I have been spending a quiet weekend of introversion, catching up on some much needed alone time and rest. It is cold here, so I carefully ran all of the errands that I would need to do this weekend over the previous week, so that I wouldn’t need to leave the house at all from Friday night through Monday morning. My Beloved, in a deep expression of our differences, has driven six hours north towards all of that famous Buffalo snowfall. He is hoping for an epic fishing weekend, as all the less hardy fisherpeople will have been scared off by the six feet of snow that has demobilized that city and the surrounding area.
It does take all kinds to run the world.
I have been soaking up the quiet, like a pumice stone floating in water. Life has been very busy lately, between the baby shower and concerts and baby education classes and all the doctor’s and dentist appointments, so the chance to sit and nap and read and listen to silence has been a luxury. I have been researching a new writing project, which has filled my time with an artistic exhilaration. Even though I have not yet put more than a single sentence to paper in the actual writing, I am filled with ideas and plot and characterization. I love this part of a project; when all is possibility and excitement. The writing itself is harder than the dreaming, but the dreaming is a great deal of fun. This project is historical fiction, so the idea is that spending some time doing research before starting to write will save a great deal of time down the road. Dreaming and reading and lazying about and thinking justified. Sometimes the rest before the race is what just what you need.
We head down to Virginia on Wednesday for our annual Thanksgiving trip. It is one of my absolute favorite times of the year, when I get to spend several days visiting with some of my oldest friends. We’ve been doing this Thanksgiving celebration for about a decade now and I don’t think I have ever missed it. I’m not technically supposed to go this year, since I’m in the third trimester now, but I figure the emotional benefit outweighs any physical risk. It will be my last trip before the trip to the labor ward.
Over the years, the Thanksgiving crowd has changed and grown, as any family does. The people that I bring with me and leave behind have shifted too, as my own life has fluctuated over the last decade. Yet this one trip every year works as my focal point — reminding me that there are certain parts of my life that stay steady, even when everything else seems in flux. That grounding is more important this year than ever.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom, as is probably natural for a woman in her first pregnancy. Traditionally, I go visit her grave at Arlington Cemetery during this trip, which is an important moment of connection and catharsis for me. It surprises me every year, but I almost always cry when I’m there. Some years, it is the only time I cry all year long. This year, I’m looking forward to my visit, so that I can introduce her to the seven-month-old fetus that I’m carrying around. I think she would have been pleased beyond words by having a granddaughter. I have had a good deal of sorrow that this child will only know one of her four grandparents, since I am so close to mine. I know she will have other people that will fill those roles in her life, but I can’t help but be saddened by it all the same.
I always feel strange talking to a grave. My mom’s ashes are inserted in a cavity in a wall that holds the ashes of many other veterans of this country’s military. It is a courtyard, with granite nooks for ashes surrounding the visitor on all sides. When I put her ashes in the cavity, the nooks were mostly empty. Now, seven years later, the cavities have all filled. Our conversations grow ever less private. I look over the dates on the graves surrounding her and count the ages of her neighbors — I wonder how many other visitors come and see the forty-eight years between her birth and death and are moved to pity…and no small amount of curiosity.
Still, I am looking forward to talking with what remains of her. There are just some things your mother should know, even if she can no longer hear what you have to say.