A Little Bit Back to Center

As with most of us, the weeks in between Thanksgiving and the holly jolly holiday can be likened to either a sausage or a can of sardines; in either case too much is constrained in far too small of a space.

Work demands seemed to ratchet instead of dwindle and we lost a bright shining star long before he should have ever gone shooting across the sky.  Losing a dear and trusted colleague is never easy, and especially the peak of the season.

On the home front we switched from cleats to high tops and a whole new game schedule.  I really need the coaches to check with me before signing up our team for extra scrimmages and tournaments.

As such, it was a push to get Christmas on the table, so speak.  A naked tree stood vulnerable in my living room for too many days before it finally got it’s well earned bling and blitz.  The flour and sugar and mixer remain tucked away in cabinets this year and I did not support the US Postal service this go-round….

(I was kind of feeling like the elf who barely made it in for the night and just kind of hanging on….)

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…and the gift list was whittled and all through the house; this nearly bah-humbug mama slowly began to exhale.

An almost stolen (but not) purse, a few unusual conversations and all the requisite daily pushes and pulls, and the edges began to fray.  I found myself needing to respond to a particular situation, make an important decision, and I realized that I felt so far from center. So far from my own self that finding the inner voice of reason and the all-important gut check seemed akin to the journey to the center of the earth; a really long way away.

***

Last night, kiddo and I spent the evening with dear and long time friends who came into town for the holiday.  To help welcome them, the friend hosting them also hosted an evening gathering with friends and family who also wanted to be with them.  There we were, the atypically warm December night found the women gathered on the generous front porch sipping wine and talking like there is no tomorrow, the kids running free between basement and front yard and the men tossing back a few beers in the kitchen. And of course, any mix and mingle of all peppered the evening.  Before I knew it, jackets and santa hats donned, wine glasses re-filled, we walked the neighborhood which some would liken to a modern day Mayberry and took in the light strewn homes, horse-drawn carriages transporting families and friends doing the same as us, and pick-up trucks filled with carolers. As we walked, conversations were easy, natural and changing depending on who walked next to whom. Kids ran front, center and in between.

At one moment, while I had the three biggest kids in my reach, I let them go ahead a bit, and ahead of them were the smalls and other adults.  I hung back, I lingered, wine in hand, and took it all in.

I exhaled deeper. A lot deeper.

Bright lights in my periphery. People I love in direct view.

Cheerful sounds filling the air.

A sip of my wine.

Exhale.

This. This right here. This is Christmas.  I exhaled fully and smiled.

I caught up to my kiddo and draped an arm around his shoulders, not far below my own now,  and said, this is good, eh?  We are good. We get this.  He was quiet and I said, this is a moment to just be.

 

***

This morning, as I woke, I thought of last night.

I realized. That was a little bit of coming back to center.

***

Merry Christmas. Holly Jolly Holiday.  Blessings.

My wish for you, each of you, is that moment to just be.

To exhale. To find center.

***

Peace & Joy

-Bonnie

 

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Name That Tune? No, Name That House!

Last weekend, I was able to steal away for a couple of days with a couple of friends and we spent a weekend reconnecting and relaxing in and around the quaint and charming little town of Carmel. We don’t, for one nano second, not ever ever take for granted the beauty of the California coastline and though we lost count, my friend J must have uttered, “Wow!’ about a bajillion times.

While driving from point A to B, we passed through the intersection where beautiful meets gorgeous.

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Then, we started noticing that all of the stunning homes along 17 Mile Drive have all been named. The first one that caught my attention is the Butterfly house and its beautiful and conscious California drought resistant awesome landscaping.

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Wilder Butterfly

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Beautiful and requires no lawn mower!

From there, we wandered and meandered and found these humble (ahem!) abodes with fun and creative names.

best nest

Best Nest

beside the point

Beside the Point

scenic dugout

Scenic Dugout (I could handle watching a ball game or two from inside that dugout!)

 

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Song of the Sea

There were many more homes with affectionate nick names such as Point of View and Sea Haze. I found myself completely enjoying the creativity and personality of each and also thinking about the possibilities of what it would be like if we all named our homes? First of all, it would just be fun, would make evening walks quite different, but wouldn’t it also add another dimension of community among us?  What would you name your home if you could – or maybe you already have? It got me thinking about what I might name the home where I live now and the name JuJu came to me because it’s just got great energy and a bright cheery feel to it. But, I also know I will just keep thinking about this. By now, you know how my brain works, right?

