Birth, wedding, death—all of these events have made up our “biblical” summer. It began with the death of my husband’s mother, a gentle Southern lady with a core of steel. This is a huge loss, not only for my husband and his three siblings and all the grandkids, but to me who thought of Jane as the best possible mother-in-law. She welcomed me unreservedly when I married her son, made me her daughter, chuckled and cried with us at our children’s escapades. I am desolate at her passing but infinitely grateful that she was part of my life.
The “wedding” was my daughter’s, only it was not called a wedding, and it felt more like a church service than an event that celebrated family. But it was still special, leaving indelible memories of food and flowers and love and laughter. Now we anticipate the birth of our first grandchild any day now, and I wait with half-held breath in case there’s another event in store for us, such as a flood or fire or surprise of biblical proportions.
All these transitions are perfectly normal, yet they produce unexpected swings of emotion and sleeplessness because change is never comfortable. When the emotions have been assimilated, I may be able to writer better, or at least more honestly. My characters may deepen. As in other times of change, I turn to writers who express feelings better than I possibly can. This time I chose Madeleine L’Engle: her not-just-for-teenagers Wrinkle in Time and Meet the Austins and The Young Unicorns affect me like comfort food. Why? Because her families and the loving circles they make remind me of where I came from, and what I hope I created with my own children. And the grandchild to come will just expand the circle.