Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A perfect summer day. . .or two

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” - Winnie the Pooh
This is the summer that I'm really not going to get and as a teacher and a kid at heart, that makes me sad. Or at least that's what I've told myself, but yesterday could be categorized as a beautiful summer day.

I started my day with my friend Norah picking me up at 5:10am to go running.  I am lucky enough to have a group of friends who motivate me and keep my accountable with running. As I often say. . . .their jog is my sprint and we spend Tuesday mornings at the track. Well they spend Tuesdays at the track; I sometimes make it, but our camaraderie has kept me running. I sure am going to miss chasing them.

As a way to send me off, they had champagne mimosas. . at 6am.

 So thankful for girlfriends. I met Jodie the first summer I moved to this neighborhood  and her beauty was only surpassed by her kindness and fun spirit.

Then, I came home to send off Anna Cate to camp and Molly to swim practice.
 Molly was so excited she is swimming 5 events. In soaking up her success of swim team, she is not phased by leaving it. I have a lot to learn from this sentiment.

Both yesterday and today the girls have had play dates at the pool with friends and in the evening  we were treated to a lovely dinner from our dear friend Marian. Marian's mother and BJ's mother were friends so I think of it as a 4th generation friendship and the epitome of my Dad's words "friends don't have to be your own age."

These steps are famous because Abraham Lincoln spoke to the people of Fredericksburg during the Civil War. It was a special evening being with Marian. 

 We went to FOODE which is in a building that used to be a bank and on these steps, Abe Lincoln spoke to the people of  Fredericksburg during the Civil War.
 It was a nice place to be to celebrate Virginia with one her finest belles.
 Anna Cate couldn't join us since she is at camp.

Marian and Molly did 1st grade together this year.  After Molly went to Maine with her folks from church, Marian went to Molly's class to read to them about cranberry farming the week of Thanksgiving, but that special occasion became a monthly treat for the first graders in Mrs. Rivers' class. Marian taught many many years and retired many years ago, but she has not lost her touch.  

It was a beautiful summer evening in Fredericksburg. 
We dropped MumMum off and she and Molly did their trick for bread.

As we drove off, I noticed BJ was crying. . .his first expression of emotion about leaving. Clearly, Marian is a big deal -- she is almost like an institution and the epitome of grace, class, love and what we have loved about our life in Fredericksburg.  A perfect end to a perfect summer's day,
 Some of our friends have signed this quilt made for us. In its messages, I realize the truth of life I learned in a perfect summer day. I appreciate the messages, the sentiments, and the experiences worth writing about as we say goodbye, but as we live in the present -- it's all we ever really have anyway. 

Here are the girls Saturday night at a church picnic. 

 My goodness am I going to miss Erin and the influence she has in their life. . .and mine.

Tonight while Anna Cate is at  camp with Erin, Molly enjoyed a great swim meet. It is not lost on me that the last night in our home we were at a swim meet -- what I'll miss the most about living here in the summer. 

“Goodbyes make you think. They make you realize what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted.” -Ritu Ghatourey

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Birthday/Father's Day/Life Reflection Post

Tonight I'm sitting on the front porch, listening to the rain, drinking bourbon and thinking of my Dad, and how I'm a day late trying to write about Father's Day. I'm ruminating on how to write a usual blog about my birthday, my thoughts on life, how to wrap up the end of our school year, of ways  to chronicle this move we will make this week, of our life here we are leaving.  Mostly, I'm sitting with my feelings and my thoughts swishing around in my scattered brain. So, I'll try to categorize it just to get it out.

My 41st birthday thoughts on life. . .
Friday was my birthday and usually I take the time to go on a long run to sort of life (20142013201220112010),  what I've learned, what truths I'm trying to live.  I often go to the battlefields nearby because they are beautifully preserved in a sea of strip malls and the concrete suburban jungles. In those hallowed steps, I reflect on the sacrifice of lost lives and find comfort in natural beauty.  This year, I went to Chancellorsville Battlefield (where I went two years prior and pondered BJ's impending Parkinson's Diagnosis), but because I had to work in the afternoon, I only had time for 4 miles.
 I thought to myself, "a big reason I run here is because it reminds me of home, so it is ok to get a shorter run today. . . I am moving home!" Then I came home to this present from Mom.

We've decided we are going to celebrate my birthday next month. . .it just took a back seat to life this year. As Molly Mae said Friday night, "Mom, this is neither the time nor the place to celebrate your birthday. . . I mean look at all these boxes?!"

And my thoughts on life. Well,  it caught up to me at the end of the school year.  BJ compared it to playing a Mike Tyson video game as kid where the player only got so many punches, and after that last punch, the game was over. I took a few mental days to myself because I had just "had enough" of student behavior with a difficult population. One day, I'll write a book. This is a nice little symbol. . .when I turned in my teacher badge, you can't even see my face.

 I can say the health issues of our Fall, the move, the goodbyes, the uncertainty and shaky ground of health, finances, the stress of my securing a new job all just caught up to me. The one thing I've learned this year with both my professional and personal life is I'm not very good at setting boundaries and my expecting the best from everyone has not exactly served me well in a time when I've been weak and vulnerable.  I need to figure out how to sort through all that moving forward.  I'm in therapy and the word she uses is developing some armor or my inner B*#@$.  Some see my openheartedness as weakness and I have not patience or tolerance for those people in this season of my life. But I have running. . ..and I will look at this year as one I got through.  I'm thankful to still be running, literally and metaphorically, which brings me to my Dad.

My Dad. . .
In the the hardest year of my life, the punches have hit him as hard as they have me, maybe harder.  In many ways, it tears me up to know our life has caused him such angst, but in the midst of guilt, I feel waves of love and support. I hope that with our move he can see we are ok, that we are happy and that we are fine, which brings me to our move and saying goodbye to our life here.

Moving. . .
The girls are so excited to move and I have had an epiphany on children. The thing that makes them exhausting also makes them incredibly resilient and hopeful. They are always looking to "what's next." And they are excited about what's next, but before then, we are saying goodbyes here.  I am emotional, but mostly, I'm just thankful for the love, opportunities and life we have had here.

Here are some scenes recently of being intentional about seeing friends to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything. It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it. Trey Parker