Tag Archives: nostalgia

Happy Father’s Day

IMG_20100912_130151dadDear Dad,

I have been thinking about you all day. Then this evening while I was on the computer checking my messages, I saw that so many friends had written notes or posted photos of their fathers. It was sweet and thoughtful and fun, and I too wanted to send my message of love and remembrance. So I reviewed the photos that I took of you right before you died. It has been almost four years. There you are wearing a salon cape as the hair dresser cut your hair at your condo. You were too sick to leave your condo but you were expecting a visitor. You looked shaggy, and I knew that you had always looked put together in the past. You were proud of your looks and always looked good. You would want to be presentable to your guests. So I called the hair dresser to do a home visit. I was sad that you hadn’t had enough personal care, but glad that I could do this one small gesture of care for you. You were wearing the cape and I said “Let’s take a picture” and to my surprise you didn’t refuse. Instead you gave me a big cheesy grin. A grin that I felt was from your five year old self. How fun, how intimate. I saw a part of you that you had hidden from me. I cherish those moments before your death, even if we were not having long conversations. It was more just the being of togetherness.

Mimi came to me in one of my meditations. She told me that she had been a hands off mother with you. She was shy and reserved and didn’t know how to be close to you. She always thought that because you had a twin, that you would manage okay. And you did, but she was sorry that she was a bit cold in her mothering approach. And then in turn, you were a bit reserved and cold in your fathering approach to me. Was that the pass-down legacy effect? Did I have to work hard to get closer to my children so that I wasn’t reserved and cold with them too?  But now I feel you acknowledge my work and your love for me. I feel that we are closer now and have more mutual respect for each other.  There has been a healing between us that came on the spirit level but is nonetheless true and powerful. I love you. Happy Father’s Day.

Re-membering our Youth in Chewelah

Chewelah yurtWe were young and in love and had our sights set on buying some cheap land and building a house on that land. Or at least my husband’s intention was focused on that result. I was the tag along and I was newly pregnant. The first piece of raw land that we looked at backed up to the Wallowa Mountain range, and it looked way too steep, way too remote, for me in my present state. I wanted to know, where was the hospital? And how big was that tiny town of Joseph anyhow? So the realtor there suggested we travel to the Colville Valley, which he pronounced Coal-ville. And if he were younger and not so tied down that’s where he’d go. So we packed up our two dogs, jumped into our green Dodge pickup, covered by a Conestoga wagon top over the pickup bed (hand crafted by Chris). And then we travelled up route 395, in the month of May. We crested the hill that looks down into the valley, that held the town of Chewelah, and it was green and lush and beautiful. And I knew that that would be a good place to stay.

And we did. Chris found us a piece of raw land, not quite as cheap as in Joseph, but still only $333 an acre and the town was a bit bigger and had a hospital! We built our yurt that summer so that we had a home for our daughter. We met our neighbors and were introduced to the community of twenty year olds who also wanted to build their own homes, on a piece of land, have babies, swim in the lake, and start a community. We each came for different reasons, from different parts of the country, running from families, or moving forward to learn new lessons. Some of us stayed many years, some of us left wanting to explore other locations or bigger cities. But we gathered together for a sharing that still keeps us connected even today, even if we don’t see each other, or call, or write, or hang out. We are still heart connected. And I loved our land there, our sixty acres, and I grieved when we left, but I also knew that my husband and I needed to explore other parts of ourselves, to stretch out of our comfort zones.

A good friend compared our experience in Chewelah to that of being in the womb. It was a time of nurturing and developing, re-growing our youth. Maybe we were all there to re-learn how to be family together, how to connect with each other and with ourselves. We didn’t want the standard rules, so we came to a small community where we could make up our own new rules. We healed, we loved. And we all came from someplace else, so we were the outsiders to the townies. But I believe that we have known each other in different lifetimes and we all gathered to say hello again and share the raising of our families together. We had fun; lots of belly laughs, by the lake, sledding in the snow, watching the children grow and learn, sharing holidays together.

When we remember an event from the past and color it with our descriptions, the feelings of those times come back to the surface of our consciousness. When we are able to put ourselves back into our past, pat it into shape with our memories, we color our present with those memories of love and fun and light and laughter. We are re-membering our pasts by bringing together old pieces of ourselves. It is one way to renew and review our youth. It is a way to bring our youth into the present, and time travel.