I had a busy week this week doing a lot of socializing and catching up. Once upon a time, a long time ago I was involved in High School theater. We had a foreign exchange student from Amsterdam who joined us backstage.
The theater bunch in high school was pretty tight. We all spent whatever spare time we had hiding out in the theater shop. We were also, many of us, involved with band and/or choir – which meant pep rallies and marching band. There were days when I would get to school before 6am and not leave again until after midnight.
Many of us have stayed in the area and stayed in touch. This week we had the honor of being visited by our dear Dutch friend! The opportunity for a reunion was enough to get a few of our out of state friends to fly in as well.
I didn’t participate in all of the activities, but we did have a lovely get together and reminiscence on Monday evening. Many of us also got dolled up to go swing dancing at the Wabasha Caves on Thursday.
In addition to all of the walking down memory lane I managed to acquire the grandpuppy for the weekend. She needed some walking as well!
Another friend (this one more recent) remembered she’d bought tickets to a water lantern festival. She was going to be out of town and offered the tickets up. Different group this time, but still connecting with friends and being out and about.
I’m really grateful for the opportunities this week. Besides the public transitions of John McCain and Neil Simon there are also several others happening both in my family circle and for other close friends and their families. It’s nice to have a distraction, and to be able to share memories.
One of the hardest things with loss is that the person who dies takes your shared memories with them. That’s true with divorce, with breaking up a friendship, and especially true when a good friend or close relative dies. Getting together with my high school bunch helped me to remember, and also made me appreciate how we share those memories.
The water lantern festival (in it’s non-culturally appropriated form) is also an opportunity for remembrances. Both of the friends I attended with took the opportunity to acknowledge the people they have lost on their lanterns. I am grateful as well for the opportunity to make new memories and cultivate new friends.
Births and deaths. It seems the older I get the more these things mark the passages of my life. The graduations and weddings come in clusters and I’m at an ebb for those. Births and deaths on the other hand seem constant, a little here a little there but always something to count on in the course of a year. This last week there were, of course, several of these that touched my life briefly. Two, however, make a personal impact.
David Groska was the tech director for the theater department when I was in high school. He was barely older than us students and we loved him for that, his talent, and his sense of humor. He also had an explosive temper, which we found amusing as well. In retrospect I don’t think I would have appreciated being stapled to the set either.
He dated one of my classmates and they married shortly after. Not because they had to, but because they were meant to be together. So why wait? Teresa is now his widow and grateful for every moment they had together.
It wasn’t easy for them. They started out young and poor. Their eldest son had CP and some mobility issues. Their second added all the complications of a sibling to a child with special needs. Familiar as I am with this dynamic I can say Teresa and David handled it brilliantly.
The boys enjoyed being outdoors with their Dad. They built forts and camped out and hunted. Even though those boys are well on their way to being independent productive adults they’ll never stop missing their Dad.
David had been fighting with cancer for several years. Teresa and the boys were by his side every step of the way. The disease finally caught up with him. He’s free of pain and we are all left with memories.
On the other side of things my nephew Zac and his partner Darcy had their new baby on Friday: Emmaline Rae McMahon. This is their third, and the first girl. Adian is older, the High School boyfriend’s son. He’s such a proud big brother – as long as he doesn’t have to share his room with the babies. Babies is plural because Charles is just a year and a half old. He’s not quite sure what to make of the new baby, but we know he’ll be great too.
Andrea, my sister, is glowing. She’s been driving back and forth from her house in Northern Minnesota to the kids in Mankato in crazy weather and nasty traffic conditions. We placed bets on whether she’d make it to Thanksgiving dinner. In my household the money was on her sitting down to eat and the call coming in. Finally the wait is over.
Karina texted me, “The pic of Andrea and Emmaline makes me want to have a baby for you.” Me too, but I told her not to rush on my account. I’ve been ready to be a Grandma for years, I can wait a few more. My “little” sister’s been a Grandma for 4 years now. Owen got to go meet his cousin over the weekend and he was enchanted. Orion and I will probably hold out until the family gets together for the holidays. You may get another post about Emmaline yet….
The world turns in circles: wins and losses, plusses and minuses, births and deaths and the turn of the seasons. It’s hard to find gratitude with some of those turns, and much easier with others. I keep looking for it in small ways even when I can’t find it in the larger more obvious places.
Here’s hoping your life changes this week are slightly distant (it’s easier that it’s neither my husband nor my grandchild) or at least not quite so dramatic as life and death.