dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Good-bye Dear Friend…

Each person has a ‘first’ friend.  Those childhood friends who are neighbors or children of family friends, but there is a connection to somehow make you friends.

My first friend lived close by.  I would go out our back door, walk by the neighbor behind us, cross an alley, and end up at the bottom of the steps of her house.  We didn’t knock on the door and ask politely if they could come out to play.  No, I stood at the bottom of the steps and hollered, “Hey Peggy!”  Several times, if necessary, until she either came out or her Mom or older siblings came out to let me know she couldn’t play.  She would yell at my door also, “Hey Cathi!”.    It was a crude way to begin play, but it worked.

Peggy and I loved being together.  We played on her swing set (it is where I learned to flip myself over the bars), or we would catch butterflies or bees in jars, or we would roam the neighborhood, making certain we ran past that scary house on the corner because we just knew a wicked witch lived inside.    It was heaven.

My family moved in August before my first grade year.  Peggy was no longer in walking distance and the shouting from each other stopped.  We went to the same elementary school, but, her last name began with a “C” and mine with an “M”, so we weren’t always in the same classroom.    We played on the same basketball team and she came to my birthday parties, but, it wasn’t the same.  We went to different high schools and lost track of one another.

Years later, when we both had two daughters who were mostly grown, we met up at our husband’s class reunion.  Hubby and I had gone with our forever friends and everyone found someone to talk with.  Everyone, but me.  My friend, noticing me standing alone not talking with anyone, came over and pointed out that Peggy was also standing alone, talking to no one.  I went over.   Instantly, it was like we were once more roaming the neighborhood talking and sharing with one another.  It was the best!  We took some pictures together and a piece of my heart was put back in place.

Thankful for Facebook, we messaged each other, sharing our lives and pictures of our girls, and grandchildren.   She talked about her daughters and how proud she was of them.  I got to know them through our talks.  I heard about her grandchildren and smiled and laughed with her as she shared her stories about them.  We always said that everything we learned about friends happened in kindergarten and somehow we knew our hearts were joined in friendship there.

Two years ago I realized that I hadn’t heard from Peggy in a few weeks.  I wrote her and let her know she was on my mind.  I asked her how she was.  Her answer was like a punch in the stomach for me.  She told me she had ovarian cancer.  I swallowed hard and tried to write something positive to her and I closed out Facebook and sobbed.  Her news hit me hard.  She told me her dates of chemo and I put each one on my calendar in my phone, so I would remember and know to pray for her.  I knew I couldn’t be with her, but, I felt that if I could pray for her during those times, I would be doing something at least.

In July of 2016 she wrote that she was cancer free!  I rejoiced!  I was so very happy and thrilled.  She even talked about possibly coming to visit, asking which airport was closest to me.  I started to imagine sitting on my screen porch visiting with her, watching the lightning bugs flicker in the night sky and us laughing together, sharing stories of daughters and grandchildren.  They were happy thoughts for me.

Four months later she wrote to tell me her cancer was back.  She would undergo more chemo and testing until she couldn’t anymore.  In between, her youngest got married and she was able  to be there with them and celebrate.  The pictures were lovely and I was so happy for her.

The past few months have been a time of travel to hospitals only to receive news that was not good.  She passed away this past Sunday.  Her daughter called to tell me.  When I saw her daughter’s name on my phone, my heart sank.  I knew it was not going to be a good call.

I heard this beautiful voice on the other end of my phone.  I heard the tears.  My heart broke.   Peggy was such a dear person.  She saw the best in me and made me laugh.  We had been friends most of our lives and I knew there would be a void in my life when she went.  But, my void would be nothing like what her family now has.  Their Mom, his wife, was gone.  I know that words cannot heal that hurt.  Words cannot fill the spaces that used to be filled with her laughter.  Words cannot replace the ‘looks’ that only a Mom, Wife and Grandmother can give.

