birds out the window
We’ve been finding coins more often than usual. Our family accepted several years ago, back when my grandfather passed away, that the coins were simple winks and hellos from another ripple. When Millie died it was common for us to find a pair of coins next to each other. Seeing two pennies on a sidewalk might make most people celebrate a bit of good luck. I see them and say, “hello to you too!”

Sometimes W finds the coin or coins, but within the last two weeks I have found nearly a dozen of them. Of course we find what we are looking for, but…

Several days ago W and I were at the playground and I looked down and saw a dime. It was covered in dirt and not at all a gleaming coin waiting to be discovered. I got it. 10. October.

October is one of those months with so many dates with MEANING: grandfather’s birthday, W’s half birthday, Millie’s death day. Strong reminders of past and present and eras of my life that shaped and defined me as I sit here typing right this minute.

Something that came into my mind yesterday was how much I am coasting in my life right now. There was this HUGE build up to get W into kindergarten, to possibly uproot and move before then. So I was frantic and scrambling and all over the place trying to make the impossible possible. I had an immediate goal. Now that the move deadline has passed, and W is in a school that will be just fine for kindergarten, I am catching my breath a bit.

My grandparents were the BEST letter writers ever. Honestly. Both of them had such wildly different writing styles, but the notes they sent to me often were funny and complex and revealing and I looked forward to them so much. Even when we got my grandparents onto email via their web tv (oh my goodness!) they were able to convey their personalities over the internet very well.

I think both of them would have been brilliant bloggers and chroniclers of their life and the world around them – they were keenly fascinated by day-to-day life as well as huge issues. In thinking about them, in holding these found dimes and pennies, I feel as though I have dropped the coin and let them down. What remarkable thing have I shared lately? Am I not sharing because I have nothing to share or is it because I can not figure out who I am beyond W’s mother and I am not permitting myself to be the storyteller of W’s life?

Right now, a family of small birds is resting on the branches of the climbing rose-bush outside my dining room window. I don’t know what kind of bird they are but I know if Millie were here she would insist I stop everything and look it up. The birds are grooming their chests and hopping from branch to branch.

I see my family in everything.

I don’t know when it will ever stop hurting when I think about my grandparents. The loss I feel for them is so sharp in the tenth month. I know this is why I embrace W’s 1/2 birthday with such fondness – it is a momentary release from mourning, a triumphant achievement and milestone.

October is sentimental.

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – “In a Sentimental Mood”

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