Saturday, October 29, 2011

With many happy returns...

This week's view from the porch is pretty amazing.
I've gone to three birthday parties in the past 10 days. I don't think that's ever happened before.
One was a pizza party at a local restaurant hosted by the man with the birthday who turned 58 and whom I have always had a secret crush since I first met him years ago. More than two years ago, he had a stroke and we did not know if he would even make it. The stroke impaired him in many ways and communication is one of them. With great focus and determination, he ordered the meal for the entire table and was a perfect host in every way. What a celebration of life and of the immense work he has done to be up and out of his wheelchair and to regain everything he can. He's just super and I am proud to know him.
I went to a 50th birthday party this week and it was classy, relaxed, and the way to celebrate 50 years. It was fun to go to a party, talk with friends I haven't had a chance to really catch up with for awhile and feel like a grown up instead of just a parent.
And then last night, I went to a celebration of women. My dear friend has a birthday today and we celebrated the last day of her 70th year and the women in her life during this past year. I was very honored to be invited and as she predicted, the energy in the room was strong and evident. Eight women with roots from all over the world now living in Grinnell. Educators, nurses, social workers, musician, artists, clergy, mothers and about-to-be a mother, grandmothers, writers, sisters, lovers, and friends - and only nine of us around the table. The wisdom of generations of women. We enjoyed wine, music, baseball and an incredible meal that felt like Christmas...
Life is good, as they say.
Today I am reflecting on these three gatherings, the people, the energy, and the moments. It is the last possible day to get pumpkins, carve them and have them ready for the trick or treaters tonight.Nothing like waiting until the last moment...  We'll be baking and carving, listening to the Iowa game on the radio, and making a home.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Things to Come

The view from the porch today is a nice one - crunchy bronze leaves surround the mums in the front garden. Deep russet, burnt orange, bright gold. We had our first hard frost this week at my house and the mums have taken on richer hues. The grass is beautifully green and vibrant. I'll get the boy to cut the grass one more time this weekend, bagging up the leaves into mulch as he goes.

Last night I went to the varsity football game, the last home game of the season. It was kind of an orientation for me as I have lived here for six years and this is the first high school game I've attended. The 8th grade band played with the high school marching band and I recognize that this is a sign of things to come. Next year, the boy will be a high school freshman and we'll go between middle school activities for the girl and high school activities for the boy. So I went and had fun, learned the school song ending chant and had a good time with friends.

I was very flattered this week to be asked to take on an important leadership role at church. I really, really want to do it and think I could make a positive contribution. But the coming years with my kids at home are going to fly by, filled with concerts and games and life. There's a whole congregation of people who can step into that role and also make their own positive contribution. But only I can be Mom to my kids.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When October Goes

I'm resurrecting an entry originally posted October 28, 2009. The sentiment is just as true today. October continues to be a time of transition for me. As of today, I am legally divorced and single. October focuses me on family, home, and life's journey. Good thing I love this month...

Johnny Mercer said it well, "I should be over it now, I know. It doesn't matter much how old I grow. I hate to see October go."

I think the colors this year have been more vivid than I have remembered in many years. Maybe I always think that, but there are just some unusually spectacular looking trees out there. And they've just started to go past their peak. It's such a short time to really enjoy them.

To indulge my melancholy a little more before I shut it off, it isn't lost on me that the year is quickly coming to an end. Once Halloween is through, it is a sprint to New Year's Day, or so it seems.

It's been an interesting week. I witnessed a wedding of two lovers in middle age. A love that has not aged in 20 years, but rather has deepened and strengthened. Wonderful, affirming, and worshipful.

I also learned that a good friend has cancer. Again.

Two very different events in the space of a few days.

It fits with my melancholy mood, my realization that the Octobers are coming a little faster each year. I am reminded this week that life is precious and precarious. What dreams do I need to let go? What dreams do I need to pursue? What new twists does life have in store? What do I need to do to continue to live my life intentionally and with purpose? What do I need to do for my children as they grow before my eyes?

What do I need to do before it's too late?

Okay, enough melancholy.

What I need to do is enjoy life, with all its twists and surprises, joys and sorrows, and all the wonderful, amazing people I know and love. And to let them know how much they mean to me.

What we really need to do before it's too late, is to fully live our lives.