But, for me, I had to write about her.  She will be remembered.  People will get a glimpse of this person.  This person who used to holler for me.  This person who once challenged me to pick up a snake(I couldn’t) or catch a bee in my bare hand(I did).  The one who had the mumps and I got to play with her daily in hopes that I would catch the mumps and get it over with.  I never caught the mumps….

So, good-bye dear friend.  I miss you already.  I will miss our late night chats on Facebook.  I will miss hearing about your news and your family.  I know you are now pain-free.  You are able to be as free as we were as children.  Rest well, you have fought the brave fight and you taught me how to live.

Thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)

 

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Baseball Adventure…

I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  Since this is a fact, I also was raised to believe that I am a fan of three teams ~ Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins,  and Pittsburgh Pirates.   I am perfectly fine with this.  All three teams are excellent teams and deserve my fandom (is that a correct word?).

Now, I have never been to a Steelers game, although I would love to someday.  I have gone to a Penguins game and loved every minute of it.  Nothing has truly compared to  that hockey game for me, it was magical!

My first professional baseball game that I went to was in November of 1978.  I was seven months pregnant and a group of us took the train and bus up to Yokohama, Japan.  We sat on wooden bleachers to watch the Yokohama Whales play the Cincinati Reds.  We basically tail-gated by taking thermoses filled with hot chocolate and picnics of American food that we would get if we were in country.  It was my first baseball game ever.  Not one of my finest moments though, as in the bottom of the third inning I asked when the game was going to start.  Everyone turned to look at me, and without thinking I said, well, they haven’t sang the National Anthem yet…   Yes, it was not one of my finest moments, I chalk it up to pregnancy brain…   I thought that this was going to be my only time seeing a baseball game, and I carefully tucked the memory away so that it could be remembered always.

A few years later, we moved to San Diego.  San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres.  This is where my love of baseball really came to be.  I do not follow the stats.  I wouldn’t know an error if I saw one (which, by the way, I know I have seen several in my life)  I can follow RBI’s, but I can’t explain it to anyone.  All I know is, I love the game.  I love watching the players,  I love the atmosphere of the game, I love the crowds, I love baseball.  I especially love the Padres.

Padres games fill the memories of raising our family.  We would go several times a summer to see our boys play.  When the girls were young we got the cheap military seats in the nosebleed section of the stadium.  We would smuggle food in so that we could eat during the games, since buying the family tickets was close to breaking the bank at that point.  I remember holding our youngest on my lap as she would cheer for her favorite, Tony Gwynn.   The girls grew up watching the Padres.  Our seats changed through the years, as did they.  One of the last things we did as a family was a ball game together.  I love my San Diego team.

We lived in San Diego for 27 years.  During all that time I never saw my Padres play the Pirates (who remain my 1.5 favorite).  I don’t know why I never did, but, I didn’t.  I know hubby took his father to a Pirate/Padre game one year, but it was just the two of them who went and I stayed home watching and listening on t.v..   I never missed an opening game, I would make certain I was watching on t.v. or listening to the radio.  I never did make it to an opening day, as that was when school was still in session for the girls and once they graduated, I was just in the habit of catching it like I always did.

Three years ago I went to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game.  We were in our hometown and we went with our friends.  I was so excited to see them play for the first time.  We had since moved from San Diego and I had not seen a ball game in five years at that time.  The Pirates lost that game, but it did not diminish the thrill of seeing them.   It was a childhood dream come true for me.

So, when we knew we were going to be home this summer, I went online to see the Pirates schedule.  In our time frame of being here, we would not be able to see a Pirates game since they would be on the road.  I was disappointed, but, I did realize that the Pirates would be in San Diego.  I packed my Padres shirt.  I knew I could watch it on t.v. (hubby and I do not have sports packages on our t.v. at home).    Last week I donned my shirt and watched as the Padres beat the Pirates two games.  I was a happy girl.

