“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” William Faulkner, American writer
“Remember when we had that baby squirrel in the kitchen?” my youngest daughter asked in the middle of a walk this week.
I was so surprised I nearly stopped walking. She was really young when we tried (in vain) to save an even younger red squirrel who somehow made it from his nest to our yard after a dog had killed his mother. She not only remembered the novelty of harboring a wild thing, she remembered the details. The bottle-cap watering bowl, how he lay sadly still the next morning.
It’s interesting. Our daughters are just old enough that one such memory spoken aloud can now trigger a round of reminiscing. I hear their spin on our family stories — sometimes painfully accurate and other times bordering on fiction — and I am reminded that our everyday life is what they will someday be sharing with their husbands, their children, even their grandchildren. It’s what they will reflect on in moments of quiet.
Our life now is their memory of home, a template if you will.
It is what they will measure other people’s life experiences against. It is what they will measure their own future lives against. For better, or for worse. That is a sobering thought, for sure, but it is also a joyful one.
The birthday cakes, the bandaged knees, the eye-popping first taste of ice cream, the solid hour of hoola hooping on the porch, the kneading of bread, the beading of ornaments, the first pair of high heels, even the squirrel in the kitchen are not lost. Those experiences will not disappear with age or death or change of location. They will morph and sift and settle into memory. A template for home.
And, we will always be there together,