Somewhere over the rainbow.

Tuesday, June 29th 10 at 2:57 am 1 comment

It’s hard to believe it’s practically July already. I’m going to be twenty-six in less than a week. And that is even harder to believe. I still experience a strange sort of disbelief every year on my birthday. “Am I really that old?” It’s bizarre to me that I am nearly thirty. I’m not worried about it though. Being young and a twenty-something is over rated. Not that 26 is even close to being “old,” not by a long shot. But I like being this age. I’m enjoying life so much more now than I did five or seven years ago. It’s so much more interesting. I like planning my future and wanting a baby and thinking of where is the right place to raise a family and caring about politics. I like knowing who I am and feeling secure and not confused. I like realising that Kristi is more than my girlfriend – that we’ve been together for almost five years and she is more than a partner, more than a girlfriend. I like listening to music that’s older than me and doing it because I love it so much I can’t swallow; instead of how all the messy hippie kids did in high school when they listened to Phish and the Grateful Dead because they liked to smoke pot before art class. I like having life experiences and I like that I feel like I’m getting smarter as I go along.

I like being this age and I like that there’s (hopefully) a lot more years to come than have passed. I’m excited about sitting here four years from now and thinking about how cool it is to be thirty and how I can’t wait to see how much cooler than my twenties it will be. I’m excited to have another block of memories – good ones and even sad ones – and milestones to come to. I’m excited to have a five year old that I can explore with and learn with and teach and experience his universe. So go on and keep your youth; I’ll take experience and wrinkles like a road map of my life any day.

That turned into a bit of a tangent, didn’t it?

Earlier this month Kristi and I received a visit from my mom and her boyfriend. It was short, but a good visit. She’d just spent three months in jail for her previous indiscretions and I was happy to see how much healthier she looked. It was also the first time I’ve spent time with my actual mother since my Gramma died almost six years ago. I haven’t seen her sober and unintoxicated in a very long time and it made me feel good. I missed her. However, she gave me some news that was surprising in every single way. As it turned out, my great-grandmother, who I called Nanny, had died. Of cancer. A month before. I was baffled as to why my Poppa didn’t feel it necessary to fill me in on this information. In fact, the truth is, I’m still rather unhappy with him for it. But I digress.

After my Gramma died I spent a lot of time thinking about how much less broken I’d be if it had been Nanny that died. That’s the most horrible thing to think about someone in your family, I know. I have no excuses for such deplorable thoughts and the truth is I’m still ashamed of it.
When I was very little, Nanny and I were extremely close. I used to spend a ton of time over at her house. I’d sit under the butcher’s block and hit it with miniature tools; I spent countless hours in their big leather recliners watching Disney cartoons; I played my first game of computer solitaire at her house. I would stay the night and we would lay awake in the dark and tell jokes and stories and she would scratch my head with her long fingernails. Six years ago as I stood over my Gramma’s hospital bed and wept as I said my goodbyes, Nanny came up behind me and placed her hand on my shoulder. “That’s enough,” she said. The relationship all of us had with her had thinned immensely over the previous seven years for various reasons; but at that moment she had turned into a completely different person to me. Someone she’d never been to me before. I felt as though she was hurrying me through the hardest moment of my life and telling me to quit my blubbering. It was something that I never forgave her for.

The last time I saw or spoke to her, I’m fairly certain, was at my Gramma’s memorial service on October 26, 2004. I spent a lot of time in the following months being angry and most of my time in the following years forgetting she existed in my life at all. I used to think that when she died, it wouldn’t affect me – that it wouldn’t make me sad or that I wouldn’t shed a tear. When my mom told me, the initial shock and disbelief stunned a few tears out of me. But later as I sat alone at work and couldn’t stop thinking of it, it dropped down on top of me like a weight. Someone I knew and once loved very much was gone. She was gone before I could tell her that despite it all, I did love her somewhere inside me. She was still someone who meant a lot to my growth. There is a sadness because of it that permeates much of my moods lately. There remains a huge disbelief. I cried much more than I ever imagined I’d be capable of. I just hope that as her last thoughts of me came and left through her mind before she drew her last breath, that she knew I loved her. Even if the memories were twenty years old.

On the other hand however, we also received a fantastic visit from my Aunt Jenny and Uncle Don this weekend. They’re on a trip across the country in a van from New York and rerouted their plans to make room for a few hours with us. I’ve spent more time with them in the last two years than I have with the rest of my New York family in the last ten years. It’s something that saddens me a lot, but I loved so much having the chance to spend a few hours with them. Talking and laughing and hearing stories and learning about my family. I found myself missing my father, the rest of my aunts and cousins, my grandmother so very much that it’s just an ache.

Another thing I love about being this age is being able to interact with my family in a new way. Just sitting and talking with my Aunt Jenny about everything possible felt so good to me. I sort of feel like I barely know that part of my family (which I suppose is basically true), and it was sort of like learning about her from scratch. Although at the same time, it wasn’t. Because when I think back to my summers spent back east with my dad and the time I spent with my cousins at their house, I always remember my aunt as nurturing me.

I remember one particular summer when she bought me a sketchbook and some pencils. I suppose that was probable the last summer I was there. But I remember her caring so much about giving me this book and encouraging me to fill it. And I did. I did a lot of drawing in that sketchbook, that summer especially. I know it’s still floating around in my things – full of simple, shading free portraits of the people I loved then. One memory so vivid in my mind is that of sitting on the floor before my Grandma’s coffee table and drawing a picture of Jewel by candlelight because the power was out. Jewel’s cd Spirit and my Aunt Jenny’s sketchbook: those were the most important things to me the summer of 1999.

And still nothing had changed. The four of us sat at the table and talked about everything possible, but when the conversation came around to what I wanted to do and schooling, I was fifteen again. And she was encouraging me and telling me how achievable my dreams are. Even if I still barely know what those dreams are. She and I sat in the backseat of their van on the way back from dinner and she said to me, “I think if you decided to go back to school you’d find that you had a lot of support from your dad and us.” It was something I’ve always known in the back of my mind. But hearing her say it to me – it just made me want to cry from love.

I’m satisfied with where my life has taken me for the most part. I wouldn’t want change anything that has led me to Kristi. However, I wish more than anything that I’d always had that in my every day. I have this huge and incredible extended family and the fact that I hardly know them at all… it just literally breaks my heart. But knowing that they’re there – knowing that they’re mine – well, that makes it all a bit better, doesn’t it.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

30 Days: Day 25 21.08.2010

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Kevin  |  Wednesday, July 7th 10 at 8:16 am

    Beautiful post.

    Reply

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