During those games there were advertisements for the games this current weekend. The Pirates would be home and they would be playing the Padres.   But, we would be on our way home by then, or so we thought.  Our trip was delayed and last night, after all these years, I got to see my favorite team play my next favorite team!

I proudly wore my San Diego shirt (I counted and saw three other shirts!).  I was so thrilled to see my team on the field!   They scored first and I smiled.  They ended up losing the game, but that did not matter to me.  I don’t know if I will have a chance to see them live again, but, for now, my heart is content.  I saw my Padres play.

This of course was an adventure in itself, as there was a rain delay of two hours before the game started, so, from 7:05 to 9:05 we waited.  The time was spent watching those in the good (uncovered) seats scramble out of the rain,  watched the rain, looked at the lightning and talked with our forever friends. The time passed quickly and the game ended around 12:30 a.m..  We of course, stayed to the end, not that we are that die-hard fans, but there was a concert following the game.  We saw Chicago perform.  The concert started shortly after 1 a.m., and it was incredible!

We returned to the house around 3 this morning.  I was a great adventure. one that I won’t soon forget.  Together with lifetime friends, we laughed and talked and yes, she and I even cried…  even though “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Thanks for stopping by…  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

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Lunch with a Friend…

As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over 42 years ago I left home.  Home, as in my hometown.  The past few weeks  we have been staying with close friends who are, in reality, family to us.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to spend the day with my forever friend.  I haven’t had a day like this in a very long time.  It was wonderful.  She had an appointment in the morning, so I tagged along and after that we were on our own, a dangerous thought, considering how long we have known each other and, also, being left to our own devices with our husbands safely ensconced in their house.

Most of the time I do not think about having a girl’s day out with a friend.  It is something that I rarely have the opportunity to do anymore, so I tend to not think about it.  However when I do have the chance it is a gift to me.

We had lunch, tea, chicken salad on croissants, potato salad and conversation that you can only have with someone you have known since kindergarten.   From there we went to an antique shop.  To some, a mundane day.  To me, a day that makes memories to cherish forever.

I write about friendships often, for they are important to me.  Friendships are like the seasons of the year… they can change, they can be challenged, they can grow, or they can lay dormant.  But, true friendships can survive all of the changes.  They can weather storms of life and temperaments.  They can produce conversations that are both difficult and healing to each party, they are a gift.

During this time my friend and I have laughed and cried and cried some more.  We have giggled like we did in high school, we have shared memories that neither of us have heard before.  We have been friends.

Also throughout this time, I have heard from friends who are not in the vicinity, friends who are close to our current home, or friends who are always there.   These women have called and checked in and kept me in their hearts.  For these women, I am so grateful.

Friendship is a dear gift, one that too often we take for granted.  Today, I want to acknowledge these women, they are my strength, my joy and my heart.

Thank you for stopping by ….  Cathi (DAF)

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Land that I love…

I am a flag-waving patriot.  I have said this before and I will repeat it again.  I love my country.  I cry each time I hear the National Anthem.  I cry when I hear America the Beautiful, I cry at each patriotic song I hear.  I admit it freely.  And, I am looking forward to tomorrow.  Inauguration Day.  A day that happens every four years.  A celebration of what the Founding Fathers fought for, dreamed of, worked for.  It’s a great thing to celebrate.

Tonight as I was thinking of the inauguration, I remembered the first inauguration I can remember.  I was five, just about to turn six.  I was in first grade at St Joseph’s elementary school.   The date was January 20, 1961.   The first Roman Catholic president was going to take the oath of office.

It was a school day.  In January.  In northwestern Pennsylvania.  A snowy, cold day.  I took my lunch to school, so that normally meant you ate in the lunch room in the basement of the school and then you went out onto the ‘playground’ which was the church parking lot and you froze for the hour while the nuns went to the convent and had lunch.

