21 September 2010

Fall, the library

The nanny called in sick today. For about a half a nanosecond, I thought about trying to get my mom to come watch this kids this morning, then I thought better of it and put my pajamas back on.

I had told Maddie and Riley that we could go to the donut shop this morning; my intention was to take some treats to work to ease the blow of a first-thing-in-the-morning meeting, plus I'm always looking for an excuse to go on a pre-work bike ride. Even though the "need" to bring treats to work had been obviated, we still hopped on the bike—in our pajamas (yoga pants and sweatshirt for me, the out-in-public acceptable version of pajamas)—and got our donuts. Then we came home and put on real clothes and went to the library.

Our closest branch library didn't open 'til noon today, so we drove to a larger outpost and arrived five or so minutes before it opened. Lots of parents, mostly moms, were milling around outside, the bulk of them with little ones who were pre-talkers, emerging walkers, diaper-wearing, dyed-in-the-wool toddlers. I was struck by how old Maddie and Riley were in comparison, so tall, so lean. Our time-killing conversation was about the poster near the library door with information about a teen runaway, light-years away from the meanderings and declarations of "Oops!" from the younger crowd.

Leaves are starting to fall from the trees, and the morning was cool. The smell of the crushed foliage brought me right back to New England. Fall in New England is as glorious as any glossy tourist brochure would have you believe. The slant of the light, the crispness of the air: I don't think I'd felt such a longing for Boston in the year since we'd left as I did in those few minutes in front of the library this morning. I have no doubt that I'm where I'm supposed to be, but when one lives a nomadic life in one's twenties, and when one is blessed (a word I tend not to use, but in this case is entirely appropriate) enough to have a large circle of friends spread all around the globe, there is simply no way to be everywhere one wants to be in any one given moment.

And so in those moments this morning, I wanted to be in Boston, to walk the Minuteman trail with my New England friends, to smell the leaves that are the very definition of autumn. I watched the mothers outside the library today soothe their cranky babies, harkening back to that age with Maddie and Riley, to my need to be out of the house and on some kind of schedule, to my tenuous, coffee-fueled grasp on wakefulness. We are a world away from those days, physically and emotionally. I don't miss those days, but I fiercely miss the people who got me through those days. I want to share with them our life now, not through words, but in person. I want them to see what our life has become, to look forward with us to what we might discover. I want to be in two places at the same time.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of curious as to why you are never happy with what you have? Seems that you're always longing for something more. :( You kind of remind me of those who feel that the grass is always greener on the other side. Yet when they get to the other side, they are longing for something else. We create our own happiness, and it starts by being thankful for what we have.

Anonymous said...

I know that exact feeling. We've moved a lot over the past 20 years (military family) and now there are two other places that feel like home to me, in addition to the place I live now.

I really wish I could smoosh all three places together, joining all three coasts together in the process!

BiancaW said...

In South Africa this is a common story. We all leave in our mid 20's to "see the world", often meeting our life partners in another country. That, coupled with so many people choosing to leave our shores, for many, many reasons, our families are spread world wide. US, Canada, Europe, NZ, AUS - its so very, very hard!

I have cousins, who we GREW UP with, who have children the same age as mine that we never see, and may never see again. They have moved and made a life for themselves in Australia. I am happy for them, as I have no desire to leave, but goodness what I would not give to be able to pop over for a play date or a BBQ (remember - we call it a braai).

So - after much rambling - what I am saying is - I get what you are saying.

Jill said...

I think we need to be able to travel much faster. If there was a way to get across the country in an hour I would do it all the time.

SarahB said...

I've been feeling the same way about Boston, feeling the nostalgia at the start of a school year, though I'm not in school.

Sandi said...

OK--I'm so glad you clarified yoga pants because no adult should be outside her home in pajamas unless she is in the hospital. It's one of my fashion rules, like no visible panty lines...ever.

CV said...

Sandi - you should probably avoid me then. I can be seen regularly taking out the trash in my pajamas, most of my clothes look like pajamas, and my panty-lines could be used to signal air-traffic.

Snick - we miss you, too. Even though I can't see it in person, I do so look forward to what you guys will discover.

kateypie35 said...

I went to college in Boston, and every single fall I get that same longing. There is just something about autumn in Boston - the crisp air, the sunshine, the colors, shopping for some new fall suede boots on Newbury Street...nothing else compares! It is painful, missing something like that - even when you are perfectly happy right where you are. (ok, I am lying, no one can be perfectly happy in Delaware. Pfft.)

Kizz said...

I have a good friend who lives in Oklahoma. I am in Brooklyn. We joke a lot about wishing we could move the two next door to each other because we both love where we are but miss each other. Last week there was a tornado in Brooklyn. I think we might be making progress on our wish...

Snickollet said...

@first Anon:

I'm quite happy with and thankful for what I have! I just tend to blog about things that cause tension for me as a way to work through them. The blog is a rather skewed view of the inside of my head.

-snick

Saundra said...

a real great post!

Anonymous said...

@first Anon: One can be thankful for what one has and still catch a longing for a specific place and people that she loves. Certain moments trigger memories and feelings, including longing and gratitude for old friends. It is part of being alive, and Snick writes about it beautifully. Why is missing amazing friends a negative thing?

Anonymous said...

I think writing is a wonderful way to work through feelings and it is one of the things that keeps me coming back to your blog. I think you capture your feelings beautifully. I can think of so many times in my life where I have been "happy" but a particular moment has brought to mind another time or place and caused me to feel a longing for that time or place. I love what you said.

OTRgirl said...

Ah, fall in New England. I've never experienced its equivalent. It truly is a glorious season. I think it speaks well that you've carved out a rich life in each of your homes and that there's something TO miss.

I'm already anticipating how much I'll miss the life I've carved out here, even though I look forward to the adventure of exploring a new one, too.

Just catching up and I was happy to read about your slow-building new dating relationship. It sounds warm and fresh (like just baked bread). I like that for you.

Anonymous said...

I understand exactly what you are saying. I often recall earlier and difficult years of my life, and imagine I have the ability to transcend the years and whisper in my own younger-self's ear, "It all turns out okay. Happiness will be there for you..." I always feel for that girl that came before ...

On another note, every other Tuesday I take my toddler granddaughter to the public library, and we usually arrive a few minutes before opening time. Big difference where I live (Santa Cruz CA), though ~ it's the crowds of homeless waiting to get inside for the day that we observe. I am always relieved that the children's section is on a separate floor.

Leslie

Anonymous said...

Truly, never anything like fall in new England. Newbury at, the Charles, Cambridge...haven't lived there in 5 years, but still miss it (though California is lovely!)

Anna said...

Oh, exactly. We just arrived home on Sunday from a week in Boston/Cambridge and even thought I'm happy to be back it was so hard to leave. That city just feels like home to me and I so wish I could be in both places somehow. BTW, Baby J is adorable - with a little mohawk of curls!

KathyB said...

We miss it too! Fall in New England is my favorite season anywhere, and Florida is definitely not the same! But I am looking forward to experiencing a southern winter with no shoveling!
Love to check in every now and then and see how you're doing. We'll make it to Portland someday...

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully written post. Although our lives are so very different, we have some of the same thoughts. You just articulate them fifty times better than I ever could. Thank you.