May 30, 2015: Sleepy Circle

The view outside my bedroom window, 8:49 pm
Our windows are cracked on a beautiful May Saturday night. The only sounds are the chirping of birds from nearby trees and a distant hum of car engines. Lawns are mowed and trash bins quietly put away without a sound of human in range.

Home from a movie and dinner, Garrett and I are greeted only by our happy animals. Grant is out fishing with friends without a thought of hanging out at home. We haven't seen Ben's smiling face since Thursday morning when he left for his summer job. A text this morning let me know he was safely at his dad's.

A lot has changed in the fifteen years since we first inhabited this house. My recent addiction to watching home video tapes has been a stark reminder of this. Each converted DVD runs about 2 hours and I watch them from start to finish, noticing the little life details that were temporarily forgotten.

December 2000 was our move in date to Elm Circle. This was right before Grant's first Christmas. The boys were seven, four, and nine months. All was fresh, new, and vibrant in our little circle in West Omaha. Many of our neighbors were new to the circle as well.

Three boys lived across the street and three girls next door. Varying ages led to lifelong friends with Zach and Brian, moving in within a month of each other at age seven, with an abundance of summer nannies and babysitters for my younger crew.

In 2000, there were sixteen collective children living in our seven circle homes. Today there are two of school age with a sprinkling of young adults who still come and go. And the the most impressive statistic? There has only been one home 'turn-over' in these last 15 years.

Life in the circle has been filled with pick-up baseball games in my backyard and night tag filling the dark with screams and giggles. Birthday parties, graduation celebrations, and crashed girl sleep-overs kept our little circle hopping. With two pools and a social group of kids, parking has historically been a premium. But an 'open-door' policy has always existed that if one house was having a party, the circle was welcome.

Yesterday as Garrett and I chatted outside with our neighbors, we found the conversation centered around our animals, not our grown children. We were counting the circle dog population, including grand-dogs. Trips were discussed without a single sound of a bouncing basketball or child play in the background.

Times have definitely changed. Do I miss the commotion of years past? I do. But I also know that time doesn't sit still. I also believe my house has a bit of a heart beat. Garrett observed this after spending time here. There is a warm rhythm behind either the constant chaos or quiet calm. The beat gets stronger with the years and irrespective of the daily motion.

Thank goodness for the home videos that capture the past snip-its. My guilty pleasure of the moment is to enjoy these videos with the calm quiet and sleepy circle....while time moves into the new chaos of my days.

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