Entwined

We’ve learned to share a bathroom. . . and product. 

 

Did you have a lovely Thanksgiving? Ours seems to be in full swing still. I should be painting upstairs, but instead this afternoon finds my family curled up in front of a fire watching an old Miss Marple episode. It seems like the right choice considering our weather took the arrival of “Black Friday” literally and it’s DARK outside. All raining, wet, storming, but thankfully, not that much wind. 

We shared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with our very generous neighbors and friends. We’ve become this little family on the hill during the holidays– as all of us have people far flung and traveling from the Coast this time of year is tricky business. It’s such a great gathering of people. And while Geo is the only “child”, he’s so close to adulthood that he’s treated as such. Everyone wants to know his next plan in school and how he’s doing. Lots of hugs and concern for his loss (and thank you all for your prayers. He took the news poorly, got very ill for several days.) and his favorite drinks. He feels like he belongs, and that’s really what Thanksgiving is about. I hope your gathering of friends and family was truly blessed this Thanksgiving!

Now, about that photo. . . lately, I’ve been struck by a memory I have of my childhood. I used to babysit as an early teenager  for this family of 3 girls. Their parents were generous, often taking me along as a “helper” on family events. I felt loved and special and I adored being in their home.

Their house was an ordinary place. Lived in. Clean, tidy, but in the corners: on countertops and tables, at the edge of the front door; there was evidence of their lives together. Bits and pieces that marked them as being a family. I was one of those babysitters who would actually clean up the dishes and pick up the toys once the kids were in bed. But I had the hardest time “tidying” up in their home, because that clutter seemed beautiful to me. There was a kind of perfection in piled up mail and prescription bottles on the counter. And tiny shoes in a jumble at the front door. Little girl shoes, with bows and flowers and rainbow colored laces. I would wash the dishes and gather up the toys into baskets, but the rest I could only stand and marvel. 

I’m not sure why that image and sensation has stuck with me. The memory pops up when I’m clearing away our piled up mail and passing assorted electronics to Geo through his door. I love a clean and tidy house. But there is something about the bits that mark the life lived here. So, I’ve been photographing those bits. The little bits of clutter and collections of treasure that mark the life we live together. 

I don’t know if I will post them all. . . but I am struck by the juxtaposition of our things together. The very fact IZ and I share a one sink bathroom, happily, speaks volumes about a long life together. That his side of the bed is always made and mine isn’t, suggests we’ve figured out what to fight about. What to compromise on.  The piles of cords and assorted computer gear on the couch points to the fact our nearly 16 year old would rather be in a common room with us, than tucked away in his own room. The clutter, it tells our story. We are entwined. 

 

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