Then we passed by this ‘little’ stunner and found her curiously lacking an identity like her neighbors to the left and right.

Name that house

Name that house

So, I leave you with a Cheers and a Challenge:

…a cheers to time away, renewal and spending time with friends who make all the difference in our lives; and

…a challenge to take some ownership for the naming rights of our nameless abode.  What would you name her? And look, there is even a blank slate above the windows above the garage, just waiting to be inscribed!

Cheers!

Cheers!

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Bat Cracking Crystal Clarity

When I was much younger, I sought out the insight and guidance of a counselor/therapist to help me sort out a significant relationship that had crashed down all around me, taking me with it. I was in the throes of picking myself up off the ground, trying to decide if I believed the sky was blue because people told me it was, or if I truly knew that. The betrayal and disappointment of the crumbled relationship left me feeling the expected sad, heartbroken and angry mixed up emotions; but I also felt so disoriented and unsure. My foundation felt as if it had been rocked and it took me quite a time to inside out and right side up myself.

In this process, I remember distinctly, in one of the sessions; we talked about about choice. About connection. About trusting self. The therapist waxed eloquent about many things; she was really good.  That conversation is mostly, now, simply an essence in my mind these many years later. But what I can still hear, crystal clear, is a statement she made. I can hear her to this day, with the clarity of clinking wine glasses or a bat and ball connecting on a grand slam. She simply said that we must look for and choose people to surround us who ‘inspirit us’ and to selectively limit those who ‘disinspirit us’; then we talked for awhile about what this meant and how to recognize it going forward.  To seek out those who breathe life into us, and to be cognizant of those who leave us feeling deflated.

I return to that idea, that template if you will, often. It’s one of those moments that rang so true for me, made sense on such a foundational level; it was a pivot point in the right-siding-up process for me.  In crisis, is also an opportunity to begin to see things in new ways.

Like many good life lessons we collect along the way; it stayed with me but I will be honest and tell you that it was and is not always top of mind; we lose perspective. We get distracted. We get lazy; complacent. With healing, comes too the risk of receding from the active state of intentional growth. It’s hard work. Life delivers so many lessons to us; it seems fair to say that they can sometimes feel like a rolodex, spinning from one to the next.

At a point in my life where I feel drawn to think carefully, choose as wisely as I can – to be intentional in all things – I once again find myself bumping up against this way of thinking.

The life-rolodex has spun me back to the letter I…intentional, inspirit.

Flash forward some twenty years and over a recent lunch with a treasured friend who also happens to be a gifted therapist; and while deep in conversation about marriages, friendships, partnerships, relationships – all of the people we bring into our lives – she eloquently rolls off her tongue the idea, this truth, that when any relationship requires us to be small, remain small or somehow get small in order to sustain the relationship, to keep it alive – we have to ask ourselves if it is worth it. Is it right?

I made her stop. Say it again, and then again, so I could write it down. There was that ringing clarity again.

I also see now that if we have to be small, we cannot feel inspirited by another – for implicit in the idea of being inspirited is a sense of expansion, taking in oxygen and feeling filled with life and joy.

No, the two are contrary to each other.

But, to be intentional about who we invite into our lives, as friends, business partners, lovers, spouses, friends, requires that we identify and know what we need to feel inspirited. And, that we also have the capacity, yes, to be inspiriting to others?  I read the other day that

Over time, as we grow, we have to remember that we gradually learn to be less focused on personality and to identify more closely with essence, the true nature of ourselves and others.   – Wisdom of the Enneagram

In my never ending and seemingly bottomless-pit quest for understanding, peace and direction, I found myself nodding and finding some resonance in a comment on a blog where the person shared that after much hurt and consternation when things in her life were just not going right, with time and careful discernment it came clear to her that she wanted someone –  companions – friends –  people in her life – who feel like a warm sunny summer morning.

someone who feels like a warm sunny summer morning.

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The way I see it, that’s a great way to frame it!   The feeling of those words echoed a true and clear resonance.  They remind me, in their own way, of choosing a word to guide our year. Allowing essence to guide our connections.

Click. Clink. Crack.

The words leaped off the page and into me and answered questions I didn’t quite realize I had already begun asking myself.  And connected themselves readily to these ideas of inspirit and taking up the space of who we really are. Not shaving off corners and bits here and there.

