Wednesday, May 07, 2008

the vagueness of family

I imagine people bonded, a ropey strand connecting them over an interactive map, the tumbleweed thunderstorm not strong enough to wear down those fibers. I imagine the ropes thicker in some places, from here to my husband, and in others, the people we are always leaving behind, those that were close once but are fading in memory, a sinew, a bit of floss.

With Kelly, it is everything. It is the center of my heart.

The memories: thirteen years old and calling boys on the phone, listening in on the extension; writing notes in circles, plotting out our weekends; destroying batches of macaroni and cheese and cookie dough, mussing up the kitchen. Years later, sitting across from each other over coffee, confessing what I didn't want confessed, testing the waters, knowing her heart would always support my own. The fear of the confessional relieved: she will always be my sounding board.

The ways in which fate intervenes. Would we have remained this close, or turned to wispy cotton had the college I chose not chosen me? Our geography follows one another; I hadn't imagined Minnesota as my future. (Or Ryan, but that is another story, and I have probably told it before. The strange arm of coincidence and how perfectly happy it can be.) It doesn't matter now, mortgages and husbands root us here. We can drive in the middle of the night, and it is nothing, only an hour and a half. But at first, those heady and frightening first days of college, it was only six blocks. I could walk in a thunderstorm to see her.

The ways we grow older: the worry over engagement, the stress over checking accounts, the first job interview jitters. The way all of that seems like nothing when you reach your hand across the distance. You don't have to worry when you have a true sounding board.

Tonight, I spend my half-birthday in the flickering light of a childbirth class. I will learn how to support my partner in breastfeeding. It's the one class her husband has an aversion to, and I've stepped in, the pinch hitter in this pregnancy.

And I buried this in a response to the last post, but Kelly mentioned something about being family. And I will say she is my sister over and over again, but there are times when a certain something doesn't click over in my brain, which drives me batty. Something as simple as: If I am his aunt, that means I am family. I am not just spending great swaths of the summer with Kelly; I am spending it with him too. (Iago, bless him.) I am not just doing this for her, but for him. I have realized that life changes when your family expands--there is one more human being in this world that you would, well, walk through fire for, move mountains, all those other cliches. In a month and a half, a baby will be born, one that I will write poems for, will change the map, will find another bond stretching from me across the universe.

PS: Oh yes, and sixteen inches were lopped off last week. My third donation to Locks of Love.


chris said...

Yes-yes! one of my guesses! Nice cut. It does feel lighter, no?

lisa s said...

beautiful! the friendship, the giving of hair....

sarah said...

Hi, Molly.
I've been so out of touch that I wanted to read what you've been posting. And it's lovely. You're a person I am glad to know. And I'm sure everyone who knows you feels the same.

Send me a poem when you have a chance. I'll try to write for real soon.


EWH said...

Of all those lovely words, the hair is what I noticed. When the picture loaded: "Is this an old pic or did Molly cut all of her hair off?"

I thought I was done with Locks of Love (having also done it 3 times), ready to keep my hair short and have a "style". But, I have decided to have one more go. One more stretch of the growing out process.


Katia said...

Cute haircut!