Sunday, April 21, 2013

On returning

Returning to Nana's
 My mum welcomes these beasts with open arms every time.

What do you do when you need to collapse and step way from life for a day or two? I go to my mum's house. She no longer lives in the house I grew up in (my grandparents actually live in that house now, so I'm still able to visit some of the favourite places of my childhood, like the secret fairy garden that still grows outside what used to be my bedroom window), but because it is where my mum lives, it's home. Occasionally I feel a bit juvenile returning to mum so often, but sometimes it's just exactly what I need.

It could be that she feeds me some of my favourite foods (I'll be there briefly this coming Sunday and I'll be asking her to make this soup again) or that the red wine flows freely (which it does), or even that she loves my girls *almost* more than I do. But it isn't quite any of those things exactly. There is something about being in my mum's presence that just makes be feel strong and it's always been that way, since the beginning of us.

At mum's house there are king-size beds.
Alyce's work of art
Snail and worm, detail

Or maybe that's just what love feels like. Glorious strength, rooted in relationship with another person.That's the only possible explanation for allowing your grandchildren to draw pictures on your pantry walls, right? Only fierce love could do that. That, and drunkenness, which while I promise you there was wine, my mother only gets giggly when she drinks champagne.

Sadly, there was no champagne this weekend. Maybe the next weekend.

Whatever the feeling, whatever the reason I have for returning again and again for short visits (or long ones, but that was just once), this is what I do. When I daydream about Alyce and Shira growing older I always fantasize about those times when they return to me. They'll leave me to explore, to love, to fail, to put one foot in front of the other, but they'll return, or at least I hope they will. I wonder what kinds of food they'll want me to cook, or what special things I'll sneak into their bags as they leave again.

I was taken by this blossoming turnip in my mother's kitchen.

I asked my mum if we could visit last weekend because I told her the girls were missing her. Which they were, deeply. My mum has been written into the foundation of our family, not only because we lived with her for so long last year, but because she comes with me, as I do with her. We are a bit of a package, the two of us. I really wanted to visit because I needed a quick recharging after my interview last Friday (which was hard, but still felt good). The four of us threw ourselves together and drove to Cambridge for a quick sleepover, just time enough to enjoy my mum's home and to feel a little bit more like myself again.

It worked.

Update: This was the post I had intended to publish last Monday, but couldn't. This week's Sunday visit I mentioned above turned into two days, and yes, this time there was champagne, and yes, my mum did get the giggles.

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