So, it’s been a busy time, lately.
I’m working a lot, doing many fun theater things, and preparing for some awesome family life events.
My dear niece, Kayla, is getting married, and I had the honor of hosting one of her bridal showers. This meant a lot of sprucing up of the back yard. Projects I’d been planning on for years, but had never gotten to, now became a priority. Time I would have spent at work, or doing other things was now spent in preparing for this very fun day. I don’t regret a second of that time or effort. We had a wonderful day and it made me feel great to see my back yard full of smiling, loving women.
One woman that couldn’t make it to the shower, though, was my nephew’s wife, Gloria, because she was very close to having her second child, a gorgeous little boy! She’s such an incredible mom. Their little family have been the trailblazers of their generation into the frightening world of adulthood.
The fact that my sisters are grandmas continually amuses and awes me.
On the same day as the wedding, my own amazing girl is graduating from Idyllwild Arts. (I know, it seems like just a second ago I was writing about her going there!) Luckily, the timing will work out so we can do both, but I’ve still got gatherings to plan, travel arrangements to make, shoes to buy.
Oh, and we also had Claire’s 18th birthday to celebrate! Unfortunately, that didn’t consist of much more than a skype call, but I did manage to get to the post office to send a care package!
Two weeks after the graduation/wedding day, my son will graduate from UC Irvine. While I think we’re all feeling a bit more laid back about this event, it’s still a pretty big deal for me. I’m so deeply proud of all he’s accomplished and so excited for his future.
And the excitement doesn’t stop in June! We’ve got traveling plans, big moves for each of the kids, and who knows what else coming up on the horizon.
And as thrilled as I am for all of these wonderful, life-affirming, family events, it honestly makes me pretty tired sometimes to think about it all.
And it’s not just the physical energy all of this takes. Even more, for me, is the emotional toll these times can exact. Being faced almost daily with the reality of major life changes for my kids and others I love, along with the realization of how those changes will influence my own life, can just plain wear me out! More than once I’ve thought it would be nice to go back to the days when the biggest event of our life was a visit to the dentist before going to the park to hang out with our friends.
Then, memories of my mom’s last days pop into my head and I have to take a second to re-learn one of the last lessons she taught me.
As my mom sat, for days on end, in a depressing hospital room, knowing she was going to die soon, we talked about lots of different things: the book I was reading to her…what my kids were doing…what she might want to eat that day…how stories were shared between ancient peoples. What she didn’t talk much about was the fact of her death, that she knew it was a matter of months, or less, and she would be gone.
One of the few times she brought the subject up, and the only time she cried with me about the fact that her life was ending, was one afternoon when my nephew had just brought his new girlfriend to meet her. They’d spent some time visiting and, knowing these three, I’m sure laughter was involved in the conversation. After Spenser and Amanda left, Mom looked at me with tears in her eyes.
In a choked voice she said, “This is the worst part. Every time I’m with the kids, all I can think is ‘I’m going to miss it!!’ I’m going to miss the big things in their lives that I was so looking forward to. I’m going to miss it all.”
This conversation came back to me as I watched Kayla, at her shower, open her gift from her mom: a charm for her bracelet, the one Gramma Barbara had given her so many years ago. Now, each time Kayla wears it, she’ll have another reminder of her Gramma, who loved her so much, and who didn’t want to miss this moment, who might have given this very gift…her own engagement ring, now charm-sized.
And I am reminded to deeply cherish each of these moments, and to be so grateful that I am here to experience them.