Daily Post: Luxurious

IMG_0425What an interesting idea to contemplate this early Saturday morning: luxury. And an interesting question: what luxury can’t you live without?

To most of the world, my life and home are luxurious. We have food in the refrigerator, space, a big yard with trees, a house full of books and treasures. The kind of house, as I’ve written before, you might find on a child’s drawing: a peaked roof, a door flanked by windows, one tree out front and “Honey, I’m home” written across the bottom.

If our house burned down or was destroyed in some way, there would be many losses I would mourn. The paintings and photos on the walls, the books, papers with ideas and to-dos I’ve not yet got to, clothes and clocks and dishes and beds and furniture, especially our bed, and especially the many photo albums and photos that are in boxes.

But my writing is all saved to an online backup; same with photos from the last several years. The many paintings are luxurious, but they all have stories and memories of the person who made it. I’d still have those memories. The stories those memories hold are luxuries. I’ve had a pretty interesting life. I guess the luxury of memories is something I wouldn’t like to live without, but could I?

I’ve been absent from blogging for a while because I began a new book of memories, and have been immersed in reading old journals, outlining them, writing the old stories, mulling memories, and trying to make sense of my life. It’s rarely what we thought it was–oh, the events are the same and the experiences the same, but what I learned has grown and changed with time, so looking at those experiences from a different perspective is a new learning task.

The real luxury in my life that I don’t know if I could live without is my husband, Cliff. We’ve been married almost ten years so contentment is a luxury of my later years. He watches out for me, takes my hand when we’re walking, always, and I feel a slight pressure when we come to a curb. He makes sure I don’t stumble. He keeps me safe. When he tells me to stop, I stop.

Stopping has never been one of my strong suits, given as I am to dashing and doing too much, and I still stumble from time to time when he’s not around to slow me down; however, I’m been better at seeing danger and avoiding it. I drive more carefully and defensively because of the years of his example. I laugh more. And while “To Battle!!” has often been a rallying cry for each of us as we face injustice and incompetence, now we talk each other down and laugh.

To have a real partner in life is a luxury in itself; and perhaps the real luxury I couldn’t live without, both figuratively and  literally, is Cliff’s fair and gentle influence. He keeps me upright. He makes me laugh. And the other luxuries–the house, paintings, books, toys? Mostly that’s just stuff.

Celebrating Family

Sean and Raven and Bubbles (the floating kind, not the dancer)

Last weekend, we celebrated a family wedding – we, meaning family for the most part, and some of the couple’s friends. A lot of family. And while we weren’t all there, my immediate family had a reunion – immediate, in this case, being four out of six siblings and some of their children.

We always miss the ones who are absent.

But given that we are far-flung, from Texas to Michigan, Oregon and Washington, Hawaii and California, to New Mexico, we did good in gathering to celebrate. And we had a rousing time of it, even while getting an outdoor wedding ready in Seattle rain. The rain, as if understanding the significance of the occasion, stopped for the ceremony.

The trip out was one of those nightmare-in-airplanes stories we’ve all heard. Denver, socked in by six hundred feet of fog (yes, fog!), lives up to its reputation of being a busy airport, and shut down…. well, you know what happens when a busy airport gets shut down on a Friday. Chaos. We ended up flying from Kansas City to Denver to Albuquerque to Denver to Boise, Idaho (yes, Boise), to Seattle and arriving ten hours after we’d been scheduled. Missing, of course, the rehearsal (we, the wedding presiders) and missing much of the rehearsal dinner. And the last to arrive of the several who’d had travel glitches.

But when my husband and I walked into the restaurant, applause broke out. A welcoming. You’re safe now; you’re with family. We’re so glad you’re here. Sit down. Eat. Others had guided the rehearsal and everything was fine.

I know not all families are as ours. But many families are. The groom’s families, both on his mother’s and his father’s side, are like ours. And several of us from both families stayed in the same house with one bathroom – you get to know each other pretty well with ten people and one bathroom. And the best part is, we’d never have know that part of the groom’s family without it. The other best part is that we spent a lot of time blowing bubbles at each other during the reception.

Jeanne and Janet and more bubbles

While wondering what this family thing is all about, the word, “freedom,” came to me. We are free to be who we are and as grumpy or outrageously funny as we need to be and still be accepted. Freedom. The freedom to be safe and the freedom to be accepted at a core level.

I suppose at base, I’m talking tribal here. Members of a tribe might leave, and sometimes they never return, but if they do, they are welcomed – and whoever they bring with them welcomed (at least until the new person does something damaging and then, perhaps, less welcome).

Statistics say the number of multi-generational families living in one home is growing in our country. We own some of those multigenerational families. I say that’s a good thing – good for the elders and good for the young. The middle generation may wonder what in the world they’re doing, but they go off to work so it’s probably all fine.

Take some time this weekend to reconnect with your family. Tell them how important they are. Offer your love and welcome them home. It’s fall in a very contentious year, so we all need to be circling those human wagons and staying safe.