I went to my parents’ cottage recently. They were out of town and left me a key. I wasn’t quite sure if they were going to say yes when I asked if I could go. I wasn’t sure if they would trust me… but they did.
Opening the door, it was like I had stepped back in time. Everything was the same, but I was different. The furniture, the books, the dishes, and even the magazines in the bathroom drawers, were all just where I had left them. It was as if nothing had changed in 6 years… but so much has.
Back in the day, I was a really good aunt at the cottage. It’s where I learned how to be a mom. I took care of my nephews, fed and bathed them, did special things with them and hugged them at night when they/I felt scared. I spent a lot of time as a young aunt learning and practising to be a mom. I envisioned parenting my kids in that same cottage, washing my kids’ hair in the same lake all summer and taking them on the same quiet boat rides early in the morning when the lake is calm…but I never did that. My kids didn’t know that my parents’ have a cottage until this summer.
I used to watch my husband (boyfriend) playing with my nephews at the cottage and daydream about the amazing father he would be. When we got there last week, I looked out the window to see my husband and son playing catch in the yard. It looked just like my daydream…
Being at the cottage felt nice – but it was also terribly sad. My parents’ cottage is huge. They built a big bedroom for each of their 4 children and extra space for all of the grandchildren that they were expecting.
It’s like walking through a house of broken dreams. Every bedroom and extra washroom and baby gate and bunk bed shows the thought that they put into building a home for their entire family. But now it’s empty. Like, dustballs rolling around empty.
There are photos all around, photos of the entire family having dinner outside on the lawn, photos of my parents with (some of) their grandchildren, playing in the lake, eating popsicles, doing cottage things. It’s like that was a different life with different people.
Being there makes me yearn for those times, it makes me want to blow that horn from Narnia that makes everyone gather. But then… there’s a reason we scattered. Even though it’s sometimes hard for me to remember.