I'm sorry to disappear like that. I get annoyed with bloggers who just drop the narrative like that, and I really try not to do that. Much. Any more.
What happened was that we went away for a vacation. Two weeks with Clay's side of the family, in Washington state, but just barely, because they live on an island in the Columbia River. We love to go there, all of us. Tre calls it one of his homes away from home. The whole family was there, so at one point there were 23 of us, gathered around the matriarch Connie and all, it seemed, talking at once.
When I'm there it feels a little like being dropped into a bubble - surrounded by the people and sights of this, our extra home, with the people who populate this family that has become so much of me. Everything is different, even the cool, damp air and the bright green everywhere. I thought about blogging a couple of times, but I was there, in my bright green bubble, and there I stayed. I didn't even read Mir's blog, and you know if I didn't read Mir, I didn't read anything.
So I am sorry, and I will try, quickly, to catch you up on what has happened over the past few weeks.
Sophia discovered watercolors - and by that I mean she literally discovered a set of watercolors in a cupboard in the basement, and toted them over to me, full of chirpy exclamations of excitement. I set her up with paper and water and some basic instructions, and she proceeded to fill page upon page with enthusiastic swirls of color, one of which she insisted was, "an elephant! A big, HUGE ELEPHANT."
Sophia has also discovered adjectives.
My dad and I drove down to New Mexico to pick up Tre from camp. This year he was a counselor in training, and it was startling to see children run up to him with stars in their eyes, thrilled to introduce him to their parents. He had so fully stepped into the role of mentor, speaking seriously about the counselor's duty to make the camp experience happen for "the kids" that for a while I felt a little shy around him.
The next day he turned 16. I would love to tell you all the reasons why, but suffice to say I am grateful to know him, and gobsmacked to be his mom.
That same day of his birthday, we all got on the plane for Washington. I've already tried to tell you about that a little, but I really don't know how to do it justice.
There was room to run. Even enough room for Sophia, who ran and ran and ran.
And green everywhere. Max, there, wore those sunglasses until his new glasses arrived in the mail. He looked very cool, but when he put his new glasses on, he heaved a huge sigh of relief. Seeing is even better than cool. Even when you're Max.
A few days after we got there my grandmother died. It was not a surprise, and I left home knowing she would most likely not be there when I got back. I could not go home for the funeral - no. That's not true. I could have, but I didn't. I stayed. I wanted to come home to hold my mom's hand, but she told me to stay, and I did. All I did to remember my grandmother is to go for a run all alone, where I rounded a corner and surprised myself by bursting into tears and doubling over to gasp and cry. It was not enough, but I never could do enough for Grandma, and at least she is beyond needing any more.
We spent a few days on the coast. There is nothing like the sight of your baby boy in the ocean to remind you how very big "big" really is.
And how small, precious, and oblivious of their own mortality children are.
There was, finally, after all the business of summer, time to just be. And, especially for Raphi, time to be filthy.
Two weeks is a long vacation. So tell me where, exactly, the time went? There were conversations I still wanted to have. There are people I'm not ready to go back to missing. Jennie was there for one of the weeks, and I got to spend not nearly enough time memorizing the smell of Quentin's head. He is the sweetest, mellowest, happiest baby I've ever seen, and the lack of him around here feels like a physical ache.
Suddenly everyone was gone, and it was time for us to go home too. Dad met us at the airport, and Mom met us at our home, where she had prepared dinner for us. Vacation is only this good when there is so much home to come home to.
Last night, after Mom and Dad went home, I prepared a bedtime snack for a travel ravaged Sophia. She had been melting down with exhaustion and hunger, but calmed down and drank her warm milk and stole a slice of bread from Max's bedtime snack, which she ate plain. When she finished, she turned to me and pleaded, "I want to go to BED." I wiped the milk off her chin and then noticed something on the chair behind her. I lifted her onto one hip and reached out to swipe at the mark on the chair with the washrag in my hand. It was watercolor paint from her painting party a few weeks before.
Life moves pretty quickly from one moment to the next. Tomorrow Tre starts 10th grade. All I can do is hope I don't miss too much.
It's good to be home.