Friday, June 10, 2022

Wind and Walls

Lately, I’ve been missing my “dearly departed” loved ones horribly.  

Random things are making me overly emotional.  Like when our family went out for ice cream, and I decided to order a “cake cone” for the first time in ages because it reminded me of how my Grandma Betty used to keep a box of cake cones at her house for her grandkids.  (In fact, I don’t remember eating them anywhere else.  Except for the time during college when I tagged along with a friend to visit HER Grandma, and she offered us ice cream on cake cones.  It still makes me smile to think about that moment.) 

When I visited a special garden the other day, and lingered too long near a small pot of African Violets (arguably one of the *least* impressive things there) because they reminded me of my Grandma Florence.  

These unanticipated emotions come rushing at me suddenly and forcefully like a gust of air.  

Which got me thinking, do you ever think that maybe we’re all walls?  

I picture stone walls.  The kind where the stones are different sizes and shapes, like those dry stone walls in Ireland.  Those walls that were made by the farmers working the land, who just tossed the rocks into fence rows and built the walls up.  No plan, but somehow it all stayed together and lasted for years.    

And if we ARE walls, then maybe when you lose someone you love, someone who was a formative part of your life, you lose that stone… and the cold emotional air rushes in.  

Your wall keeps growing taller, of course.  You make new friends, time adds new people to your family.  You continue to have "stone adding" life experiences that shape the person you are today.  

And maybe sometimes you don’t notice the holes.  Or you allow yourself to forget, momentarily, that they are there at all.    

But even more painfully, lately I seem to be finding myself missing the stones that never had a chance to get added to my wall.  The stone for that career path I chose not to pursue.  The stones for those opportunities I was too afraid to attempt.  

And the big one - the stone where I get to be on the cusp of entering my 40s alongside my first best friend.  

Her birthday always brings a big gust of “emotional wind” into my world.  

Even as I’ll run around today, dropping one kid off at art camp and taking another to the park to burn off some energy… I’ll feel that wind swirling around.  

Even as I’ll make lunch and encourage them to read, and remind them for the millionth time to “stop yelling at each other and use nice words” … that wind will be there twirling my hair around and leaving it tangled.       

But I’m old enough now to know that you can’t fight the wind… especially on June 10th.   

(Happy birthday, JLE.)

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