Growing up, we used to make collages in the summer. In the fall, too and winter, but summer yielded the most treasures. Seashells, dried seaweed, rocks of all colors and formations. Flower petals and sea glass... We'd sit at my parents' dining room table and scotch tape everything to paper and hang them all around the house until the petals disintegrated and the shells started to stink and the rocks fell off the paper and onto the floor.
Before leaving for our trip I bought a case of Mason Jars with the intent to bring a couple of them with us so the kids could fill them with treasure - souvenirs they could put on their shelves to remind them of their trip. Then I thought twice and oh, yeah, glass? Isn't... ideal for travel. So I brought gallon sized bags for them to use instead. Temporarily, until we got home...
Archer was choosey - collecting only certain kinds of shells while Fable, in all her Fableness took great big handfulls from the shoreline, pulling out the broken pieces and then putting them back because even the broken pieces were beautiful. Truth.
The day after we returned from our trip, Fable asked about the jars. She was with me when we shopped for the stickers and the glitter glue and the masking tape and the jewels to decorate and label the jars and she held her bag against her face at 7:30am, the morning after we arrived back in LA and asked, "Now?"
I set the table, complete with picnic-y cloth that I found in the dollar section at Target and poured myself a cup of coffee.
We brought a bag of sand from Provincetown and the shells they collected. I put out the flags from David's graduation and the leis and maps of Boston and our Red Line ticket stubs and watched the kids fill their jars with the tangible evidence of our adventures.
Fable loves crafts. She lives for crafts. So much so that even after she and Archer decorated their jars, Fable asked to decorate alllllll of the jars. Every one. She covered them with stickers and jewels and letters until the stickers were gone and blank sheets littered the outside table.
(Fable became Fapunzel somewhere between jar #2 and #6)
"Will she remember this?" I wondered, watching her from the kitchen window. Will she remember the day she spent hours decorating jars with stickers?
And where do I store all of these jars?
"We'll give them to all of our friends," Fable said, and one by one, they have been disappearing with the guests who have come and gone this week. Tamara took the one covered in jewels and Archer's friend's dad got the jar with the raccoon stickers and my parents got a lovely pair covered in random letters and hearts.
And in their rooms, Archer and Fable's jars found a home - maybe just for the summer or in an ideal world, forever... filled to the brim with sand and shells, ticket stubs and maps and the leis from their uncle's graduation... memories of the time they spent in Boston and Cape Cod, Summer 2013.
GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Fable said this to my brother when we left her and Archer with him to go for a walk. It was the end of the week - the day before we got on an airplane and came home and when we walked into the house, freezing in our hoodies, David pulled me aside to tell me the story of Fable and how she looked up from the game as they were playing.
This feels like a dream I have when I'm sleeping.
I've felt off all week. There are so many reasons for this... Cooper's death has been extremely difficult for me and I can't not hear him at night. He howls to come in and when I get to the door he isn't there. But I swear I just heard...
We missed Archer's last week of 2nd grade and Fable's last week of preschool and I feel unresolved. Unfinished business in the form of folders overflowing with artwork and music sheets for the Spring recital Archer wasn't there to perform.
I'll perform for you anyway, Mom. He tells me and busts out the moves to My Girl.
I got so much honey that the bees envy me...
I sing along and he tells me to stop.
My birthday's on Monday and I'll be thirty-two years old. The inverse of my most important year. Twenty-three was when I got pregnant, got married, gave birth to this family... what now? What are you doing now, Becca? What's your plan? What do you mean you don't have a plan?
A friend of mine recently struck gold. I cross my fingers. Keep writing. Keep going. You will get there someday. Do not envy. There is room for everyone, here. There is room for all of us and all of them and every idea. If you build it they will come. Keep building. Build as high as you can and do not be afraid of the fall...
I hate coming home from trips. I don't like to use the word "hate" but it's a problem, this strong disdain. A problem I forgot about because we travel so infrequently.... I used to come home from trips and immediately plan for the next one. And that was my life. That was what was important to me. Making enough money at home so that I could get back on an airplane and leave.
"I'm going to travel the world forever!" I used to say. Roots are like shackles. Rent's up, go forth!
And every time I dip my foot in different waters I am paralyzed with the knowledge that I must remove said foot. I must back slowly toward home. And now I'm here. And I love here, but I also love leaving... it feels good to get outside. Let's all go outside! The lighthouse is that way. Just a little farther down the road, quick, get your shoes on!
Cape Cod was beautiful. Provincetown was a dream I had when I was sleeping. Fable was right. And going through these photos last night was like sitting under a bucket of smelling salts with faces. Because everyone was together then and now we're all back to being scattered around the country. In homes of our own working jobs like human beings that are real and not just make believe.
Sometimes it sucks to be real. It sucks to exist outside of the chalk drawing, wake up...
And now I'm awake and I'm here and it's summer time and I don't know what I'm doing with my life and my kids are all home and my dog isn't here and I can't tell which sounds are real and which are in my head and I want to run through Monday like a sprinkler.
"See you at Christmas," my kids said to my sister as she hugged them goodbye.
Everything was perfect there... how do we go back?
"We can't go back."
That's the shitty thing about adulthood... saying those four words over and over and calling ourselves broken records as we do and "what's a record, Mommy?"
If only we could go back...
It's good to be home, I tell myself. Over and over until I remember those words are true. That the dreams we have when we're sleeping are what keep us going when we're awake.
And yet... Wouldn't it be amazing to buy a big camper and pack up the kids and just... ride.
We could sell our house and buy a B&B on the eastern seaboard somewhere. Live in a sandy old house with wicker chairs...
Let's move into a lighthouse and grow beards and drink soup and sleep on the floor in sleeping bags until we die. WAKE UPPPP!
I'm up, I'm up! Okay, okay.
I'm up and we're up. At normal times now. Bodies once again acclimated to the changes and the changing back. And now we have all of these incredible moments we get to wet our hair with as we go about our days. As we work toward new goals, tear out old pages, look forward to day trips and the beaches where the sun sets instead of rises, the end.
Meanwhile, the roots hang loose around our ankles like friendship bracelets. Goodnight, until tomorrow...
But it was so beautiful there and everyone was so happy.
"Dream on. Dream away," someone once said. And that someone was Color Me Badd, sure. But oh, that melody plays in my head at the moment. In all of its early 90s harmonious glory.