Two Postcards From Italy

My husband and I were grateful to take a 10-day vacation to visit Italy in June. With meticulous planning we scheduled each day to be an adventure in art, culture, history and of course food and wine. I had assumptions on how our trip would go,  I certainly was not planning the details below. Nonetheless our travels through Italy were a wonderful example of the reality of beauty alongside struggle in our everyday lives.

I guess it’s reassuring because I talk so much about it at home. How do moments of joy coexist with hardships? How do we coexist between the two?

At the Borghese Gallery I bought two postcards. I wrote on the back of the first one as I was sitting outside our apartment in Rome.

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Where Roots Run Deep

Natchez.  The peace of this place nurtures my soul. 

Last month, Carley surprised me with a trip to my hometown where we stayed in a cottage on the grounds of Homewood Plantation.  The home burned down in 1940 but the steps remain. Leading nowhere in particular, they are evidence of what once stood.  If only the moss-draped oaks could talk.

My daughter knows that I am facing my upcoming empty nest with a lot of mixed emotions.  It took almost a full day for the anxious feelings to be swept away.  But it did happen.  And then, I opened my eyes to the tranquility of the town that nourished me from birth to the age of 18.

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Becoming Home

The contents of our own family ledger would not be so special if we knew what the future held. Little by little the present slips into the past and the memories that pieced together our everyday life become precious – because that life is no longer.

Hudson and I moved into our first home in May. I woke up early that first morning still feeling like a stranger in its walls. Our family ledger sat on the coffee table. I flipped through the pages.

Our one bedroom apartment in Fort Worth - a community of relationships built from strangers one short year ago – the start of married life. I felt the present become the past. It’s a strange feeling.

With gratitude and sweet memories of the past year I turned to the next blank page. I sketched a little picture of our home and wrote this down:

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Empty Driveway

“How many times have I stood in open doorways as children left for school, asking the angels to fly alongside and bring them home to me?  Thousands it seems. 

Just now, Cary pulled away.  Today is the last day she will ever leave our home to drive to school and all too soon, the driveway will remain empty.   Angels…fly alongside this mother and give her the strength she needs to face a childless home. “

I don’t even have to wonder what this passage in my family ledger will mean to me in the years to come. Reading it again this morning, I know it will always remain as raw as the day I wrote it – only 17 days ago. 

This isn’t the first time a child has left our home for college.  Two before her have done the same.  But somehow, facing their empty rooms was easier knowing that I still had a child at home. 

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