We have visitors.  My sister, my brother-in-law, my nephew, which sounds very my-ish, though how else to say?  They do not belong to me, are not mine-mine, though they are mine in heart speak, if there is such a thing, and I think that there is.  It’s a quick visit, one dinner, one sleep, one breakfast.  It’s good to see their faces and hear their voices and be in the same room.  They are minus one, my niece, so we don’t get to enjoy all of them but most of them, secondhand stories filling in blanks.

After dinner, when it is only me and my sister, sitting on stools at the kitchen counter, she says something and I reply with tears.  The tears come hard and fast and she hugs me and I feel understanding in her arms.  There isn’t time to dive into the words that might accompany the tears because, all of a sudden, everyone strolls into the kitchen, the driveway basketball effort over.  But that burst of tears releases something, something wound up tight now looser, her hug coiling more softly what is still there.

Before they leave, they bring me towels and bed linens and I say pile them there, just there and when it’s time for them to leave, there are hugs all around, I give at least two rounds each.  Once they’ve driven away and I can see their car no longer, the kids and I come back inside, my daughter lingering in the kitchen, she and I finding our way to the kitchen stools, soaking in the good energy floating in that space, the good energy that lingers.  Lingers, I like the feeling this word offers, its softness, slowness, stay-ness.  The pup plops down on the pile of used towels and linens, curls herself into the folds with complete disregard for dampness from recent showers, she lingers.

If there is one word I could choose as a way to move through the world—besides love and listen—I think it might be linger.  Lingering at the kitchen counter, lingering in the driveway with goodbye hugs, lingering over a poem, a cup of tea, a plate of scrambled eggs with goat cheese and avocado on the side.  Lingering in softness, in slowness, in stay-ness.  The pup knows there’s no hurry to put damp towels into the wash, knows that sometimes the damp and the soft are bound together, are one and the same.  She lingers a while, I will try to do the same.  Just there is fine, just there.

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
~ David Viscott ~

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12 thoughts on “lingering

  1. “Linger” is such a great word! This reminded me of an early campout we took our Girl Scout troop on. There was this lovely woman who was more experienced with leading a troop than we were, and her girls were slightly older. They happened to be at the same camp, a few sites over. They invited our troop over to hang out at their fire after dinner so they could show our girls some of the GS traditions and teach them some songs. One of their troop traditions was that the last song they sang was a lullaby called “Linger.” My girls loved it and I was in tears by the end of the song–something about it just hit me at the time, I guess.

    As we’ve all gotten older and busier, it feels like my side of the family doesn’t get together as often as we’d like anymore. One of the things I miss, especially when we’d all go stay with my parents, is the staying up late, lingering over one more slice of pie or glass of wine while we play a game or just sit and talk.

    1. Helena, this brought back GS memories of my own…so many fond memories of singing by the campfire! There’s something magical about singing by the fire, isn’t there?

      And I know what you mean about family not getting together as often; things have shifted for me and my family too. Thank goodness for the memories and the times we do get together. The lingering is a gift. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences; it makes everything so rich. xo

  2. Your description of the visit matches how I would describe so many such visits over the years to my own family, a similarity that I suspect most people can relate to. Especially when I was still living at home, I remember the goodbyes and hugs by the car and standing by the front door waving until company was out of sight. Then a sigh from my mother before we all went back inside. She would then tackle the sinkful of dishes from the last meal (no dishwashers then) that company had offered to help with, but she always declined the help. She explained to me once that doing the dishes by herself after everyone was gone was a way for her to extend the time with these visitors and recall the laughter and stories and good times (and maybe too some tears or sadness) a little longer while their memory was still fresh. I suspect your towels and sheets fall into that same category. Much to linger over while we visit, and much to linger over after the visit is over. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sheila, ohmygoodness, thank YOU for sharing this. I’ve read your words multiple times now; such a lovely and thoughtful comment. I guess I’ve been lingering with you and this story you’ve shared :) xo

      1. Actually, I’m so grateful to you for conjuring up these memories of my own. My parents have been gone for a long time and the rest of my family live far away with visits a rarity. It was particularly very nice to be reminded of that sweetness of my mother and her endless ability to linger over memories.

    1. I agree, and I think that’s exactly what this burst was. And our pup is most definitely fluffy and cute (I’m not at all biased) and very good to cuddle; she might be spoiled by all the cuddling she gets around here ;)


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