Sunday, April 20, 2014

Arrivals...

It has been far, far too long since my last post. I think I am still reeling from last autumn. And, to a great extent, I am still coming to terms with my mother's death. I miss her so much. There are so many times I want to pick up the phone to call her and share some news or a good story. Chris, likewise, is still dealing with his father's death. We are heading to Lincolnshire, where Peter grew up, next month so that his ashes can be scattered. It will be good to be with Chris' family and I am thrilled that my mother-in-law is coming back with us for a visit. It will be lovely to have her here. She has never visited us before - she really couldn't when Chris' father was alive. But now we shall have her for a three days and we can't wait.

The arrivals I refer to in the title are Spring, of course, and my family bits and bobs. My things from the States arrived on Friday, about four months after they were all packed up and three months after they were picked up and started their journey. I am glad to have them with me. I have some wonderful pieces of family history - a letter my great-great-great-grandfather wrote to his own grandfather about the arrival of Spring in New Gloucester, Maine. I have the letter my great-grandfather wrote to my great-great-grandmother to declare his undying love for her daughter, my great-grandmother. Later, he would mysteriously disappear when it was time to return to the US from a stay in England. He was a Welsh Anglican vicar, she was an academic who went on to be the first woman dean of Jackson College - the female college that opened in 1910 as the sister school to Tufts University. Her name was Caroline and my mother and my daughter were both named for her. 

Speaking of Caroline, I also have in my possession now the beautiful pastel portrait that was done of my great-grandmother Caroline with her sister, Catherine. They look to be around six and eight. It is a beautiful portrait and I am so happy to have it and happy to know that when I am gone, it will be passed down to my Caroline and then to her Catherine. Keeping it in the family.

I love the photographs I now have of both my parents when they were children. I have old report cards from them - and me. I have a silk kimono that must have come from Japan at some point (my great-great uncle started the school system there, so probably from his days in Japan). 

I have a small painting done by a great-times-many-grandmother who was a transcendentalist in Massachusetts in the 19th century - a great friend of the Alcotts and a friend to Emerson. As I said to some friends, it gives me great joy to know that my ancestors were non-conformists and that I come from a long line of very strong, independent women. 

With these things around me, I feel Mom and Dad nearby and I miss them even more then before. I am so glad I spent so much time with them over the years. We were always together for Christmas and Thanksgiving and the period I lived in the same town with them before I moved to the UK was precious to me. I came across a card my mother gave me the day I left for the UK. It is a small square card with a smiling face on the cover. It says, 'You...' and on the inside, 'are the reason I smile.' I loved them so much, even towards the end when Mom drove me a bit nuts and I had trouble feeling that love, it was still there. Thing is, when you have a deep and abiding relationship with someone you are extremely close to, it can be both happy and aggravating. I am sure I made my mother crazy, too, at times. But we loved each other and I am so glad now that I had that time before I moved in 2000 and, despite it being a very hard time, I am glad Chris and I were there when she needed us after Dad died. 

The second arrival, of course, is that of Spring. It is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining and there isn't a cloud in the sky. We have the windows open so we can hear the birds and smell the freshness of the air. There are baby lambs leaping about on the hills and birds are building nests and the rabbits come out and munch on the grass in our garden when the afternoon sun is low and warm. The daffodils are blooming, as is the gorse, and the trees are all showing their fresh green buds. I love Spring. The feeling of rebirth is so strong. I am looking forward to a busy summer with lots of markets and fairs. It is going to be a good spring and summer. I can feel it.

So, I close now wishing you all a very happy Easter today and a happy Spring.