If we are really paying attention to the quiet still parts of ourselves – not always easy to do – perhaps we can learn to better recognize those who inspirit us, those who make room for us no matter our ‘size’  and who feel like a warm sunny summer morning.

Or maybe for some of us it is a clear spring day?  Or a crisp autumn afternoon? Or a cozy fireside seat on a brisk blustery evening? For each of us the essence will be unique; what’s important is finding out what it is.

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You listen, is what you do.

What do you do, when you meet someone and walk away from the conversation and a little voice inside says, ‘we need to help her’?

You listen, is what you do. 

And you talk about it with someone who is willing to listen to you.

Listen to you share your feeling of being moved by another human being and their misfortune, difficulty, hardship, heartbreak.

You risk feeling vulnerable about caring so much.

You push past the feelings of uncertainty.

And, you listen to those  who encourage you to not lose the moment, to not let it pass.

And then, you do something about it. Get busy. Make something happen.

That’s what happened to me two weeks ago, and it’s one of those things that will leave an imprint on me forever. One of those moments.

Two weeks ago, I was in my neighborhood grocery store and true to form, (I talk to just about anyone) I struck up a conversation with the gal at the check-out. I was in a great mood, it was a Friday night and I had company coming for the weekend. I was there to buy fun food for snacking. Engaging with the woman at the cash register, we slipped easily into conversation about feeling tired, end of the day, end of the week, end of her shift. Recognizing her exhaustion, I asked if she had little ones at home to attend to when the work day came to a close at ten pm later that night. She responded that no, she does not but that she has one on the way, as she gently patted her rounded belly that I had not noticed before. We moved easily into the language between two women who share the wondrous experience of motherhood – no matter that she’s at the wee stages and I am on the cusp of having a decade of motherhood behind me. We are the same, bonded, in that moment. I recognize her fatigue.

I ask questions, and the story spills out of her, bit by bit. She’s on her own in this maze of motherhood she has only just entered. I gingerly ask about support from the baby’s father; not so much. I ask about family support; not so much. I ask about friends, girl friends, someone? She confides that yes, there are a couple of friends on hand, there for her. And that she’s going to have to move. And that she can’t continue with this job, it’s just too physical. Underneath the utterly delightful smile and despite it all, such happy eyes, I can see her exhaustion. She’s on her feet nine hours a day for her job. I can sense in her the looming questions of ‘how is all of this supposed to work’?. Something inside me pinged and panged. I wanted, I needed, to know, that she’s going to be ok. It was just way too easy to insert myself into that place of alone-ness. And only later did I realize that It scared the hell out of me.

I left the store, looking back at her and smiling and said, straight to her, “I will be thinking about you.” 

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I just had no idea how much.

I walked home in the warm fall evening and that little voice said to me, ‘We need to help her” and I had the idea of just putting it out there on Facebook. See what happens. Then something in me started to second guess myself. And then, I was swept up in the busy-ness of the weekend, but though the voice inside was nearly drowned out with other activities and conversations, it kept whispering to me. I shared this experience with my guest and in a quiet, simple comment the message to not let this pass was conveyed. I heard him.

And I didn’t. Let it pass. I wish I didn’t have to say that for some reason I still hesitated, but I do. I hesitated. Why? Perhaps that is for another day, because this story is much larger than that. I pushed beyond and posted a note on my Facebook wall sharing this encounter, with a gentle invitation to my friends if they also felt compelled. 

What happened next still gets me.  Within hours, more than a dozen of friends from around the country responded. PayPal started hopping, requests for my mailing address started and i was again moved, as I watched this take shape before my very eyes. I hesitated? How could I have second guessed this goodness?
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By week’s end, nearly twenty of my trusted friends – who in turn trusted me, trusted my instincts – came forward so readily, with amounts ranging from $10 to $100 each. In the end, our pennies all put together really added up. I was moved at each turn in this process.  Amazed by the momentum. Standing back in awe that others saw what I saw.  Graced by the opportunity be part of something far larger than me. And that my kiddo could witness this greatness unfold over the course of just a couple of days.

I took Kiddo with me and we went to see her. As she walked out from the back of the store, we were met by those same happy eyes and a beautiful smile. She recognized me but had no idea what was coming. I simply asked her if she remembered that I had said that I would be thinking of her. She nodded, a bit perplexed. I handed her two envelopes; one a card with a message from me and the list of first names (and their city) of everyone who jumped on board with me; and a Target gift card for $500. Yes, $500. That will buy a lot of diapers. Or binkies. Or toys. Or whatever she needs.  Wow.

