I spent part of today walking up and down the Sherman Way Antique District with the kids, as well as three cousins visiting from the East coast. I hadn't seen my two female cousins since I was in my teens, so it was an interesting dichomoty - sorting through old nicknacks as we pieced together bits of our own varied histories. While most of our visit was spent in small talk, I felt a certain pride that our lives may be varied, but our blood shares similar makeups. We both knew a Nana (my mom's mom, their dad's mom) who cooked for us in her tiny Boston suburb home and hid candy in the top drawer of her "don't touch" dresser near the living room window. They shared stories of driving their van across the country with our 80 year old Aunt J (their dad's, and my mom's, sister) My favorite story was the one about Aunt J. at 3am, peeing on the side of a deserted highway. Women after my own heart, they took a photo her in case a wild boar came along along and swept her away. They also took a picture of the ground she christened for posterity sake. I can see the scrapbook title now: "The Day My Aunt Whizzed Like a Race Horse".
Tonite we had a little farewell dessert at my mom's house for my cousins and Aunt J. My dad's sister came to meet my cousins, as well as one of my sisters and her boyfriend. As James raced around after the kids and I took photos, I was struck with a bit of sadness that they were leaving so soon. I see my mom's eyes in my aunts eyes. I see a bond that comes from a lifetime of sharing stories and just hanging out. And I know that in a few hours, my aunt is making the long journey back home. Who knows when these two will just hang out and drink coffee again.
The subject led to family being there for each other... And how much society has changed these days: in particular the idea of making appointments to see people. My dad's sister and I have a different view on that topic, and both of us defended our points strongly. While I was mad at first that her view was of the "don't come without calling", I have to say that she's more in line with how society feels than I am. Even my best friend, Cecelia, has told me to not come without notice. I suppose that I forget most people don't publish their innermost thoughts on the internet, and that's okay.
But it's not me to be so private. And isolated. And I want all my friends reading to hear this: If you're having a bad day, come over. I might have laundry, or the dog might be sick, but my coffee is your coffee. My demons are your demons. I am a real person living a real life, and sometimes kids throw up. And sometimes James and I fight. And I might say "Now's not the best time, what's up?" And if you say "I just wanted to hang out" I'll be honest and say that another day is better. But if you're sad over something catastrophic, like Starbuck's ran out of coffee, then by all means, sit down and use my tissues. Just move the bills out of the way. And the vacuum. And the red sock I was looking for since last Wednesday.
To give my aunt and Cecelia their due (because I always see both sides of the situation, making me both a very understanding person and also a major wimp) I probably wouldn't be talking to my friends and family if we didn't have these unwrittten rules of behavior. Good fences make good neighbors. But sometimes I'm sad when I see my aunt and mom getting older and I think about where I'll be in ten years and wish everyone's fences didn't need a code to get in.
Maybe I can sell myself on Sherman Way. I'm kind of wacky, in fairly decent condition, and my thinking about social visits is definitely antique.
PS: Part of my cantakerous mood is due to major PMS, so if you are thinking of stopping by, while you're welcome, it's not advised. In fact, I'd not only put up a fence around me, I'd get some cement blocks. And barbed wire. It's just not pretty.