A Family Reunion in Seattle and Newton’s Law of Attraction

Doc, I don’t see why I need all these meds. Can’t I stop them? Any of them?”

I hear this often from my patients. Sometimes they are right. They are on too many meds and don’t need them all. But sometimes it takes removing a medication for a period of time in order to truly appreciate its benefits.

It’s a crisp morning in Seattle. The sun is trying to break through the scattered clouds and there are waning remnants of fog coming off the harbor. I walk the three blocks to Pike’s Place and the public market, which is half empty as the fishmongers are making their way in. The rest of my family is still asleep, having all slept under the same roof for the first time in months. Months. That is what’s on my mind as I walk this morning. Thinking about plane rides, hugs, siblings and reunions.

I grab a few essentials for my sleeping crew: gluten free breakfast food for my daughter, a razor for my son, my own Venti Americano, Coke Zero for Becky, milk and cereal. I make my way back to our rental unit, buzzing for the start of our day. Our family of four. Four individual orbits that have come together here in the Pacific Northwest for a precious forty-eight hours.

We take the Link Light Rail across the city away from the harbor and skyscrapers, and make our way to the University of Washington and its traditional campus architecture. It is truly a picture-perfect fall day for a college tour. As I walk with Maya, I try to picture her among the students walking through the quad, the red square, and the union. Becky and Madison head in a different direction to enjoy some time together.

While Maya is occupied listening to our tour guide, my mind is free to wander. The day is truly magnificent. A perfect mix of cool temperatures, warm sun, a light breeze and a backdrop of trees with leaves full of fall colors. Discrete patches of thick white clouds move quickly across the sky. Not as static shapes, but dynamically altering their form as they twist and tumble, with a three-dimensional complexity I find fascinating. On the surface so simple, but with depth and layers that are mesmerizing. Their future as unpredictable as Madison and Maya’s.

We all meet back outside the Union. There is silly chatter, pictures and piggy-back rides. We joke and tease and smile. Yesterday’s travel to get here, and tomorrow’s departure, forgotten for the moment. There is a levity surrounding all of us, with no expectation or agenda other than simply enjoying each other’s company. The four of us are not just in close physical proximity to each other. The rhythms of our interactions are in sync in a way that has been missing for quite a while. Our individual orbits, for now, have become one.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that a particle attracts every other particle in the universe. In high school physics, I struggled with this concept, that the person ten feet away was exerting a gravitational force on me. But now I do appreciate the pull of my family’s orbits. A few months ago, the intensity and depth of our connection was present but not felt. Similar to my patients who appreciate the impact of their medicine  only in its absence, I am now more aware of the forces that bind and connect my family. And for the moment my world is perfect.



12 thoughts on “A Family Reunion in Seattle and Newton’s Law of Attraction

  • Jeremy, I know your Seattle trip was not a “college tour” for Maya but if she is considering going far off for college, Ethan attended The University of Puget Sound (UPS) and he loved it. Small very good school – small classes.

    • Thanks Joan. Actually her niece, Nayla goes to school there and she met up with us in Seattle. She loves it there and Maya is planning on visiting her by herself sometime in the next year.

      • Oh good! As I said Ethan loved it and I worried that I would never get him back to the Midwest. Ironically, he is the only one of our three kids that decided to live in Chicago.

  • Love what you do with description, e.g. linking the clouds to the kids, but the sweetest of all were the pictures/video of your family together/Maya greeting Madison. A joy to see!

  • I’m struck, always, by the universal in your writing, the hard choices in life that exist for all of us, the light filled moments when things come together for a moment. The sequence of your last two entries says it all, Jeremy. I am so grateful to be able a part of your world.

    • a little bit of a glitch, didn’t see some comments here. Anita, thanks for your thoughtful comments and hopefully my writing will continue to resonate!

  • Love love LOVE this one. Makes me think of my own family and the eternal/ephemeral. Peace, love, and hugs to you all.

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