The hugs. The smile. The gratitude. The tears.

Words like miracle. Angels. Gift. Grace.

I was adamant that this was not about me but she insisted on getting my phone number; saying she wants to keep in touch with me and the next day I received the most beautiful, moving, transparent and articulate voice message. It is still on my phone. I am certain that this woman, and her baby [oh, it’s a boy!] will somehow be part of our lives for a long time.

How could I have hesitated?

What do you do when a little voice inside says, ‘we should help her?”

You listen, is what you do.

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The Third Dimension

It’s a common comment among those of us who have been fortunate to have found a sense of, albeit unexpected, community by way of blogging. Finding kindred spirits in the spaces between the keys on our keyboards, by simply joining the conversation, one often started in the quiet of our minds, one that sometimes feels that it is just between our keyboards and fingers. We come across the words of another and find a resonance, something that feels familiar, puts words to something we have felt or experienced but haven’t yet found a way to articulate, or knew that we even could.

It is not news to say, that friendships have been formed, and bonds created, because we dare greatly, in this space. At least, I know that I do. I risk sharing from a place that often finds no other outlet.

To me, blogging is one dimensional at this point.  We write. We read.

If we are lucky our words jump off the screen and into the mind and thoughts of another. Even luckier, when as writers, we find out that our words, strung together like a strand of popcorn on a holiday tree, have an impact on at the very least, one other soul.

Connections are formed, and bonds begin to weave a web throughout blogland. Across miles, states, cities, time zones and even the international date line. We start to recognize each other in ways that both surprisingly and not surprisingly at all, feel so familiar.

Then, with some, we start to go beyond the boundaries of blogland, when we go off blog, ironically. When we realize that our posts, comments and the extra layers of conversation compel us to somehow require more conversation. More than can be contained or conveyed in a comment.

In jumping over state lines from comments to emails and messages, our blogs become two dimensional.

Last year I created my virtual bloggin’ road trip because I knew I needed to know some of these incredible people, I really wanted to take blogging into the third dimension and found the closest way to achieve this, if only virtually. If I could, I would in a New York minute load up my little Triumph and hit the open road, and ring some doorbells.To allow the opportunity for real time talk. In person.

I have just returned home from a trip down the east coast, working my way from NYC through Pennsylvania, and Delaware to end up in Northern Virginia, aka, Mimi’s neighborhood by way of planes, trains and automobiles. I emerged from Union Station in DC, with no need of a taxi or metro because instead, Waiting for me was Mimi and the awesome Karma Truck! Guys, it’s as awesome as it seems!

mimi and bonnie

What a cool moment, seeing her petite but magnanimous self waving at me from behind the wheel as I made my way to her with my 6’4″ nephew in tow, carrying my suitcase like a true young gentleman.  He’s studying at one of my old stomping grounds and I got to buy a poor starving college student a couple of beers at a fancy bar in a fantastic city.

Quick introductions between Michael and Mimi – imagine introducing someone that you are only just meeting?!  Fun! And then quick goodbyes between Michael and I.

How does one describe what happens next? Let’s just say it was awesome. How’s that? Kind of surreal too, let’s be honest, to be inches away, and hear the voice behind the sentences on the screen. The eyes twinkling. The smile on Mimi can light up a room! The mannerisms, the inflection. The conversation that was already real, just got that much more real. And true to form, Mimi wasted no time. In moments, we launched into a conversation that had been started and interrupted on email…Mimi just says, “ok, there is a lot to catch up on. Tell me about…” and off we went. Words flying back and forth. Nodding. Hmm-mmm-ing. Laughing. Agreement. Clarification. More. Stories.  Then, I got to meet Bogey and the Sirs. And Andy. And get a real sense of the amazing person driving that amazing Karma Truck. It was worth waiting for.

In the comfort of Mimi’s kitchen, it was blogging in in 3-D! Face to face. In the same room. Sustained conversation that flowed naturally and freely. I found myself realizing that the posts we have each written and read, are already part of our shared history. As if we had told those stories at that very kitchen table. When the frame of reference predates the time of meeting.

bogey

Bogey – more adorable than I could capture!

