Last night I dreamed a dream of being in a far off land on my own, or with a friend or two, trying to gather childhood memorabilia that was disintegrating into a few mismatched and themselves deteriorating bags to take home with me on what felt like unreliable transportation. Earlier in the dream, I seemed to have been afloat in a risky bit of water, far from home on what didn’t seem like a vacation.

I spent the evening on my couch and in my bed, too tired to do the desk and house chores I had planned earlier in the day when I hoped my two good nights of sleep would carry me through a productive evening to a later bedtime. Instead of depositing checks and paying bills and sweeping floors and doing laundry, I looked at photos and commentary on social media and at photos on my phone, and sent a bunch of them to folks I’ve known, remembering when we all were younger, when my kids were kids, when I was a most often in the photos happy self, celebrating, marking, traveling, trying to preserve meaningful memories for the future.

As I was doing all this, I found a message on this blog reminding me the storage space is full and I can either delete media or pay for a more expensive subscription. For years, I’ve ignored these messages, and posted no more photos on this blog, so you haven’t seen, but only heard the changes in my life, as my kids have gone from children to teens to young adults.

This morning I’ll take my daughter to a doctor’s appointment where she’ll get a shot required for boarding school and we’ll collect the medical forms she’ll need to return for year two, plus summer one of living away from home for high school. She is seventeen and would have been graduating this year had she not had such a nontraditional education and needed an extra year to complete her high school requirements. I don’t expect there will be many more doctors appointments where she’ll want my company.

On Monday I met my oldest in New York to help him move from the Upper East Side to East Harlem, a very big shift in neighborhoods and apartments, from mostly white to mostly brown, from small, expensive, basic studio to what felt like a luxury apartment for NYC low rent in the midst of a lot of poverty. We worked all day together and I felt a lot, happy/scared/proud mother son time that in my life with my son is very, very rare.

My middle son continues to weave the texture of his life. He’s been away a bit more of late, sharing an airbnb with his gal and her visiting family last week, and I’ve been away a lot, working all week and away every weekend this summer, but on Tuesday and Wednesday night after I got home from work and before he left for the evening, he was at the kitchen table taking apart and repairing an old boom box with double cassettes, and he was in his element, and I was in mine.

These are the moments I get with my kids at 17, 23, and 21. Now I’m dating someone with his own set of three, I am learning to find time with them, too, beach day with the twelve on Saturday, dinner with the twelve and twenty one that night, NYC trip with the twelve Sunday and Monday, including working together cleaning out my twenty three’s apartment, part of vacation in Ashfield with my seventeen and his twelve, maybe two days in a Hull Airbnb if my seventeen is eager..

All of which is to say, my children are making their lives apart from me and we are learning every day how to love as we grow up and grow older, how to remain connected even as we part ways.

My sister was in Western New York with my mom and her thirteen this past week, and sent me photos of me and my dad and mom and sister in our early lives before my father died. She took my mom to the doctor and visited for awhile. At the same time my seventeen and twenty three were with their dad in Texas visiting their grandad and helping him on the ranch, visiting their grandma in her new assisted living digs, along with aunts and uncles and cousins. Richard wrote yesterday to let me know his mother in law, an elder we helped care for when we were together who I loved, had died in the morning, and there would be no funeral. I wrote back with my sadness that she would not be remembered and honored in that way, but that I would hold her in the light, as Quakers do and he let me know know he’s holding me and mine in that light, too.

All we can do sometimes, is hold one another in the light, allowing the glow to infuse our lives as best we can.

 

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