I’ve spent some time this past week trying to figure on the nature of disappointment. I have been fighting against it in context. This context being spending a week in the house where I grew for 17 years before exploding out into the world. I was pushing it away because I thought it was a reaction seeped in nostalgia, a disappointment that things are not as they once were, and never will be again. I fought against that, because that is nothing to be disappointed in, it is something to celebrate. Then I realized. Though I had known this in my depths, and perhaps even consciously at some level, it became more clear.

I was not disappointed by some past loss, because I am not there (or then). I am disappointed by this loss. Now. The loss of possibility. I was not ever the one hoping that nothing would change, to be 16 forever, to always have all three of us children always at home. I had hoped for something better, something more rich, fulfilling, exciting. I had dreamed of more friends and family. Loved ones. I thought the wonder of children grew with the child, and that as an adult the world be more grand and more full of possibility. I have found that to be so. The world has bestowed upon me many magical gifts. I was away from my initial home for some time discovering them.

I return, bearing a chest of trinkets, all non-material treasures that I want to share, but I come home and the house seems bigger, and also smaller. More empty. Less full of matter. More full of possibility. I hang my presents upon the mantle, put some under the tree, but Christmas morning comes and goes and they remain unopened. They are invisible and unspeakable. How many other gifts have been left here, lingering in the attic or tucked away in the cellar? How do I find them?

I pack my suitcase, making an art of the folded shapes. In one corner I try to push a pair of shoes, but feel resistance. Oh, yes, I had forgotten this one. Invisible things are easy to lose. It is about the size of a mason jar, full of little pieces that could be wrapped like lemon drops. I lift the gift into my mind and shake the jar. Little pieces of hope I had wrapped individually. I sigh, and put it back in my suitcase. I’ll keep this one. I think I need it today.