Remember When

When I woke up this morning, I was sure I had something to say today…certain there was a post in here somewhere.  But the day was filled with things like a big grocery shop, and stripping beds, washing windows and clearing away dust bunnies.

You see, my son is coming home for a visit tomorrow, so there was lots to do.

Now it’s dark, and I’m curled in the armchair underneath the window in his room.  It smells wonderfully fresh and clean in here, the combination of  bed linens dried in the late summer sun and the Murphy’s Oil Soap we used on the baseboards and mini-blinds.  I’ve cleared off the desk top, stowed away the various bookstacks (which grow even faster than the boy who used to inhabit this space once did), made some room in the closet.

He only comes home about once a year now, and so I’m thinking about the things that change in that length of time.   And because I tend to be just a tiny bit melancholy, my thoughts turn to loss.  Last fall when he was home, we had just lost my mother in law.  This year, my uncle is gone. 

Our lifestyles have changed too, for Dad no longer has a job to occupy his time, is home all day everyday, and has started doing things like laundry and shopping and taking the dogs for their walk.   And now Mom goes to work everyday, and stumbles in the door at 6:00, frazzled and tired from dealing with the demands of the world, in need of a place to put up her feet and sit quietly for a while.

So,  my son steps back into this life that was once his, even as it recedes farther and farther from him with each passing year.  I wonder if it’s not so much like coming home anymore, but more like taking a trip down memory lane.  For our conversations now often begin with “Remember when?” rather than “Guess what’s new?”   He’s been gone from here 11 years this month.  Before long, he will cross that invisible line that marks more of his life lived away from home than the meager 18 years he spent here in it.

In the past few years, I have become filled with a deep and abiding love for this life, right here.  Perhaps because I’m starting to see it slip away…as people and places disappear in equal  measure with the gray hairs appearing on my head.  I want to grab hold of all that this house means to me – all the days that were so perfect and I didn’t even know it.  I want to reach back and hang on to them for dear life, not let them get away this time.

But I can’t. 

So I hope to be more conscientious about the moments to come, to cherish each and every one, no matter how small and ordinary it might seem.  For those moments are the stuff of real life, and it’s real life that is so very precious.

Perhaps that’s what I wanted to say all along.

How about you?  What are you remembering right now? What moments are you cherishing?



12 thoughts on “Remember When

  1. Though I’m tired and out of sorts tonight, I’m cherishing this moment, right now. I’m content.

    I hope your visit with your son is full of good memories, both the kind you remember now and those you’ll remember later.

  2. Well, Becca, I am thinking about the things you say regarding your son who is about to have lived more of his life away from home than in it. Eiyiyi. Our son is at university, in his third year, a campus to whic he transferred this fall which takes him even farther from home. I am trying to get used to it. I am trying to keep the house from seeming “old.”
    I followed every word of this entry, listened and understood.
    And like you, I love our home. Love being here even as changes swirls around us.
    I’m just saying hi, I get it, I so get it, even across the miles.
    Enjoy your weekend with your house filled up!

  3. Around here… cherishing the back to school moments: making up lesson plans, preparing course packs, buying new pens and notebooks. Good stuff.

    I hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend!

  4. Our son’s have been gone from home about the same length of time, Becca. It was so difficult to leave our last home because it was the place my son spent most of his childhood and the place where he grew into manhood. Recently I’ve been looking to the future a little more. I hope you have a wonderful and satisfying visit with your son, Becca. Enjoy the time.

  5. Ah, yes. My daughter’s been away from home for a length of time now that I cherish every second I’m with her. Like you, I see my only child once a year, twice if I’m lucky. Love this post. 🙂

  6. When I went home again, my mother fixed up my old room and I found myself back in a place I knew as a child, a high school student and a college student. To some extent, we all tried to re-create the past as though–like the kids in the Blondie cartoon strip–we all stayed the same age.

    But life around us changed. As you mention, people died. Or they had troubles, some to be mentioned and others not. The future was ahead of me, filled with goals, but as my folks grew older they looked back into the past more and more often. I shall try not to do that when I reach the age they were when I last saw them.


  7. ‘…all those days that were so perfect and I didn’t even know it…’ left me speechless.

    It made me look back and think, and I realized that yes, yes, there have been many of those days. Many more than I realized.

    A beautiful, meaningful post….I absolutely love it.
    Words to hold close to my heart. You are one inspiring lady.


  8. Oh, Becca, this is one of the most poignant and evocative posts I’ve read in a long while. It touches a chord — the chord of “not being able to go back there anymore” as well as the chord of having one return and things have changed. When Rick had to move his office back home (we are in a new economy, aren’t we?), it went in the kids’ room. Slept in only on Christmas, it made sense. But it was so different. I do hope you have the most wonderful time with your son.

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