Sunday, February 12, 2006

Family

Yesterday the kids and I went to see my parents. I had no cash whatsoever, so we took the scenic route instead of the turnpike. This led us through a town I lived in as a small child. I hadn't been there in a few years, but everytime I drive through, I have all these very vivid memories. The first was the tire shop where my dad worked. I pointed it out to the kids and explained that was where PawPaw worked when I was a little girl. This, of course, opened up questions about what life was like when I was a kid. I decided to take a detour and show them where we lived. I was six when we moved from there, but amazingly enough, I still remembered the way. It was a small apartment complex, which surprised me. It seemed endless when I was barefooted, running to and from my friend's apartments, playing on the playground and wading in the creek that ran behind. It was a surreal feeling to drive through the parking lot and see that the buildings were only two stories, when I remember climbing the stairs to the second floor and it seemed to take forever. I pointed out the apartment that was ours. "See? Right there where that pink and purple bike is." "So, that was your bike?" asked Brother. "No, Sweetie," I explained. "Someone else lives there now. That belongs to another little girl." I showed them the laundromat where we washed our clothes and where some of my friends lived. The creek was now blocked by a fence. Good thinking. I told them the story of how I went wading in the creek with my friend, Robin, barefoot, of course. Mee Maw found me and spanked my bottom. She told me to stay out of that creek, there were things in there I could step on and cut my foot. Well, as soon as she was out of sight, I went right back in. And do you know what happened? I cut my foot on a piece of glass. I remember her running to me, picking me up and running with me to the car with a bloody towel wrapped around my foot, half hysterical herself. The doctors couldn't get my foot numb, so they put the eight stitches in without anesthetic. It took two nurses and my poor mother to hold me down. She still shudders when we talk about that. On the way out of town, I showed them where I went to Kindergarten, and Sister was fascinated that I was four, like her, when I started. All the reminiscing brought back hundreds of memories, like an old photo album turning pages in my mind. It was a time when all we ever did on weekends was hang out with our family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents...we were always doing something together. It seemed like we were so close and enjoyed each other so much. Now, my children only see their grandparents about once a month, and aunts and uncles even less. As we made our way to Mom and Dad's, I felt the ache inside for that family that loved and laughed in the midst of so much gone wrong. Knowing what I know now, things were bad...for all of us. But it didn't seem to matter. I always thought I had a tight-knit family. And now I am so sad for the distance and the superficial hug that never really goes deep enough for me, never really scratches the itch. I want more.

3 comments:

LiteratureLover said...

I think that it's incredible that you were able to remember all those things. My kids are always wanting to hear my "back then" stories and I never seem to remember enough. It probably meant the world to your kids to hear those stories and understand you even more.

I know it's hard to not be as close to family as you once were. But you now have a new family that you're close to - your husband and kids. Things keep changing but who's to say we won't get back to that closeness someday?

jjofar said...

The hug that doesn't reach deep enough is so hard to take, but the best part about recognizing it is that your children will never have to experience it. They will always be wrapped in love, and when they bring their children to visit you someday it will be amazing! Thanks for sharing...once again, I am weeping.

h b said...

someday you will be the "grandma glue" that a family of 50 congregates around. you can wear a shirt with a picture of a back-scratcher on it.