…or maybe the title should be: A Funeral, A Teenager, Natural Disasters and a Wedding
That sounds like a stage play, but that about sums up what I did this summer. It is that time of year when kids go back to school and the first assignment is the ever famous and dreaded essay, “What I Did This Summer. I figured I would join in on the fun.
Most of my summer was spent visiting my grandmother in the hospital or the nursing home. She passed away in July and since then, I have been trying to figure out what “normal” is again. I haven’t been in much of a mood to talk to anyone or hang out much. I’m functioning day-to-day because I have to. Life ended for my grandmother, but I still have people and things I have to take care of daily. The “normal” I am familiar with, no longer exist and I guess it’s a bit of a shock to my system. It’s like having someone give you a swimming lesson by picking you up and tossing you in the water, and hoping you have enough sense to kick your legs and move your arms to get back to the safety of solid ground. You go into survival mode. You are either so shocked that you do nothing and sink like a rock, or your fight or flight instinct kicks in and you do all in your power to stay afloat. I’m afloat, but I don’t know how far it is to the shore. Time will tell.
This summer was also a big deal for my daughter. She moves on from middle school to high school. I’m excited and scared all at once. I have a high schooler. I don’t think anything horrible is going to happen. It’s just the fact that high school is four very short years away from college. It’s four years away from her being accepted to an institution that may be far away from me. I don’t want my baby to go far away…ever! The end of middle school and her turning 15 this summer is forcing me to accept that she is really growing up. She is going to be driving soon. Boys are going to be sniffing around even more than they do already. I’m not sure if I can handle it! I don’t know where the time went! It seems like just yesterday she was trying to escape from her crib in the middle of the night. Now, she is this beautiful, opinionated, bubbly, outgoing, funny as all get-out, and strong-willed young lady…I can’t figure out when it happened! I want to turn the hands of the clock back! But I guess it gives me time to get used to the notion that she is going to have to leave me in order to start her own life very soon.
I experienced my very first earthquake. (Insert dramatic pause here.) I don’t want to experience another. Ever. This quake rattled everything from the Carolinas to Toronto. I intentionally avoid places like California, simply because I am not a fan of the earth literally moving beneath my feet. It’s not natural. Questions like, “did the earth move for you, too?” should be limited to romantic conversation only as far as I’m concerned. I also experienced the 2nd hurricane in my lifetime. Hurricane Gloria was my first, Irene is the second. Miss Irene came through causing a whole lot of trouble all the way up the east coast. We lost power and phone service (yes, I went through technology withdrawal syndrome for a few hours), there was a tornado watch in our area and of course, flooding. Unfortunately, some lives were lost, and families have been displaced due to flooding and tornadoes. Thankfully, my family was safe. The storm really made me appreciate what matters most. My mother, younger brother, daughter and I huddled in the basement and talked while waiting out the tornado watch. The only technology we had were flashlights and an iPod for music. Things did not matter at that point. We were together and that was most important.
The high note of the summer was the wedding of a friend. It was a beautiful ceremony. The service and reception were an intimate gathering of family and friends. (I inherited some new family members yesterday…how cool is that?!) Have you ever seen two people who just “fit”? This is beyond, “they look cute together.” They are, but it’s their souls that fit and I think everyone in attendance saw and felt it. The most beautiful part of the ceremony was when the kids took the mic and expressed how happy they were to belong to each other. Yeah…my eyeliner was pretty much done at that point…I didn’t even bother to reapply it! Kids are so honest and listening to these kids, you could tell they are in the most loving environment a child could ever wish for. But, the wedding brought a little balance back for me. It outweighed the challenging part of my summer. A few hours at the wedding did not erase the time leading up to the loss of my grandmother. It put into perspective that life goes on, and going on is a good thing.