At the end of our visit, while taking Bogey out to do his business, I asked Mimi if she had been nervous at all, about my visit. She was not. I was. But not for the reasons you might suspect. Friends of mine who do not blog, expressed mild surprise with  my plan to visit- and stay – with someone I had never met in person. I tried  to explain this community we have, but it’s just not easy. You may have found yourself trying to do the same at some point, and if you have found a way to convey all of this, let me know. Please? I was nervous that in real life, in the third dimension, that I would not be the person she had come to know in the first and second dimensions. That I would possibly disappoint. Mimi has answered that, eloquently and exquisitely, as no one but her can.

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This sits proudly in the cozy room where Mimi’s friends settle in for the night

I will gladly hop aboard the Karma Truck anytime, or wave it down with open arms if I see her come rolling down my street! Thank you Mimi, and yes, Friend:Good. Very good.

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Comfort Creatures

“There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.” 

― Charlotte Brontë

Change and transition are not easy for the strongest among us, and perhaps take their greatest toll on the smallest of us.  In times of upheaval and transition, we are comforted by the familiar, the known, the safe. We want to be surrounded by what  we know and those whom we trust.  The familiar.

My son is truly a trooper and has given me glimpses of what he’s made of.  He’s smart, sensitive, intuitive and well, all the same, a nine year old boy.  The kind who loves to throw a football, giggle at bad words, deliver a curve-ball over the plate, get lost in video games.

And hang with his dudes.

To help ease some of the bigness of life, I got a few of his guys over for a sleep-over this last weekend. It’s called a sleep-over, but really, the boys were just over. Of course, there was some sleep involved, just not a whole lot. My Sunday morning began around 0-six-hundred as I heard something much louder than pitter-patter on the wood floor above me.

sleepover2These are boys that my kiddo has known since baby days and kinder days.

One thing I know, he knows how to pick good friends.

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The time together included dinner in the dark on the sidewalk out in front of the house; al fresco style complete with a flashlight.

Crazy made up games.

Laughing.

Challenges and contests.

Roasting marshmallows over the grill.

Silliness. Pure silliness.

Races in the living room with carpet skates.

A picnic style breakfast while watching YouTube on the tube.

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It’s clear to me, these boys are comfort creatures to my boy. They give him a place to belong. A place where his name is known and his laugh is met with more laughter. A place to trust himself to be nothing but himself.

How young it starts, when we begin to make such a difference in the lives of others.  If only these boys knew the importance of their presence. In time. In time.

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Hometown Girl

The old saying, ‘you can’t go home again’ has some truth to it, as we know.  However we choose to define home, the place where we ‘grew up’   –  whether physically or metaphorically –  we all know that we can’t go back and expect things to be the same, just as they were. Our mind plays tricks on us ; we often remember things as larger than they really were, selectively omit certain details and attach specific feelings to smells and sights.  But, perhaps, we can go home if we understand that we will find a new version, with new layers that add to our memory and the richness of all that we have received from that zip code specifically imprinted upon us.

I grew up in a small town and even as a kid, knew that I would need to stretch my wings in a locale not edged with orchards and one little main street. I’m convinced that came from my parents, who had lived and experienced so much of the world before settling in what became our home town.  Dad had left home at the age of 13, putting  himself through school, jobs; ultimately serving as an Army Colonel in the South Pacific during WWII. The cabinets in our family home contain boxes upon boxes of his military photos, many of which capture him in uniform, touring Sydney, AU and out in the bush of aboriginal New Guinea seated with the natives – and their lack of attire. Post-war, he became a self-made man as the only optometrist in our small town.

Having grown up in Seattle and then San Francisco, Mom was a city girl. And though barely 5 feet tall, she could finagle the worst traffic in San Francisco with the grace of a ballerina and the mouth of a locker-room jock.  She could bully her way into just about any parking spot she had her eye on and then stroll into I. Magnin with no one the wiser; she had exquisite taste in shopping and a culinary gift that clearly has not carried on with me.  And a heart softer and kinder than I can explain in words.

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McDonald Manhattan: 2 parts bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, splash of bitters. On the rocks.