January 20, 1961 was different though.  The nuns wanted to see the inauguration.  Somehow they managed to have the kids who brought their lunch go home with those who didn’t.  We had an extended lunch hour.  I got to go home with a girl who has ended up being one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I took my lunch pail to her house and, along with my dried sandwich, I had a bowl of hot soup.  What a treat for me.  I got to take off my shoes and sit down on something comfortable and be in a home.  I will never forget it.  I sat in the kitchen and her mom talked with us and gave us fresh cookies.

We moved into the sewing room where her grandmother stayed and we watched the president being sworn in.  I confess that the only thing I actually remember is watching a bunch of old people on the television talk.  The best thing about it all was the actual cocoa I was drinking in the middle of the day.

The soup, the cookies and the cocoa took precedence over the President asking us not what the country can do for us, but what we could do for the country.  (My interpretation).

So, tomorrow, I will watch our new president take the oath of office.  I will feel pride in my country.  I know countless others do not feel this way, and that grieves me.  I have spent time living overseas.  During those years I missed being home.  Yes, I was on a base under an American flag and I was supporting my husband as he served this country.  But, I was homesick for our country.  It is hard to put into words the longing I had for home while I was there.  Home is more than a shelter you live in.  Home is the country you are born in.  It is the familiarity of a nation.  Yes, I have disagreed with much in the past few years, but, I respect the office of the presidency.  It is an office that deserves respect regardless of who it is sitting behind that desk.  Our founding fathers fought for the right for people to disagree.  They fought for the right to have a peaceful transition of power.  So, tomorrow, I will celebrate the freedom we have.  The freedom to cry tears of joy and pride over a national anthem.  The freedom to feel pride at a new president.  The freedom to pray for the former president, pray for his continued safety and for his rest from his service.

It has been a year of struggle for our country.  I pray tomorrow the struggles will start to calm down.  There will always be differing views and some loud voices raised on both sides, but, for me, for tomorrow, I am choosing to rejoice in America.  Rejoice in the fact that we can experience tomorrow, the swearing-in, the transition, the protests.  It is all American.  May God bless this country and keep it safe.

~ Cathi (DAF)

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45 years ago…

Forty-five years ago today was the last day I was by myself.  The 17th of September, 1971, I went about my day.  Our teachers were on strike and I was at home most likely doing nothing, but reveling in the extended summer vacation the lower class-men at the high school had.  The seniors continued on in school with teachers who were not union members so they could keep college and military commitments when they graduated.

I was a junior in high school that year, so I was blissfully at home wondering when we would be able to go back to school.  We knew the longer we were out in September the longer we would be in in June.  It was a weird year of school for certain.

Forty-five years ago today I made plans with a friend to go to a dance the 18th.  We would meet and one of us would drive to the fire hall where we would dance and flirt and not really meet anyone, since we were the quiet girls and mostly went unnoticed by most everyone in school.

What I did not know that day was that the following day would change my life.  Literally.    The following day, the 18th of September, 1971, a couple of my guy friends would help the music teacher move some things into his summer cottage.  It took them most of the day and at the end of the day they were paid.

Later that afternoon on the 18th the phone would ring.  I would be getting ready for the dance.  The phone call would be for me.   Heading to answer the phone, my older sister would holler at me, “If it’s a guy and he asks you out… GO!”  It was a guy, he did ask me out, and I accepted.  I was scared of my older sister, and when she said jump, I would jump, hoping it was high enough. (Sorry, Dottie)

That night, forty-five years ago tomorrow, I went bowling with my hubby.  We bowled three games, I won one, he won two.  I confess by the third game I was a bit over bowling, but, what can you do when you are on a date?

Forty five years ago the 18th I had my last first kiss.  I was 16 years old.  I have been with my husband longer than I wasn’t.  We have grown up together, we have fought, we have made up, we have traveled the world, we have raised our family.  I really cannot believe it has been 45 years.

There are times when I look at him and still see that boy who asked me out.  That boy who spent his hard-earned money to take me bowling and put gas in his mother’s car.  We have always marked this day as a special day for us.  Tomorrow will actually be the first time in several years that we will be together on this day.  One of us has been traveling during this time recently.

