All five of our children came home for the Labor Day weekend. The gang also included one spouse and one grandchild. They flew in from California or motored down from Minnesota or up from southern Iowa, depending, of course, on their respective away-from-home locales.
To me, away from home will always denote where they live now – their real home is here. I suspect it is the same for them, as in “I’m going home for a visit.”
The minute they walk in the door, they somehow regress to the ages they were when they actually lived at home. Case in point: They had resurrected a 1982 Christmas card picture of the four girls around the Christmas tree with baby Wade in the center. Following months of online shopping, Meg was able to replicate the sweaters they wore and, amazingly, an adult-size footed blue sleeper with Peter Rabbit embroidered on the bib, an exact copy of Wade’s attire. (She found it in a costume shop – I don’t think self-respecting adults wear footed blue sleepers with bibs except to Halloween parties.)
I was instructed to close my eyes as they filed downstairs after donning their vintage outfits and arranging themselves as they were in the long-ago picture. Amy even wore pigtails, as she had back then. Jackie, Wade’s wife, was the designated photographer since she wasn’t around in 1982 so wasn’t in the original picture. I wasn’t in the 1982 picture either – I suspect I was the photographer since Bing had a tendency to aim the camera everywhere but where it was supposed to be. However, Meg had also found a heavy-knit cardigan sweater with reindeer on it, a duplicate of one I wore back then, so I got to be in a few of the pictures.
As is always the case when they get together, their reminiscences included some adventures Bing and I didn’t know about – sort of tarnished our image as perfect, all-knowing parents with perfect children. I think I was happier in my state of innocence.
It seems Amy (age 8) once convinced Wade (age 4) to sit in the bathtub while she used a pair of toy handcuffs to manacle him to the faucet. She then turned on the water and walked away. She said she knew someone would come and rescue him. I guess someone did.
Erin once tried to burn the house down by lighting matches and putting them in her bedroom windowsill. Since she shared the bedroom with Meg, Bing and I figured Meg did it, since Erin was such a quiet, peace-loving child. Meg, on the other hand, was a scamp. I’m still apologizing for punishing the wrong child.
Heather finally ‘fessed up to scribbling all over her first-grade desk with crayons when the teacher was out of the room. She had insisted on her innocence lo these many years.
I suppose more long-ago misdeeds will continue to surface when we all get together. However, their memories of the fun times are the best – always prefaced with, “Remember when . . .” followed by peals of laughter.
The house is quiet once again, but Ivy Scarlett (my German Shepherd-mix housemate) and I are savoring our memories of the happy moments from the visit.
Ivy got more hugs and treats that weekend than she’s had the whole year.
And so, happily, did I.