Last evening I was out walking along our street. It was a hot, muggy night, and the neighborhood was nearly silent. I was alone as I walked past the fence next door, and down the hill toward the bus stop.
I wonder how many times I have walked this same path? Going back 21 years, to when we first arrived, how many times have my feet landed on the very same stones?
I remember walking with my little girl in the weeks before our second child was born. I clearly remember having the realization that I had better make sure to head downhill instead of up as I made the loop of our streets; by the end of that pregnancy, I needed my husband to push from behind if I was going to be moving uphill at all!
I remember countless early morning walks to the bus stop, and countless late afternoon pickups there. The time when I left sleeping baby Matt in his crib, and went to the bus stop with baby monitor in hand to wait for Kate to get off the kindergarten bus. The icy January day when the bus failed to arrive, and the moms all huddled in one car, with cranky bundled toddlers on our laps, to figure out what to do. With no cell phones yet, we decided we’d all head home except for one who stayed at the stop. One made the call to the bus company and quickly spread the word that the bus was stuck on a steep hill and was being rescued by a sand truck. Such sweet relief, and such a sense of community with the other Moms!
I remember the day when Tim got off the bus barely breathing, his asthma had become so severe on the long ride home. How slowly we walked home that day, and how I berated myself for not having Ventolin in my pocket!
I remember so many first days of school. The kids lining up, new backpacks on display, posing for pictures. I remember little Alex, his hair carefully combed, grinning in the sunshine. I remember the nerves, the mad dashes out the door; I remember chasing the bus to put the kids on at the next stop.
As I rounded the corner last night, I looked up the length of our street. At the places where the tops of trees had been snapped off by ice, and places where new young trees crowded the driveways.
I remembered the kids riding bikes up and down, yelling and calling out to each other. I could see them playing “Orphans” at the end of the drive, using sticks and little stones to dam up the snowmelt into “rivers”. I remember dogs now gone, racing around our legs as we walked. I remember the big, gentle horse who lived for a time next door to us, and who showed up unexpectedly one morning on our lawn, looking as confused as I was. He seemed grateful when I hesitantly lead him back home to his stall.
I remember other summer evenings. Walking in the dusk with the kids. Smelling the coming fall, checking the garden for pumpkins.
How many times have I walked this path, and how many memories have I stored up to revisit?