This staircase creaks something awful! There are boards I know by heart that used to be a dead giveaway to my teen-aged curfew violations and though I am now 43, I still avoid those steps with cat-like agility. The sturdy banister is time worn and softer than cashmere, it's surface sanded by countless hands over two centuries. Steep steps that befuddle those not raised in an old house. I can still hear the missed steps of visitors clutching the banister to steady their climb. I still feel my own bruised tailbone from flying too fast down the stairs in socked feet, bouncing my way to the bottom.
Communion dresses, Confirmation dreses, prom dress after prom dress and eventually my bridal gown were carefully lifted so my toes would touch each step to avoid any mishaps. Shoes were always put on at the bottom of the stairs. I didn't realize then that my life would take me thousands of miles away from these creaky old stairs. As the years passed I made it back home for holidays. Tiny shoes of my daughter, new nieces, and nephews could be heard thundering up and down followed by the standard calls to be careful- though, remembering my own falls, I knew that the first careless slip was usually the last! And now those toddler steps are the lazy lunkering of teens on the verge of their own high school proms. So fleeting is time.
Sitting in my parents' house I realize I am on the threshold of change in my life. Until recently I have lived for everyone else- as all moms do. I have made many school lunches, helped with homework, balanced a string of careers, maintained the home, fed a bazillion pets, and put 100,000 miles on my car just running errands and kids around town. But today, on vacation back in Connecticut with my only child on her final high school spring break, I realize that my soon to be empty nest is full of possibilities.
That man I married the day I carefully descended these steps with my fistfuls of lace, now travels the world and has afforded me the chance to travel with him. Working full time for myself, I can spend more time visiting family whom I have missed so much over the past 20 years. The greatest reward in life is family. Having my daughter roll her eyes at her grandfather's jokes and crouch through the tiny corridors of this old New England house are priceless memories in the making. Seeing my daughter skip the same stair steps that I did at her age, I hear her exclaim, "God, this stair CREAKS!". Seeing her full grown, walking the stairs behind her grandmother, I can't help but think, "Yes, this stair creaks something beautiful!"
LOVE & TIME