Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spinney Lane

I was picking up wrapping paper from the grass, trying to clean up a bit after Kieran's 1st birthday party, when my mom called. We still had a few guests and Kieran was trying to do a backflip off the rocking chair, and normally I would have asked if I could call back later, but I immediately knew that she needed to tell me something. I braced myself, expecting news of someone's poor health, or worse, the death of a friend or family member. It was neither, thank goodness, but it was still sad news; my dear aunt June and Uncle Des have finally sold their house, their beloved Sea Urchin on Spinney Lane, in Southern England. A house that was too large for an elderly couple battling MS, with stairs and the burden of a garden, and too great a distance from family and much needed help.

We should feel happy and relieved for them, their new home will be in the same village as their daughter, it is smaller, has a manageable garden. And mother and I will cry. Perhaps my father. June and Des certainly. For this is the garden my parents ate home-made bread crumb ice-cream in to celebrate their marriage. This is the house my grandmother Lalla bought shortly after the second world war. This is where her grandchildren grew up. It is the house down Spinney Lane, past the churchyard where Lalla and her beloved Philip rest, under the old oak tree, smelling of the sea. It is where the family gathered at Christmas to play cherades and grimace at Brussel Sprouts. It is the house I wanted to bring Maia to, and did, where she ran through the grass and picked daisies and then sat on my uncle's lap at breakfast to read the paper. It is just bricks and mortar and wood and a roof, but it has been the only constant in all of our busy, ever-changing lives. I wonder if the new owners realize just how many spirits will wander in that home and garden once we start passing on. I will miss it terribly.

Kieran shares his birthday with his great-aunt June. She was delighted when my father called to tell her the news of his birth. I will be thinking of her this coming Tuesday as I celebrate my son's 1st year with us. Oh how time flies, and how quickly we grow old. And may we take joy in what we have, and never take anything for granted.

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