I had it made as a kid. Our house was overflowing with the kind of energy that sustains greenhouses and colonies of happy puppies. It was a sitcom of ages. Three generations living under one roof. All parenting done by the person standing in the kitchen at the time; whomever was closest to the fridge. Every one of us was at some point the mom. We each found Tylenol for the other at 2am and a cold washcloth from the same white-chipped metal doors. All six of us were eventually the dad. Broken curfews were met with locked doors and bolted windows. Plenty of us were the children. It's a pretty sh*tty night of sleep in the back of a Chevrolet.
We had the slow and wise patriarch - grandfather as he checked that windows, doors, and hormonal teenage grandchildren were locked in for the night.
We had the bountiful love of our matriarch - grandmother whose food preparations, constant laundering, and perpetual light singing was the soundtrack of all those good years.
We had a witty and beautiful maiden (my mom) sleeping downstairs by 7pm because she was up with the mosquitos for work in the city.
We had sheer strength and sweet impulsivity of my uncle Jimmy who walked out of his bedroom room playing air guitar with no less than three cats perched on his shoulders.
We had boyish dirt bikes, Samantha Fox posters, and the wafting of Drakkar Noir as my brother flew out the door to meet up with his girlfriend.
We had it all.
The days became months became years and as time so often does, our courses trickled away from home. Even still, we returned (to live, to visit, to listen to Cat Stevens on the record player) all the time and surged on as pulsing arteries from the same beating heart.
You can't forget a past like that. You don't want to.
My grandparents have been gone for twelve years yet I still measure out water and oil with my grandmother's Fire-King measuring cup. So I can hear her singing. Nobody has been allowed to tune their piano because I haven't wanted it opened up just yet. Preserving my sacred..
A few Guideposts and an old leather coaster sit atop my grandfather's circular gold-in-lay table from his time serving in India. Whittled from an artist's hand and crafted so well it has withstood seven of my own military moves.
All these things are just things but I won't leave them yet. I will bring them all forward with me for as long as I can. Roots grow stronger as they spread.
Today is the year anniversary of Jimmy's death. Those words together still look preposterous. As if anything could ever make him gone. Not a chance in this imprinted heart of mine. I will bring him forward with me, in the way I skip dinner, open doors for children, sing when people are crying, and work on behalf of those who need someone. Nothing will ever change that. Not even death.