So, happy anniversary of our first date, honey.  I would say, “here’s to the next 45”, but, I really don’t think we will be around when we are 107!

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

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Junctures…

The sun shines different ways in winter and summer. We shine different ways in the seasons of our lives. ~Terri Guillemets

In April of 2013 I wrote a post titled “One is Silver…”.   I have thought of this post several times the last week or so.    It was one of those posts that was on my heart when I wrote it and one I think of often.

In it, I talked about friends, old, new and those whom I had just met.   Seasons move on and it is always fascinating to me to see how things change over the years.

Having just reread this post I smile as I realize those friends who I knew were going to move into a different part of my life, have.    I cannot imagine my life without them now.  They are a part of the vein of my life that gives breath and laughter to me.

There were some who were in an autumn phase of friendship, and now I  look back and realize that those friendships were not cared for and sadly, they are dormant.  Sometimes too much time passes and it is hard to renew and start over.  I store the memories in my heart and pray for them, but there is a mixture of resignation, regret and acceptance that this is where we are as friends.

Other friends are slipping into different categories and it intrigues me to see the changes.  It is like I am standing at one of those car wash facilities where you stand at a window and see your car progress through the line.  You see what is happening with the car, but, you are helpless if you notice a window is opened a crack.  You can see the damage slip into the car, but there isn’t anything you can do until the car travels to the end and you can grab a towel to get it dried.

Some friendships are that car with the open window.  You can see the crack in the window and know that something is going to happen.  It is like it is out of your grasp, but there is nothing you can do to change it at the moment.

No, I have never left a window open in a car wash, but, I have imagined it often.  I use it as an analogy for the purpose of this essay on friends.    Sometimes that crack is there, you see it, but, it really isn’t doing anything, so nothing changes.

Other times that crack can let everything fly through and you end up with all this debris thrown about inside.

In thinking of this with friends, I realize that sometimes that debris is necessary.  Change is necessary.  Reevaluation is necessary.   Growth is different in each of us.  A tree’s branches do not grow the same length all together.  Each limb has its own unique character.    It is the same with people.  They are part of your heart, part of your life, but often times life itself, and circumstances and health all get intertwined and friendships suffer.

The good ones are renewed in time.  They come back stronger, fuller.   The joy is greater, the laughter is louder and the heart is more comforted by the other.

Thank you for reflecting with me on friendships.  I appreciate your visit here.

 When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. ~Henri Nouwen

I will continue to think on my friendships.  I strive to be a true  friend,  for we need true friends in this world that is harsh and unfair and at times, unlovely.  So, to my friends, those silver, those gold, those who have a patina and those who are a bit rusty, know that my heart carries you with me.  You have helped to shape me into who I am and for that, I am grateful.  As the season of autumn approaches, know that I am here.  A little bare of leaves, as it were, and a little exposed, but rooted down in the bonds that tie us together.  Thank you for being you.  Cathi (DAF)

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Thinking on Disappointment…

I have been battling disappointment.  Someone has let me down and it has blindsided me so completely I have not been able to wrap my mind around it.

The truth is, that it isn’t the first time I have experienced disappointment from this person.  But, I usually can just look at the situation and get over it.  For some reason, this time is different.

I try my best to not be a disappointment.  My daughters have always told me that the worst thing I could ever say to them is that I was disappointed.  Although I have said it to them at times, they could never disappoint me.  The joy and life they bring to my heart is a constant source of peace to me.

That is one reason why I have struggled with this.  This evening after dinner hubby and I were talking about things on our hearts and mind.  I started to verbalize, for the first time in weeks what I was struggling with.  He listened intently and gave me wise counsel, which I have mulled over in my mind.

