nostalgia you old devil


At night we meet at the beach after he is done working on the boat and swim under the full moon.

At night we borrow a boat (loosely interpreted – we never received permission) to watch the shooting stars in August. We get in trouble for stealing a boat and not wearing life preservers.

We are reading Patrick O’Brian and I am always one book behind him. I’ll watch him laugh or moan and shake his head and wonder what I’ll be getting myself into with the next one.

I have never been sentimental about the end of summer. “Good riddance!” I say, ready to welcome autumn at last, but this year has me dragging my heels. It was ten years ago we met, and five years ago we started dating. It all happened then, in those dreamy end of summer beginning of autumn days. I am recollecting it all while having this summer, while tucking it day by day into The Summers We’ve Shared. It is all happening now as we shift to thinking about welcoming our little one soon.

How can I say it? There has never been a lack, and we don’t welcome another to fill a void. We welcome another to share in our abundance, but I’ll be honest, at times I only want the abundance for myself. I know that often when you share it only grows, and already that begins to be true.

“They say they will love, comfort, honor each other to the end of their days. They say they will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always. They say they will do these things not just when they feel like it, but even-for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health-when they don’t feel like it at all. In other words, the vows they make at a marriage could hardly be more extravagant. They give away their freedom. They take on themselves each other’s burdens. They bind their lives together in ways that are even more painful to unbind emotionally, humanly, than they are to unbind legally. The question is, what do they get in return?

They get each other in return. Assuming they have any success at all in keeping their rash, quixotic promises, they never have to face the world quite alone again. There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to. If they’re lucky, even after the first passion passes, they still have a kindness and a patience to depend on, a chance to be patient and kind. There is still someone to get through the night with, to wake into the new day beside. If they have children, they can give them, as well as each other, roots and wings. If they don’t have children, they each become the other’s child.”    — Frederick Buechner

I have loved him in these ways – as a wife and a mother and a child. I have known the rich intimacy shared by lovers. I’ve felt when stroking his head at the end of a long day as if he were a child that I’d loved from birth. I’ve known the comfort of laying my head on his shoulder when I am broken, small, and feeling the strength and stability of a parent. It is something they never told us. In my best moments, I want to share it – I want to bear witness to the love of a father and the child we made, to give roots and wings. In my doubtful moments, my nostalgic moments, I am not ready for the summer to end.