In this small village in southern Sweden it is commonplace to drop by. Its one of the things I have come to love most about being here. Every so often there just comes a knock at the door and it could be a relative or a new friend but there is a friendly understanding that unexpected visits are welcome by all. I wish I had that at home. The casual air here is comforting, and the lack of pretense refreshing. I do it too, and love doing it.
I have accomplished much of what I set out to during my time here this summer. Most of all, I feel like I have built a community of friends, new and old. You have to spend time in a place. Let your hair down and knock on some doors. I know all my neighbors in every direction except one here. And they know us. The crazy American with the three wild boys. Its a good thing, and I know next summer will bring even more depth in these relationships. In doing this I feel like I am building a life for my kids here. I don’t want this to die with me. I want the roots to run deep. I want the boys to feel like there is something sweet here, a sense memory that brings them comfort and reminds them what it is to be a child here. It is one of my most treasured experiences, and I know what my mother meant when she said to me from her sick bed “I know you will always take care of the house, and you will never sell it.” She knew that she had given me that same gift, and that I held it dear. It isn’t a thing of course, but a connection.
I say to the kids all the time, as I am sure most mothers do nowadays, “Life isn’t about screens, its about people.” I think we are leaving with more people here.
I am wistful. I miss home so badly. But I can’t recreate this feeling in CT. Its like visiting with my mom. Or the closest I can come to it. I will board the plane in two days excited to cross the ocean and get home to Matt more than anything. I look forward to our routines and life as we know it in New Canaan. But I will count the days until I am back here, puttering around the house, fixing this and that and welcoming in unexpected guests.
This woman has walked by the house every single day since we arrived. When I was in Italy she lingered longer, as Emma told me. She peeked in the windows seemingly checking in on everyone, and stayed to admired the flowers. She is old, and perhaps needed a break on her daily sojourn around Viken. But she always chose our house to rest a spell.
A few days ago I heard Cecilia outside in the street and opened the door. She was on her way to see me of course, but she had stopped and started to chat with the woman. She looked hot and needed a drink Cilla said. We fetched one quickly and the kids came running out. She talked with each of them, and smiled brightly as she did.
We both had the same feeling, Cilla and I. Tears sprang forth for both of us. We have long had an ability to feel each other’s feelings, she and I. No matter the distance between us, we just seem to know when something is on the other’s mind.
“That is one way to make yourself known.” Cecilia said, tears streaming down her face as they did mine. Cecilia was a second daughter to my mother. You may not believe the same, may think the woman just some local who liked the track she chose and stuck to it. But Cilla and I in that moment felt the same thing, and it moved us.
I know you’re here mom. And I miss you so.