I was standing there, alone, in the quiet morning hours. Both being a rarity these days. Usually my tiny three bedroom apartment has someone always coming or going. Between my four children, husband, and brother-in-law, there is never any alone time. Until now. As Western Washington was bracing for a storm of a lifetime, my husband and children were out buying supplies. It was a certainty we would lose power. Just in time for my family to make their annual trip to Seattle.
Facing my favorite wall in my apartment, I had nothing but excitement about what the next three days would bring. In just a few hours, my family would be here. They were flying in from Texas, Virginia and San Diego. It had been two years since we were last together in my tiny Seattle apartment, and this year may very well be the last.
The wall. My favorite wall. Filled with wonderful tacky retro signs that welcomed each holiday. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, and Easter. These tacky knickknacks are tacky to outsiders, to me they mean the world, and that is why I leave them up all year-long. My eyes darted to an “Enter if you Dare” retro Halloween sign. It is recklessly hung up with a push-pin. Behind it, is a white legal size envelope that holds our hopes, dreams and goals from two years ago, when we were last in my tiny apartment together.
Two years ago, in October of 2014, sitting at my rickety old dining room table, my family gathered together and each wrote where we would like to see ourselves in October of 2015. When our letters were safely sealed up, I scribbled “To be open in October 2015” on the outside. I took the “Enter if you Dare” sign down, pushed the push-pin through the envelope, and returned the sign to its proper place.
We were never able to read the contents of the legal size white envelope in October of 2015. Life got in the way, as it so often does, and not all of us were able to make it that year. Collectively, we all decided that the legal size white envelope would not be open unless we were all present. This year, this year would be it. Sometime over the next three days we will open the contents of the envelope, most likely around the same rickety old table where we were sitting at two years earlier. We will shed both tears of laughter and tears of sadness, as good byes are also hard.
First, we had three days of memories to make. Three days to make the short amount of time together count, three days to come up with more hopes and dreams to share with each other, and three days to document it all, because where this family is concerned, there is no telling what the next three days could bring.
My family was scheduled to be at my apartment by two o’clock. They did not show up until three o’clock. I am sure they will argue this, however being that I am the one with the blog, we will just say that I am right. A minor concern was I was scheduled to pick up a beautiful lasagna from my local Italian eatery. I was scheduled to pick up this lasagna the same time the “storm of a lifetime” was scheduled to hit. I now had visions of me being trapped inside the cozy little Italian cafe bound and determined to save my lasagna. While my small suburb of Seattle town was being hit with 65 mph winds.
As excited as I was to see my family, I was also nervous. Three cups of coffee did nothing to calm my nerves, nor did my jack and coke. My family is beautiful. Time has stood still for them all. Me, not so much. My feelings of insecurity from a little girl, have always followed me throughout my adult life. Sometimes they are right there walking right beside me, others time they are a safe distance away. Today, today they were right in front me making me question everything. “Look at your apartment, it’s like a 16 year olds!” (I may have went overboard on the Halloween decorations) “Are you really wearing THAT?” (I like to think I can pull of the skinny jean look) “You do not have enough food, unless you are a five-year old.” (Well I am trying to go pick up lasagna!) No matter how old I get, I always want my family to be proud of me. Tacky decorations, sausage jeans, little kid food and all.
My husband and the kids made it back. I took my same spot at my crowded desk and decided to do a little Facebooking before my family showed up. I was scrolling through political post and food pictures when I got the text from my sister.
“Jen, we are here. Were do you want us to park?”
(to be cont.)