Since the last Easter I celebrated at home occurred in the year 2008, my parents and I decided I’d make the trek up north to Maine to spend the holiday with them. And it truly has been a Maine getaway.
The gentlemen behind me on the Concord Coach bus to Bangor spoke of corneas and how easy it is to ‘rip them suckahs open again ‘cuz of tha dry weathah we get up heeyah.’ And of course, minutes after crossing into the state, I saw snow specked all over the sides of the highway. Breathe it in, you’re in Maine!
It has been such a stereotypical family weekend. Since I have to be back in Boston in time to teach on Monday, we celebrated Easter today with a feast made by my folks and a visit from my Aunt L. L, a year ago, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and as a 70-year old woman, her chances grew slimmer by the day. But she prevailed (she’s a survivor in so many ways) and she arrived this afternoon dawning a most fabulous and fierce hairpiece!
My parents, L, and I caught up over wine and chit-chat before sitting down for dinner. I put on the break-up song Pandora station (because it takes me a while to get over those things) for some softer sounding songs and enjoyed dinner.
The last Easter dinner I spent here in Maine, there were nine of us at the table; that number shrunk to four for this year’s holiday. My two great-uncles have passed on, my cousin and brother were out of town this weekend, and my aunt has reached maximum instability.
When I left for college and Korea, my parents warned/informed me that nothing would ever be the same. I sat at dinner tonight and stared at the extra chairs in the corner of our dining room and the table leafs leaning next to one of them. I thought of the time cousin N unintentionally poured hot coffee on my brother’s back, or when N dropped the gravy boat, splashing everyone in view (except herself of course) with the gray sauce, or when that same cousin broke one of our ’12 Days of Christmas’ wine glasses. Uncle W provided the humorous response, which brought the house down with laughter. Uncle S, N’s daughter, just shook his head.
But while the number of bodies seemed eerily small, the amount of love and joy in the room was just as strong and vibrant as I can recall. Dad made his off-color jokes, mom expressed embarrassment at her husband for said jokes but also seemed impressed with his creativity, and my aunt and I just shed tears laughing throughout the meal. I, being the youngest by four years, gave a tutorial on downloading apps onto a smartphone for the rest of the family and demonstrated how to use Whatsapp. Of course, each and every single family member managed to chime in with their two cents on how to use the device, but in the end, we got the app on my aunt’s phone so she can call her grandson stationed in England right now.
Everything, and nothing, has changed. My uncles are gone, an aunt is soon-to-be gone, and my cousin, brother and I are lucky to be in the same state at some point in the near future. But, with my parents and aunt L, we thrived today, making jokes left and right and fooling around with *gasp* technology. My dad even brought up a religious joke he made upon meeting one of my colleagues a month ago. Regardless, it felt good to be home again, and I just hope to see those seats filled with more loved ones yet to cross my/our paths in life.