And the dog–our dog is old. He forgets that poop goes outside. So pretty much every day, the kitchen floor gets a wash. My kitchen floor has never been this clean. And it has never felt so dirty.
Thing is, last night, I cleaned up shit, had a spaghetti dinner, and went to my oldest son’s band concert where I sat among family and friends and cheered this gang of middle school kids who knows how to make amazing music. It was a great day, despite the shit. Another family in town, not such a great day. They had a fire and lost their house and everything in it.
We don’t know them well, but we know them a little. I’m so sad for them. They have grown children and I worry about all those photographs and stick figure drawings and noodle necklaces – the things in my house that I go years without seeing but that I’d be heartbroken over if they were ever lost. The littlest sweaters, the soft red shoes, the baby teeth. The wedding album. The journals kept by my great uncle.
We backup files, we send them to the cloud, but the most important stuff can’t be saved in the right format. And maybe that’s part of its charm, its inherent mortality.
I have on my bedroom bookshelf my great uncle’s journals and I read a tiny bit of them each day, sitting in the rocking chair waiting for children to brush their teeth. People and pets long dead are mentioned in simple passing, tucked between descriptions of the weather and arrowheads found in fields. The feeling from this disappeared neighborhood is chilling, comforting, and exactly right. We are all going to be gone someday. In a good way. Our books, notes, letters–we lose everything. But before we lose it, we gain it. And later, people after us are granted a glimpse in a different way.
Walder is my grandfather. Victoria is my grandmother. Her new baby is my mother.
And now I’m going to go gaze at a noodle necklace or two.