Summertime reminds me most of my next oldest sister, Allona. I think of my eldest sister, Rachel, too, but Allona was more adventurous and high-spirited. Allona could also be intractable and bossy, but thankfully those times were less when we were younger.
Allona lived in several Rhode Island towns over the years, some areas better than others. She was gifted with a parrot when she was in her early 20’s, whom she still has. Her parrot was cool when she first got him, except for his deafening jungle squawking early in the morning & whenever the humans around him got loud. Now, he’s a cranky old bird who delights in going after exposed toes, or snapping at anyone foolish enough to try to touch him. Allona has taken very good care of him over the years, but they’ve both grown more ornery over time. I wouldn’t mind him so much if he could be trained not to squawk so piercingly.
Summers in the 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s were often delightful, however. We’d spend days by the shore, go dancing at night, and mostly enjoy each others’ company playing card games like Pitch or Spades. Sometimes we’d go camping, my favorite part being the smell of brewing coffee on the camp stove those early mornings. Camping lost its thrill for me as time went on and my body’s aches rebelled at bed rolls and even at air mattresses, but it was the least expensive option to go anywhere and stay for several days.
Life changed when I had my son. I wasn’t as carefree anymore, and though we camped a few times when my son was a baby and toddler, it was more stressful than enjoyable. I camped several times with my son and some of his friends in his pre-teens and teens, but after he was 13 or 14, my company was no longer desirable, which worked out because my body didn’t desire camping anymore either!
I always felt welcome at my sister’s house in my teens and twenties, and considered it a home away from home. I am still comfortable at my sister’s, but I feel more like a guest these days. Part of that is maturity – I’m more helpful and recognize that she has an order to her home that she likes, just as I have – so I try to keep my footprint small when I’m there. In our teens and twenties, I didn’t think about respecting her space and resources – not that I was slovenly or over-consuming – it just wasn’t foremost in my mind back then, and neither was it in hers.
Allona was an energetic, adventurous, go-getter – and she still is – but now her efforts are more inwardly directed. We figure out what’s important to us as we mature, and, often, our world becomes smaller as we let go of people and things that no longer serve us.
I don’t want to let go of Allona, or any of my family. They’ve become more precious to me with time’s passage, and now that my son is grown, I feel I’ve reverted back to young adulthood – wanting adventure and close, happy, and carefree friendships to spend my time. My body’s limitations tell me otherwise, and the sad distance between my son & I, when I had hoped to grow closer as friends once he was an adult on his own.
But today I feel a titillating warm summer breeze calling me to the beach, calling me to adventure, and I wish I were with Allona to share it.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.