Absentee. Avoidance? Chronic procrastination? Whichever term I choose the point is the same. I have not written in some time. And not because nothing has happened. But perhaps because every so often I reach my self-reflective limit. Become sick of my own thoughts and words. Eventually something always inspires me again. Drops a match in the kerosene of my brain and lands me here again.
Yesterday was the Memorial Day parade here in town. It is a favorite of mine. Its as if the nostalgia and patriotism of this small town America has finally won me over. I sat with Lucca as we waited for Matt and Colton to march by. My big boy was representing his Y-Tribe the Chippewas. He sang the loudest of anyone, and from the start of the painfully slow-moving processional to the bitter end. He’s hoarse and happy today, sporting his tribe headband all day at school.
I remember this scene last year:
My wise old Colton saluted and shouted his appreciation to each soldier as he or she passed. I was very proud of my tiny patriot. As the firetrucks and ambulances made their way toward us he became more somber.
“Thank you!” He yelled to the ambulance driver. “Thank you for taking care of my mom.”
Yep. I cried.
He can do proper jumping jacks now. He makes me laugh from deep in my belly, in earnest. For real, no more embellishing for his sake. I feel him stretching out and pushing back. Coming off the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other cadence of the last two years, this is warp ten. All of a sudden I swear the sound of my own voice in my head is so uncannily reminiscent of my mother’s. And once again I realize that through knowing this child, these children, its as though my relationship with her has merely been assigned a new dimension, relocated to another realm. We speak, she and I. She makes herself known to me in subtle ways, and often uses Colton. It is such a strange and wonderful relationship, and I am humbled daily by the experience.
We leave in less than three weeks for Sweden. I feel great trepidation in my heart about this trip. Great joy as well. But each sojourn I have taken back there since having children is bittersweet. Just as I left the seat closest to me empty as I stood at the altar on my wedding day, some little girl part of me believing that the universe wouldn’t let me actually get married without my mom there, I keep expecting her to appear at baggage claim with way too many Swedish flags and outstretched arms. Her presence is so near, and I try hard to carry the torch and preserve the future she saw for our family, spending summers together in southern Sweden. Its all so hard without her. And soaked in regret. Try as I may, no amount of pancakes and lingonberry jam equals a Mormor.
If I don’t get to know my grandchildren I don’t know what I will do.