Returning to New England for my Aunt Bette’s celebration of life has made me reflective and just a bit melancholy. I’ve been thinking about Februarys in past years. It’s been 43 years since my Dad died, but in my mind’s eye I can still see him and if I imagine hard enough, I can still hear his voice. I was nine months pregnant when he died. He never got to meet his first grandchild. Brennan was born just a couple of weeks later… a baby boy who took my mind off the grief of my father’s passing and filled me with the whole new joy and responsibility of motherhood.
So when other February winters in New England come to mind, February 1976 was right up there as a most memorable one. I remember heading to the hospital, my overnight bag clutched in hand, all excited and nervous, the labor pains even and measured, but tolerable. Another woman from my Lamaze class was also there. Her husband, Carlton Fisk, catcher for the Boston Red Sox and Baseball Hall of Famer, sat patiently waiting while his wife, Linda, was being prepped for her imminent delivery. Carlton and I chatted and played cards to pass the time. Then it was my turn and it went by in a blur. Within hours, I was a mom with a healthy 7 pound-12 oz baby boy and heading home. My world changed dramatically in those few hours.
Life has a way of flying by and sometimes you’re so busy, you hardly notice. Then that baby boy has grown and graduated from college and found a soul mate and married and made a life of his own. How does that happen so quickly? I remember my Nana talking about how fast it all goes. My mom reiterated the same story in her later years. I nodded my head knowingly, but of course, it doesn’t really sink in until you experience it yourself.
When we had all the kids with us and both worked and traveled and maintained a house and cooked and cleaned, and there were never enough hours in a day, how did we ever find time for karate lessons and basketball practice and gymnastics and baking cupcakes for PTA events? When did we find the time for us? Not sure, but we did. And we found time for family vacations and outings, climbing Colorado 14ers and camping and quiet evenings playing silly games midst giggles and laughter.
Brennan and I used to take mother-son trips once a year. He’d choose the destination and we’d head out for a couple of days of just-us bonding time. It was Dodge City, Kansas one year, Mount Rushmore another, Bandolier National Park one other time. He had a knack for picking out distinctive venues with historical significance. He’d plan the entire itinerary and I went along for the ride. It was always a special time for us and I hope he remembers those trips as fondly as I do.
I’m writing this blog at Lin’s house. I’ve been reflecting over the past weekend. Snow is falling. Lin and Mark are at work. The house is quiet. It’s just me and the cat… and she’s sleeping. Being alone for a day is good for my soul. It gives me time to ponder. Forty three years… seemingly gone in a flash. But oh what a great 43 years. My world still changes almost daily. Loved ones leave us. New people come into our lives. We plan, we work, we play, we grow. I’m waxing philosophical, I know, but reminiscing is good. It makes me count my blessings for all I have and look forward to all that’s still to come.
As you read this, I’ll be on my way back to David in Las Vegas. Life will resume the way it always does. No amount of remisicing or planning or wishing will change the future. There will always be bumps. That’s why it’s important to hang on tight and learn to appreciate the ride.