“The time has come,” said the walrus,
“To talk about many things:
Of shoes—and boats—and sealing wax—
And why the sea is boiling—
What if pigs have wings
It seems like the fluidity of time is stalking us and leaving us wondering how and where did it go. For me, the time has come to say goodbye to my Charleston family. It was not a vacation, oh not far! It was a time when the phone rang and your son asked you to come and help him. We all do this when our children need us. Change plan. Change speed. Pack a few things and take the first flight. So, I did. Because we do. My month here has been a labor of love. Spending a month with a family means you know all the details of life. I know how much toothpaste goes on the toothbrush, and which jammies are favorites.
After stories and songs with the little ones, I always come to say goodnight to Holly and Briana. We share stories of our time, we read a bit of Shakespeare, we talk about all the college gossip, and we share our opinions!
My own room here has been a haven for work, classes, meetings, and quiet nights. (Except when Faith arrives at 3 am because of a nightmare.) There’s a lot of luggage in this room. St. Patrick’s Day green whiskers remain, a candle of salty ocean air that will be down to the wick on the day of my trip. A stack of coloring pages from the Paw Patrol coloring book. Shakespeare scripts and a stack of card games including Go Fish and Memory. My ukulele is now joined by four others as we have our band playing every day!
This past week has been full of memories. We spent Sunday at Middleton Place Plantation letting the kids wander through the garden mazes and azalea hedges. All of these gardens overlook the Butterfly Lakes and the winding Ashley River. Traveling the worn paths, we followed in the footsteps of Henry Middleton, president of the First Continental Congress; Arthur Middleton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Henry Middleton, Governor of South Carolina and later Minister to Russia. Professional performers shared the stories and skills of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. If you are quiet, you can hear animals, horses and the voices of those who came before us long ago. In the middle of this plantation is a restaurant of perfection where our dining room overlooked the river and the land. This was another excursion for us to end the week.
This week was also marked by many “firsts”. Abe removed the training wheels from the bikes and the twins were thrilled. Scraped knees and hands didn’t stop them from jumping backwards on those bikes. This week also brought the first loose teeth, although none have fallen out yet. I cut apples for them every day so they can hurry up!
We spent an evening at the high school watching their spring production and meeting the theater teachers. I was pretty happy with the productions and I know Holly will be in good hands as she begins her high school journey. In the meantime, she’s been rehearsing for “Shrek” several nights a week in downtown Charleston! The theater is in his young blood.
We started talking about my leaving. Faith and Noah think they’re going home with me. They have already packed their bags. I let their father tell them they weren’t going home with me. This prompted Noah to burst into tears. Me too. We are counting the days and we only have a few fingers left to hold before The Nannie leaves.
But I have to go. There are classes to see in person, board meetings, events, and the start of spring gardening. I’m grateful that I didn’t miss the daffodils or the first trees of spring. I’m grateful that the voyeurs are still out and waiting for my listening ears. There is poetry month, potlucks and guests.
There is always something missing, no matter where or what we are doing. I will absolutely, fiercely miss this family, but we will always remember this time. “The time has come when the walrus said to speak of many things…”
Lou Ann Homan Saylor lives in Angola in the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late at night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress, and porch story collector. She can be reached at [email protected]