The dream came quickly…and then a hazy line of light above the thick hotel curtains. Morning is here and the tea spoons and coffee cups of eight decades have been added together to bring us to this day. So much to say.
Earlier this month my wife and I celebrated our 8th anniversary with dinner at the Mallard Lounge in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. We sat down on one of the big couches beside the window, looked at each other, exhaled and I could see the last eight years in her blue grey eyes and the scrambled relief / anxiety of our second night out in as many weeks wondering if the kids were OK (no…We don’t get out much). Forever and a day, someone said that, and this life in as many words has become all I know. In between the early mornings with my baby girl and the drop offs with my son at kindergarten and Kishindo and getting out at the curb beside my shop looking back through the passenger side window, I look at her… and I exhale, knowing one day, someday, we will have time to breathe…time and tide, and the love that brought us here.
Fast forward 2 more weeks and the tide is high outside the curtain on our little island retreat… 6 or 7 hours of sleep, 2 beers, 3 shifts on the Bar-B-Q and a slideshow on the wall where the CN train was hung. The photos clicked by and spanned twice my life and so much more. (I know, computer Digi-slide shows don’t click but I imagine they do like they did when I was a kid.) The slides clicked by while the families and generations sat close and smiled and laughed and jazzy cable radio and some funny dubbed in applause filled the quiet spaces while minds and images raced through time. ‘I remember that’, ‘when was that’, ‘look how tiny Jack is’, ‘who is that’, and of course those ones when everyone in the room just said ‘oooooh’. The black and white of the earlier days, faded corners, the tainted dull color of my parents generation and my childhood, the hair…oh my, the hair my wife and her sisters have captured on film (you know, the big 80’s Texas hair)…and then my son Jack in so many pictures. Our little life was flashing by on the wall with the 10 pound picture hooks still attached where the train was hung and the once mandatory politeness – aka awkward distance – faded into reminiscent smiles that only a family can share, my family…my not so new in-laws of eight seasons of Christmases and meeting Baba Lesia at Horseshoe Bay so she doesn’t go too long without seeing the babies, and us too. Family.
Eight decades and she hasn’t missed a beat. Honestly…I consider myself fairly educated and up to date, I’m on Twitter and Facebook…so I must be, and there has never been a political commentary or social issue she hasn’t tackled with me head on – when we get a moment alone – and not only that, she cuts through my expressive analytical analysis of the world (as I see it) and she brings it back to the ground with an earnest humility that reminds me every time we meet there is more to life than being right…there is that, but there is more, so much more (a trait I’m hoping will rub off on my wife someday, ha, ha.) There is so much to say between the smiles and ‘oh’s’…so much unsaid that I know she knows.
The pictures and smiles and laughs and the tears between them all find us together whole. Imagine your life in 80 years of smiles and those of you with little ones like mine (or all the little smiling faces I know arriving sometime this summer…all girls somehow…Len should like that) watching their bodies and smiles grow into little people before your eyes. It is a dream…isn’t it.
The light is brighter now…Kate is waking up my lovely wife in the other room (I looked up at one slide from my early years with the family and thought to myself, ‘wow…she’s gorgeous’), Jack is beside me in the half light on the hide-a-bed asleep in his Transformers t-shirt from the Bar-B-Q after his auntie’s and cousins gave him more Star Wars stuff than any five year old should have in one day and today we wake up at the beach and celebrate this life all over again. Happy birthday Lesia.