May you build a ladder to the stars

When we first arrived here last year, we came to an empty house. Greg had rented a few pieces to hold us over--a table and chairs, two sofas, and comfy beds--but really we were a bare bones operation. After the rushrushrush of selling the house, packing up, driving across the country, and booking visits with as many friends and family as we could before we left the continent...suddenly all that busy-ness came to a screeching halt and we had absolutely empty calendars and six weeks before school started.

For the first few days, it was novel. We were really tired and spent the time filling up on some rest and getting that fuzzy travel feeling out of our heads. But after that we had to go through a kind of busy detox.  My internal odometer was at odds with our new peaceful pace. It took a while to get it out of my system.  I had this vague feeling I should be somewhere and that we should be doing things, filling our days with errands and motion to justify our existence. The kids seemed to feel it, too, and got cranky and flopped around, sighing about the empty house, empty life.

[After a few days, we got into the rhythm of it, as though we had come out on the other side of a chattering detox. It felt really good. Different things grow in that kind of space--a different kind of listening and creativity, time to really pay attention, think, and look. A different kind of self discipline. It was a lovely change.]

But that's not what this post is about. No, this is more of a fangirl post.


This might sound utterly pathetic (I know it does) but do you know who accompanied us through those weeks? The Bravermans. Yes, the fictional tv clan from the show Parenthood. We watched an episode (or two) every day, starting with the first season and plowing on through until we were caught up. They were our vicarious family friends at a time when we didn't have anyone but ourselves. We were more than a little homesick for those deliciously chaotic Sunday multi-family dinners of our own that we had left behind (oh, the Braverman long outdoor table! Would we ever fill our table that way again?). We even cried cathartic tears along with them. We sang along to the theme song (Bob Dylan's Forever Young) at full volume, an anthem and prayer sung in the midst of this teen-seismic move and all its unknowns:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young

A year later, we have schedules and friends and busyness and lessons and furniture and much less time to just sit around together. It's a case of both see-everything-works-out-just-fine and be-careful-what-you-wish-for. The Bravermans no longer serve as placeholders for future friends and have retreated like all good imaginary friends at the end of their run. Last week found me singing along during the opening credits of the new season of Parenthood with a tiny lump in my throat, a bit nostalgic for those simple, echo-y empty house days when our world boiled down to just each other for six weeks or so. Well, us and the Bravermans.

- I couldn't resist this Forever Young locket as a special gift for Maddy last Christmas. I think it makes a great graduation, birthday, Bat Mitzvah, quinceanera, or Christmas present.

- Parenthood has a terrific soundtrack.  They know their tunes, those folks.

- What shows are you watching this season? Do have a family show you all watch together? Have you had a certain touchstone show/movie/book that came along at the right time?