Though our dream to move to the mountains took shape 25 years ago this spring (after we lost the baby), we continue to return to the sea at least once a year, and back in those early years, we returned every season.
And although these Green Mountains are where we belong, the return is always a homecoming, not only to the place where our love took root more than 3 decades ago, but to his people, and especially my people, because there are so many of us, and because we go back so many generations, and to the sea and the sand and the land itself.
With so many touchstones, each visit is like a putting together a thousand-piece puzzle, and over time, I’ve begun to play with it ahead of the return so that I might be more present once there, particularly as our time there continues to shrink while our family there continues to expand.
And so it is that this week brings the maddening/thrilling algebraic acrobatics of making connections and plans with 6 different siblings & their kids (some grown and on their own) and with what remains of 3 sets of parents, and also a stepgrandmother & her fiance, a great aunt & her son, dozens of cousins, aunts & uncles, a friend or two, and once in blue moon if we’re especially lucky–a beloved colleague.
Sometimes I forget an entire branch of our lives.
Sometimes I get so aborbed by balancing the equation that I miss the sweetness of the faces and the sea and the memory space of home.
Increasingly so, I take time apart from it all, simply to steep in place, alone, and instead of telling myself that I am not enough, that the time we spend is not enough, that the visit is too cumbersome, too far, too much, I let another voice in… the one that says that the Return is sacred, and as such things will fall into place (like running into a cousin’s family at the ice cream parlor, or old friends at a distant relative’s funeral), while simultaneously letting so. much. go. like we once did, 25 years ago, heartbroken, leaving the sea to make a new home of our own.