In our home, dinners were often a formal affair, with the table set beautifully with all elements of the proper stemware, silverware and dinnerware. Our mother took great pride in presenting a meal that not only earned her the chops as wonderful chef, but her presentation was always perfect. In her mind, it had to look as tantalizing as it would taste. She would undoubtedly agonize over the details, often wearing herself out and then serving herself last; a true hostess.  Ours was a home where napkins were placed on our laps, cocktails were often served during the 5 – o – clock hour, with hors d’ oeuvres in actual serving dishes, in the formal living room. Ours was a home with a set of every day dishes, a set of ‘nice dishes’, and a set of china.  Ours was a home where people were always welcome, but by golly the house better be clean, all the way down to the baseboards.

We said goodbye to mom nearly 16 years ago, and my father, now 92, still lives in our family home along with my brother, who is beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most patient men I have ever known. He cares for our dad, with the assistance of a part-time care provider, Gloria. Last week was John’s birthday and my son and I hit the road and made the three-hour trek south for the celebration.  The childhood teasing he subjected me to does not merit my mercy, but I will conveniently omit his age [you are welcome John]. But, let it be known that he is my OLDER brother!

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Arriving at my childhood home, and walking into the kitchen, I could not help but notice that the table – the very same dining room table – was set impeccably.  The decor, though decidedly a departure from what my mother would choose, was so well thought out, down to the last detail, and so perfectly created with my brother in mind. Gloria – the mastermind behind this party – had brought items from her home to create a setting fit for the celebration. For family celebrations, my mother would prepare a leg of lamb that as a 12 yr old I knew was special; and Cornish game hens that still make my mouth water when I remember them; and countless other dishes made to perfection. To the same height, Gloria prepared a feast true to her family; two recipes of fantastically homemade enchiladas, beans, rice, salad and more. “Juan” made the salsa and guacamole.  On tap were beer, wine, tequila and drinks for the kids.

My nephew, now 21 and soon to graduate from college, played soccer with my 9 yr old in the backyard, the way that I used to entertain my nephew when he was the only little kid in the room.  Friends from our childhood joined us for the evening and stories ranged from reminiscing of the old days, to forging new ground with sharing about the loss of our parents, and a spouse far too early in life, family dramas and old secrets, our parents’ marriages and world travels.  We exchanged these stories with a fluency only spoken by those who have come up through the same ranks, inexplicably knowing we belong to each other, because our parents had forged the the bonds for us an entire generation ago.  Photos were posted to Facebook and viewed on our phones while sitting 3 feet away from each other, in a living room where as kids we played and hung out, and would never fathom the advent of social networking or smart phones. Shots of tequila were consumed, and with my mother’s every day dishes put aside, we continued to drink and play Mexican Bingo. I quickly became unpopular as I called out “el lotteria’ over and over again. The cards were somehow stacked in my favor; which meant, that everyone else had to drink. While others could walk home, or were home, I had an early drive back the next morning. I needed those wins!

I sat and marveled at this new version of home, my home. My brother’s home. My mother’s dishes serving a beautiful meal that was never part of her repertoire, raucous laughter and banter from an unlikely group that spanned the ages from 9 to 92 and everything in between.  Our childhood friends, and folks I had never met, but hope I see again, all sharing the same dining room table where I had sat as a child. English, Spanish, and probably some Spanglish mixed in.  At one point, I looked over and  my dad was mixing a martini; 10 minutes later in the same spot, my brother was attempting to learn to dance the Salsa, in spite of a knee refusing to let him forget his age,  in the same kitchen where so many of our memories are safely held. And before I know it, my father has produced his trusty harmonica and proves that though his mind is a bit fuzzy most days, his lungs work just fine.

Report from the home front as I write is that the party may have been too much for our Dad; yesterday he had a martini at 3:30 and a bowl of cereal at 5:30. Who needs rules when you are 92!?

It seems plausible to say that it’s true, you can’t really go home again. Everything changes. We change. Physically and otherwise. The streets change, the landscape changes.  It will never be the same as it was, and it really shouldn’t be.

But, after this last visit, I find myself realizing that maybe we can go home, if we can accept that things have changed, that we are different, and when we understand that what we remember will always be with us, a part of who we are.  Perhaps the key is letting ourselves allow our memories to welcome new ones – new stories, new people, new recipes – in layers, like the perfect birthday cake?

Happy Birthday John...you are Juan in a Million!

Happy Birthday John…you are Juan in a Million!

So that, combined, with each layer resting upon the next,  as if held together by the most perfect frosting  – all the delicious life we savor during the years; the joys, losses, comforts, people, perspectives – is the “home”  that we can return to whenever we need to.

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