Monday, August 30, 2010

Hug the ones you love

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks as Nicole started her new job and we all adapted to the changes in our lifestyle. We seem to have worked out the shower schedule and have enough bandwidth to accommodate the extra computer. It isn't ideal but what in life is? We are figuring out how to make it work because that is what family does (at least in our family).

My 55th birthday was last week. Just writing those numbers gives me pause. In my head I'm still 40-45. In my father's head he's 75 not 92. I guess it isn't so unusual that the changes time makes in our bodies aren't matched by the vision in our minds. It was a quiet day, sort of. Nicole was off work for the day and was studying. Since she studies by talking through the ideas she's reading, we wound up chatting most of the day. Although the dinner out was nice and birthday presents fun, the gift of a day with my daughter was the best.

This weekend we were harshly reminded of how quickly life can change. My daughter's new boss, the woman she went to high school with, who took a chance on a new grad to mentor, was gunned down by the father of her children, along with 5 others at a birthday party. It's been all over the news. You may have heard about it and thought, "how sad..." but our family, our community is reeling from the blow. Facebook is full of anguished questions of former classmates and friends of the victims. How does one make sense out of something so senseless?

Nicole was not due back to work until this morning. Instead she hit the road shortly after receiving a call requesting help at the hospital. Some people couldn't work after hearing the news. Most were in shock and leaning on each other for support. Nicole wanted to do what she could to help because that is who she is. Although my heart hurts for her and all of those so immediately touched by this tragedy, I couldn't be prouder of Nicole and the poise and compassion she brought to the situation.

Now the questions will begin. Why didn't someone do something sooner? How could this have happened? How does one pick up the pieces and go on with life? In an instant life can change. We don't know when or how. What we can do is hug the ones we love, tell them they are important to us every day and live fully and joyfully.

Have a good day. Live. Laugh. I'm thankful for each of you and the joy and friendship you have brought to my life. Just thought I needed to say that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Blink You Might Miss It

I'm always amazed at how quickly life can shift. Last week I was an empty nester and now my daughter will be living with us part time and working at our local hospital. HUH?

The good news is Nicole has a job as an RN. She started today. The other good news is that we get to see her more. The other good news is that she will have benefits and be financially solvent. The other good news is that she is starting the RN to BSN program at Arizona State University online this week. That is a lot of good news.

There will certainly be adjustments for her SO and the pets, especially this first six weeks while she is orienting and training. There will be adjustments for Guitar Guy and I after 5 years of having no children at home! There will be adjustments for all of us as we learn to co-exist as adults, not parent and child.

I've learned to be careful not to blink or I might miss what is coming next!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Now I remember humidity!

I landed in Iowa and my hair started curling and frizzing. Heat and high humidity combined with occasional sprinkles have reminded me how much I hated my hair when I lived in the Midwest! Cleaning out my dad's garage storage cabinets also resulted in the rivulets of sweat that start with any activity in this kind of heat. There is a reason I worked at a swimming pool when I was young :-)

I've spent with the last 5 days with my dad, as I do about every 3 months. We get done what errands he is able to do and spend lots of time eating and talking. Every time I arrive I can see the incremental losses in motion and ability since I was last there. His mind, as sharp as ever, dwells in a body that cooperates less every day. Emptying the dishwasher has become an energy-sucking chore. Getting the top off of Tupperware is almost impossible. Walking to the mailbox requires a 2 hour rest. Days are long with few visitors and yet he perseveres.

We talk about the news and argue politics. We remember good times and talk about the struggles of life and aging. We share memories of my mother and laugh at old pictures. Underlying the love and companionship is the pang of loss and the shared awareness that time is short. Each visit could be the last, The hugs goodbye are tight and tears glisten in our eyes.

But softening the sorrow is a little boy with blonde curls, who at 14 months has boundless energy and a giggle that lightens the heart. He hugs his great grandpa and says "hi" 40 times in an hour. He is the legacy - continuing the love that binds family together, carrying the love of music and gadgets, stories and hugs.

Life is good.