So, since this is the place where I am honest with myself, I decided to write about it.    I am not looking for a resolution, but, I needed to write this out.  Mostly for me to see and know that this nagging feeling that has been pricking my heart has a name and a reason.    It is disappointment.

A quote I found sums it up for me: “Nothing hurts more than being disappointed by the person you thought would never hurt you.”    I found this on Iliketoquote.com.

DAF

 

 

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I’m More Interesting on my Blog…

Today I have received two surprises via mail and delivery.  The first was the mail.  I received a card from a friend.  It’s always fun to get mail, especially when it is just because.  There were no birthdays or anniversaries for me and there it was, sitting in my mailbox, a red envelope with my name on it.  I was thrilled!

Inside was a wonderful card…  it had the word blog all over the front of it and at first that is all I saw.  I was outside in the sun and the lettering is shiny.   I then focused on the colored lettering and saw the phrase, I’m more interesting on my blog.  I just started laughing.  This friend knows me well, I thought…

But, she did not mean that, she wrote an encouraging letter inside the card.  The card, she said, reminded her of me.  She then went on to tell me that she enjoys my blog and that she is glad I started writing it.  I felt humbled.   Humbled, because the last couple of days I have questioned if I should continue writing,  and if anything I wrote really made a difference in the greater scheme of things.

I love to write.  I always have.  I laughed when I read the card, well, because, I AM more interesting on my blog!   My confidence level when I write is strong.  I can express myself better when I write.  I look at things and learn more about myself when I write.

In person, well, I tend to be quiet.  Unless of course, I feel extremely comfortable around you, or I have known you my entire life, or you are related to me.  Large crowds creep me out, although I would love to speak to groups of women.  I do well with one on one conversations.  I do not ask questions.  I am trying to change that.  But, on a whole, I am a bit of a boring conversationalist.

I am an  introvert.  I have said this before and I know I will repeat myself.  Saying this and repeating this is a self-defense for introverts.  It somehow allows us the excuse to not say much and not join in.  I am married to an extrovert.   Through the years we have gone to parties and he mingles and goes from conversation to conversation.  I stand there, making small talk.  Nice dress.  Pretty place.  Weather has been good, bad, rainy, hot…  (depends on the time of the year).   That is when I see people’s eyes glaze over and they make an excuse to go get a drink, even though theirs is full.  I don’t get hurt by that, I understand.  Get me one too!

Countless evenings have been spent in agony.  Of course, in my mind, I am making all sorts of conversations, but, they never seem to come out audibly.    Yes, I am more interesting on my blog! 

The other gift today was from a friend who sent me a Bible study book.  It looks fascinating and I cannot wait to start it.  She had gone to a retreat recently and heard this author speak.  She said she had reminded her of me.    Opening the book and seeing the detail and the depth this study goes into, I wondered how this author ever reminded her of me.  I read the author’s biography and again I wondered.   I looked at the author’s picture and it looked like how I wore my hair the last time I saw this friend, so maybe that was it.

Again, I thought,  I am more interesting on my blog.    Maybe that is the key though.  As my friend wrote in the card, she gets to see more of me in my writing.  She said she sees the inside me.

Maybe that’s what this blog is for me…  A place to allow myself to be me.  Maybe that is why  I am more interesting on my blog!

Thanks for stopping by today.  I do appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)

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Grateful…

Yesterday I was in a funk.  Big funk.  I was tired and weary.  I spent most of the day chiding myself for feeling that way and yet, I could not get out of it.

Finally, late last night I went to my blog.  I figured that I could possibly write, but knew that if I attempted anything , it would come out wrong.

I have a dear friend who, when we are in that frame of mind, say to one another, “Step away from the computer”.   We have both, on several occasions go online and written something that we regret as soon as we hit the enter key.  I did not want to make that mistake yesterday.

The next best thing is to read.  So, I went to my reader section on my blog and got caught up with others in the blogging community.

I am grateful for being able to read other blogs.  It does help me.  I read blogs from all over and it gives me a glimpse into lives of others.  Soon, the focus goes off of me and onto others.  That is a good thing.

