We are home together after a weekend of hosting. There is a distinct and palpable emptiness in our home. This is the plight of hospitality. Preceded by thorough cleaning and culmination and filled with deep true community, closed with echo and loneliness of home. It is remarkably true that I have chosen a partner with whom I am more than content to call my home. We take pleasure in this ebb and flow of hosting. However, I feel the emptiness more than I think I should. Why is that? Maybe I’m finally pregnant, maybe my cycle is coming, who’s to say. Maybe I just feel too much.
Samantha was my first kid, I was her nanny when I was just 19. I helped her learn to walk, and talk, clap her hands. and I rocked her to sleep sometimes. She was in central Oregon this week on an outward bound rafting excursion for grieving teens. She is processing the loss of her big brother, we both will always be processing that loss.What a stupid word “processing”. It’s the truest word, but I hate it nonetheless.
She has a way of bringing you in. I was convicted right away of how judgmental I have become. We would see a person in a strange outfit, or a person making a weird face, or acting more excited than seems okay, or a someone making a loud noise and she would look at them and look at me and say “same”; like she was siding with them in some way. I wish I was more like that. We didn’t talk any more about it, just that one word. She recognizes the awkwardness in them as being her own. Most teenagers I know do the opposite, right? Actually grown ups do too. Small word, but a life changing practice.
We went to a dance party while she was here and she knew nobody so she danced like she meant it. There were sparklers and twinkling lights in the trees, and waffles with bacon, real good party. I introduced her to someone I knew, who asked her innocently and politely do you have any siblings. I felt like I got punched in the gut, I wanted to put my wings around her and fly away. Sadly I have no wings, so I can’t fly. She said no I don’t. They said the worst thing next…”Oh how lucky, you don’t have to share your parents with anyone”.I think we changed the subject, and shortly left the conversation for a waffle.
This is not the first or last time she has had to answer that question. She later told me she doesn’t know how to answer. If she says no its like he didn’t exist, if she says yes she has whole blob of questions coming at her next. I think she did the kindest thing she could for them, shielding them from her truth. Another way that she is such a better person than me. I lean more towards vomiting my truth on everyone, thinking that they can help me carry it or make sense of it. (as you well know, you read my uterus blog)
Having a wee guest room has made me a better person these last 3 years. Being a nanny these last 15 years has made me a better person too. When we take a chance on someone, invest a little time or vulnerability in them, we wind up with way more than we spent. I hope you will share your life with someone, even if it costs you some dollars or some hours or some sad empty houseness. What do you have that can make you a better person? How can you spend something on someone that will bring value and depth of connection? This got preachy didn’t it? Its beginning to ring of “moral of the story” after school special.
Truth is: I wanted to tell you about her, about him, about the joy of loving people. Even if they have to leave your house, or the planet you live on. I regret zero of the minutes I spent loving these kids, even though they are not mine, and I can’t keep them. You know the “better to have loved and lost” saying? Its cliche much like the word processing is, and its true. I wish I could make a sentence that tells you how deeply I am moved by this young woman and her big brother, what a life changing gift they have been. I have written 755 words now trying to express it, and I feel that this post lacks the resonating gong vibration that its meant to exhibit.
Tuesday October 11th is my 3rd wedding anniversary. This year it falls on Yom Kippur the Jewish high holy day of the day of atonement. A tradition on Yom Kippur is to light a candle that burns for 24 hours in memory of the dead. These candles are 79 cents available at safeway or really any store, I got mine at City Thrift yesterday. If you want to do that with me next tuesday that would be cool. Lets remember, and lets eat with our tribe and make meaningful conversations and loud laughs. Lets love like we have an endless supply of love, lets live together in community and open ourselves to whatever expense that comes with.