Monday, July 12, 2010


My sister just posted a whole history of our family in photographs and I spent most of yesterday morning looking at our past lives. For some wonderful and weird reason, my sisters were too and we conversed through Facebook comments in almost real time. It reminded me that nobody shares my history like those three women and that laughing with Chris, Holly, and Alison is something I all too rarely do now.

I just returned from a quick trip to the states where I spent as much time as was humanly possible with my two sons. While my sisters and I are bound by the same history, my sons allow me to inhabit theirs. That's a gift that I never take for granted, and as I write those words my throat tightens.

In a perfect world, they would live in this city. We'd explore and question and travel together, and separately, and introduce each other to what we discovered on our own. I try to think that's what we do now, and that my neighborhood is simply more farflung than it was when we all lived in Seattle. I tell myself that if we lived in different regions of the states, we'd see each other no more often than we do now. I remind myself that I never wanted to be the kind of parent who clings to her adult offspring, and that my mother lived a continent away from her own mother, and that my mother and I haven't lived in the same geographic area since I was twenty.

And yet--I truly like my sons. I would like them and would seek out their company even if I hadn't given birth to them. One of the greatest pleasures of my Seattle life was being able to call them and say let's eat sushi and have a beer this week. Going on Facebook to see what they're up to, like some sort of cyberstalker, just isn't the same.

My sisters and I share a past, and that's important. My sons and I--with them it's always been the present that matters, who they are at this moment, savoring the time that is now.

Yes, I love my life in this part of the world--it's what draws me back. But the pull exerted by two men on the other side of the globe never stops tugging at me. And in answer to a question about parenthood from one of my sisters--no, it doesn't come with an expiration date.


Dr. Will said...

You are more fortunate than you can possibly know to be in close touch with your siblings and children. Some of us never achieve that.

Tokyo Ern said...

I'm looking forward to hanging out with my parents soon as well, as they will be coming to Tokyo at the end of this month!

Jessi Cotterill said...

Hi Janet... Sometimes I just forgot you've got children. I've always thought you're my friend at my age. Oh..I need to friend you in Facebook.

Jessi Cotterill said...

I can't find you on FB. It always goes to this "Janet Browne"