Sunday, November 9, 2008

Embracing the Gray

What a fantastic weekend this was. I've had a lot of good weekends lately, filled with family and friends, both new and old, and I'm grateful for it. I crave both alone time and 'not alone' time, in equal amounts, and to have balance in my life, I have to find balance with others and also with myself. When one outweighs the other, I start to feel restless and/or confined, and need the perspective check that the other brings.

This weekend I went to my parent's house--by that I mean my Dad and step-mother's house, in the county where I grew up half-time (as children of divorce do). It's the first weekend of deer gun season, and all the men in my family flocked to our family cabin to do the manly ritual of killing things, drinking beer and grilling up steaks. And cursing. There was probably lots of cursing. So the guys did their manly things, meanwhile my sisters (both step-sisters to me, that I have known since the age of 7 (they were 6 and 3) and their babies came over to my parents house, and we had a magical time.

My parents loved it. They absolutely love it when they have all their "girls" at home, with all three babies, and no one else to share us with. One of my sisters has a 2.5 year old daughter and a 1 year old daughter, and the other has a 1 year old son, so it was baby central at our house. We rocked, watched Disney movies, filled sippy cups and bottles, lost and located passies, got a lot of kisses and dealt with a lot of tears and temper tantrums. By 10pm, everyone under the age of 3 was asleep, my parents called it a night and my sisters and I cracked open some beers and talked. And talked, and talked and talked. Sneaked outside for cigarettes and whispered like teenagers outside in the cold and stared at the stars while we exhaled slowly.

3am came too fast.

This morning we went to church. My old childhood church, that I haven't stepped foot in since I was around 10 years old. We sat with my grandmother in the same pews we had sat in almost 20 years before; the same pews she sits in every Sunday. The hymnals were the same; the people were different. The same picture of Jesus - a white man with light brown hair :) - above the wasn't hard to feel 8 years old again, putting pennies in the "Birthday Bank" for offering and running up and down those same aisles.

When I got home, my parents were sitting on the couch, withequally somber faces and told me that my little gray kitten Charlie (newly acquired from the humane society) couldn't be found. I've had him for about 6 weeks now, and I brought him with me this weekend because my little neice is in love with him and keeps a running commentary to anyone she meets about him - "I love Charlie. Charlie loves me so much. I love to hold him. He is so fuzzy. He lots of fuzz all over. I love Charlie. Charlie loves me so much...." You get the picture.

Long story short, we found him. My little gray kitten, found on this gray but radiant day, is sitting in my lap right now in my own little apartment, watching me type. He's probably thinking of the little girl that accidentally got maple syrup in his fur this morning. I'm thinking about her too. I love those little ones and I am so grateful that I get to be in their lives here and now. And for 3am beers with sisters on the porch, talking about when we were girls not much older than the ones inside asleep.

Sometimes I get so restless here. The beauty of these rolling Kentucky hills is clouded by the fact that McCain won by 17 points, and the simple easy way of life often lends to my own yearning to have more pavement under my feet. But weekends like I just had reinforce the feeling of peace that I have for being here right now. This isn't forever, but for now, my little neices and nephews know who I am and that I love them. They never doubt that I will catch them coming down the slide and I will bring them little gray kittens to play with on a cold Saturday.

They will know this, and will hold it against them as they grow, and as life changes and rearranges. As we all move on.

And I will too.


Ms. Moon said...

Beautiful post. I think the stars must have been perfectly aligned this weekend or something. We had a wonderful weekend here, too.
A kitten with maple syrup on her fur- what could be sweeter?

SJ said...

I'm so glad that good weekends were given to us both! Yes, he is certainly a cutie :) I will post some pics soon.