system, is populated by bi-pedal creatures without body hair? What is the reasoning behind their existence/ their evolution?  What is the grand plan?  If – in the end – things mean nothing at all, then shouldn’t we all re-focus how we spend our 80 – 100 years breathing?

For me, I guess it all comes back to children.  I never had a strong desire to have children.  But now, John and I are in the minority of people our age without them.  Everyone says that having children is life’s greatest purpose.  But … seriously, why?

So they can grow up, and slog to work and flee home… cook dinners, do laundry.  Have more kids? Somehow, that just doesn’t fully make sense to me.  (I know I will be told it’s because I don’t have children, so I couldn’t understand.  Totally fair.  But I’m not going to pop out a child just to see if that somehow changes things for me).

Anyway.  I’ve found that the older I get, the faster time goes by.  Like how an hour-glass always looks like it’s speeding up as it nears the end of the sand.  Everything happens so fast.  Nothing lasts long enough.  Days slip by in a blink.  We all still feel like we’re seventeen.

But we’re not.

family

Last June, nearly my whole immediate family gathered in Belford Northumberland to remember my Granny, who had left us at the ripe old age of 93 the autumn before.  The American contingent of the family, and my youngest cousin (who had recently relocated to Japan) were unable to be there for her funeral, so we planned something different.

Cancer fucked it up.  Cancer seriously sucks.

So my brother, husband and I went over, and represented our little family.  And in the heady rush of being surrounded by a lot of people who look a lot like us, we all committed to seeing each other more often than every six or seven years.  Trips were planned and itinerary discussed.

But we are of a generation of big words and smaller follow through, so while the dream sounded amazing, it also sounded far away and slightly unlikely.  And then… all of a sudden … it wasn’t.  And on Wednesday night, my youngest cousin (who sometimes feels like what I would guess having a sister feels like) arrived in Philadelphia with her husband all the way from Tokyo.  And Thursday morning dawned and my brother and his French lady-love flew into Baltimore.  And today, as I sit on the local train all the way home to Thorndale, my aunt and cousin arrive from Scotland.  And for a few brief days, we will be a big family, all together, looking shockingly alike, from many different cultures.

I never knew that not all families are like our family.  The amount of emails bouncing from the U.K, Italy, Australia, the U.S. and very occasionally Japan would make your head spin.  But that’s what makes it sort of cool.  No matter how much distance exists, no matter how many wounds have been inflicted (mostly.  some are never forgotten as I am patently aware) ~ we are each other’s family.  And we not only love each other, but we like each other.  No matter how much time lapses between visits, and hairstyles change and people get married and divorced, it feels like no time has passed at all.

I feel overwhelmingly full of love right now.  And so happy to have my brother at home for a little, and my cousins here (for the first time ever!!) and my Mama to be surrounded by two of her sisters (the good ones, wink wink).  I cannot wait to get off the train, and spend days just being part of this big, breathing thing called family.