This morning I have had the pleasure to chat with two of the bloggers I read.  One is in London and the other New York City.  These women bless me so very much, and I am grateful for them.  They encourage me to break out of my funk just by their words and their conversations.

It does help to refocus your thoughts.  I can have a tendency to withdraw and just keep myself alone.  We are people who need to be with other people, we need to touch lives and allow ourselves to be touched.

What helps you to get out of funk?  I would love to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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What I did over my summer vacation…

School is starting up again.  Some of the kids returned to school this past week, some will go back on Monday.  The schools in the area have been busy with lawns being mowed and more cars in the parking lots and signs signaling the beginning of the school year.  I know that in several of those classrooms there will be an assignment for the students to write about what they did over their summer vacation.

With this in mind, I have decided to  write about my summer vacation(?).    This summer did not turn out the way I had imagined it.  But, that is okay.

It’s not so much what I did over the summer that I am thinking about, it is what I learned over the summer.

I have learned that hoses do leak.  Sometimes they erupt sending a deluge of water all over.  I have learned not to wear my glasses when working on hoses because I end up not only being drenched, but also not being able to see since my glasses are dripping water and not providing me a way to see which way to go dripping wet.

I have learned that maintaining a pool is a daily thing.  I was so used to seeing hubby out there doing ‘something’ and me getting changed to go into the pool and lounge.  I have learned that the lounging only comes after the cleaning, backwashing, checking the chemical levels, adding what is needed, straining the basket in the filter (my least favorite part) and trying not to squeal like a girl when I see dead toads in the filter, bloated and looking up at me…  Ewww….

I have learned that wasps are mean.  I don’t react well to bee stings.  But, it has been years since I have been stung.  I forgot how they feel.  I forgot how they itch and itch and swell.  I forgot that the swelling stays for weeks, not days for me.  Stupid wasps.  They tricked me into a false sense of security and feeling victorious trimming bushes, except that last one… it is still wild and going off in all directions.

I also realized that even though my body aches and my legs ache and my back is rebelling, that things can get done.  I have found that either praying or listening to hubby with his armchair quarterback instructions that things can be done.  Also, there are those times when I scream aloud at myself and even let loose with a few words that don’t necessarily edify anyone or anything, that helps too.

Yes, I have learned much this summer.  Some things I thought I already knew, but sometimes you need a refresher course.  Neighbors help and turn into friends.  I knew this, but, I was reminded in so many ways of this during the past few weeks.

I have had people tell me to not do so much.  To let things slide a bit.  I considered what they meant, but in the end, chose not to listen.  This spring hubby did a lot of preparation for the summer.  He worked hard and had plans.  I could not, and decided would not, let his plans be ruined.

Did I do the gardening exactly like him?  NO.  I know under his care the garden would have produced so much more.  But, we did get some nice cucumbers and tomatoes and squash.  He had fresh beans for lunch and we had some rhubarb pie.  I look at the garden and sigh most days.  This is the one area where I feel like I could not do everything.  I have watered, and fed the garden, but, alas, it was not a huge success.  I know that although I love the produce, I think I am better suited to roses.

Did I  get all his plans done?  No, I didn’t.  But, I tried.  I tried because it was important to me for him to at least know that some things were getting done.

The biggest lesson learned?  I still don’t know.  I am sure that this time next year I can look back and see the end results of this summer, but, it’s still not done.  The light is at the end of the tunnel.  He is up and walking, but, with only being able to bend his leg 30 degrees, we have a way to go.

This, I do know, though, I love my husband.  I may not be Florence Nightingale, but I try.  I  try because he deserves this.  It was not his choice to sit all summer long, but, it happened.  There is a reason for it all.  So, although I have cracked jokes about it, I am so thankful that I could be here for him.

What are some of the lessons you learned over the summer?  I would love to hear them.  DAF (Cathi)

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