"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When My Heart Leaves

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”  ~Frederick Buechner


It’s mind-blowing how a year and a half of planning for a huge event stretches on interminably and yet is over in a blink. When our son, Nick, and new wife Kyla were engaged two years ago, the wedding date June 29, 2013, seemed as far away as the moon. A lot of living happens in two years, and the distant date seems more like a fairy tale. People ask a lot about how preparations are going, and my standard response sounds a lot like, “I don’t really know; I’m the Supporting Actress.” A few months before, the action picks up. I’m ordering tuxes and organizing a rehearsal dinner complete with homemade centerpieces.  (This, incidentally, is a feat in itself for a non-crafty person like me.) And then, in a matter of hours, it’s completed.concluded.kaput. The anticipation and excitement of 9 family members camping in our home for 10 days comes and goes like a streak of lightning.

Actually, when my parents arrive, it feels like it’s going to be forever—like going to Disney World not enduring an Italian opera. It’s important I clarify that. My brother’s family joins us the next day along with my aunt and uncle. We stuff people into three cars to various venues for the rehearsal, wedding and reception. Hours later, after all the posing for pictures, saying “I do”, and dancing of the bride and groom, we crash on couches exhausted yet content. A perfect day complete with the promise of more fun in the ensuing days. I count in my head seven more days of memory making. I open and shut my eyes aware that the days fast forward like a cassette player. Memories of  Lake Monroe in a storm, Kings Island rides and 4th of July bonfire and fireworks imprint on my mind.  Family start dropping off like flies. First, my aunt and uncle, then my brother and his beautiful family. Finally, I drop off the sole survivors, my parents, at the airport. I hate saying goodbye. Unbidden tears flow threatening to ruin my makeup. Not a surprise for such a stoic person as I!

The silence is deafening on the way home, even with magpie Maddie sitting beside me. We feel the letdown of two weeks of nonstop activity. The only word I can think of is one that I hate to hear coming out of my own kids’ mouths—BORING! Now, what will we do? I walk in the quiet house that once held the clamor of 13 voices. I’m not liking it one bit. I text Mom, “It’s too quiet here. Come back.” She’s already flown away, cell phone silenced.

Mess is everywhere, but who cares enough to clean? I don’t even want to get up to pull leftovers out of the frig. Lethargic and listless, that’s what we are. The world stopped for two weeks, and now we can’t figure out what to do with ourselves. Between dad making breakfast and my mom and aunt fixing dinner, I’m pondering how I can approach Tony about hiring a cook. I’m sure it’s a necessity. Even with new pots and pans in the cupboard that the four of them conspired to purchase (something about my old ones being completely inadequate), I’m not compelled to pull out a recipe.

And, who knew that two retired men could fix my oven broken during the self-cleaning cycle and repair a dryer that has been taking an average of two cycles to dry? No wonder I’m crying when they all leave! The bottom line is I pretty much love hanging out with my family that lives a million miles away from me. And, no matter how much time we have together, it’s never enough. I’ve heard horror stories of the family that tolerates each other, overstays their welcome and is skedaddled out the door.

Glad those folks don’t belong to me!


  1. So sad they are gone, but happy for you that you have a family you love so much. And I think a cook is a great idea. My favorite word was "kaput." Quite proper.

  2. Oh making me cry!! Annette! I loved this post. You are a blessed woman to have such an amazing family. I love you all!