June 24, 2014 § 2 Comments
Twelve years ago, we moved into our house, the second owners of a 1922 bungalow with a million repairs and urgent updates. I can still see the gold sparkled pink cherub wallpaper that graced the bathroom with the shower stall we liked to refer to as “the abandoned summer camp shower.” Still, we made it through the closing with a few pennies left and dragged our kids, then five and one, to the house every night to pull up carpet, paint, and imagine. My friend Judy stopped by to see the house. I had a diapered, curly headed Jack Henry on my hip, paint spattered on my hands, and I was calling to Cole to stay in the thick green yard. It was late July or early August, but not too sticky to sit on the porch somehow. I was about to quit nursing my baby and start teaching part time.
“Oh, Stephanie!” Judy said. (You have to imagine here the most mellifluous South Carolina accent. It makes just about everything Judy says seem magical and important) “Your life will never be this full again.”
The words struck me as a relief right then. I could get through all the change and the busy-ness. I could make this place a home. The kids would be all right. Things would let up.
Those things did let up, but whenever something eased, my life always filled with something new: the house got painted (enough) and the kids grew. I worked myself into a full time job, then into grad school, then eventually into another full time job. Jeff taught and made art; I wrote. The kids grew. They went to school. My Dad died, then my Mom. Jeff’s mom got sick. The kids grew and filled the evenings with sports and clubs and schoolwork. Finally, which is why I’m thinking about this now, Cole graduated and is scheduled to leave for college in two months. For a minute, I thought I felt the old rubber stopper pull, but thankfully, it hasn’t emptied anything yet.
I realize now, closer to fall, what Judy really meant and what I felt on that summer day was the ripe lushness of my life, the full upcoming harvest of it. For years, I would hope for just one minute to be bored, but now I don’t want that. I want everything to stay as full and chaotic as it ever was.