Yes. I'm alive. We are all still kicking and breathing and causing mischief and mayhem here in The Hill. No. I have not forgotten about you. This blog and its readers are on my mind often, and I could give lots of excuses for my absence, but I'm just going to give you one (divided into three parts).
Things have been a little crazy - mostly emotional crazy - since my last post at the end of July. It's sort of taken me this long to wrap my brain around it and come to grips with how deeply affected I have been by some of the things that have happened in our life since July 30th.
My friend Pam and her family have experienced a whirlwind life experience with her granddaughter, Kaysen. Kaysen is doing well and was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, but things were kind of scary there for awhile. I didn't really realize how much her journey affected me at first, and once I did the flood gates of emotion sort of blew open. You can ask my mom for confirmation. There were more than a couple of sobbed filled phone calls on the topic exchanged between the two of us.
On September 12th, Pam posted these as the first and last paragraph of her daily update:
Live each day as if you are writing a book about it. This is something I learned in Room 10. (Room 10 has actually been several rooms, but shared by the same two people.) Well, my friend (and office mate) has years of blogs under her belt and even has a book of her blogs. I wanted to be a blogger like her and did post a few entries, but couldn't meet the endurance demands of blogging on a consistent basis. So instead, I just adopted the attitude of "live each day as if you were writing a book about it." I believe this attitude really changes the way one thinks about the "moments" in life that weren't important until one puts some thought into them. It changes the focus of ordinary moments to extraordinary. It changes a snapshot into a lasting memory attached to emotion because of the conscious thought put into the reason for taking the photo. It makes us think about why every moment in our lives could be important. It helps us look for the positive or what could be good about any situation.
God gives us precious moments every day. Lord may we see the importance of each day and look for the special moments. May we treat those moments as "book worthy." We pray that we will soon have more special memories to add to our book. Thank you for praying for the same. Love, Kaysen's Grammy
This floored me. Like, take my breath away knocked me down on the ground floored me. I didn't have a chance to see her post until the morning after it was published, and I bawled like a baby at my desk before 8 am while reading it. The thought that this little blog - started on a whim almost seven years ago and meant only as an attempt to mildly entertain family and a few close friends on the life of our ordinary family - had that kind of impact on someone I respect so very much astounds me. Still, right now, it makes my heart pound and my eyes fill with tears.
Two days later, on September 14th, this was Pam's post:
The gift has been given. Pray for the givers. Pray for the receivers.
No update has ever been more perfectly written. After six weeks, Kaysen received the heart transplant she needed to survive. That day was a whopper of a day for me (and hundreds of others). Check with The General. It was touch and go for awhile in terms of emotional stability.
Which leads me then to this: we lost a friend just over a month ago in a very sudden and tragic accident. Three weeks before the accident he and his girlfriend were with us for their first time on our annual houseboat weekend. Jason was 35, and to say those who knew and loved him were shocked at his passing is a huge understatement. There are many days when it still doesn't feel real, maybe in part because there's peace in knowing that Jason lives on. His organs were donated; through our sorrow we found comfort knowing that Jason saved at least eight others through his gift of organ donation. Approximately three weeks after losing our friend, I sat on the other side of organ donation feeling emotions that wavered from joy to fear to exhilaration to sadness to gratefulness as Kaysen received the gift of life as the hands of another family's loss. Whew. Powerful and healing and gut wrenching all wrapped up together.
Not long after losing Jason we got more life changing news that The General's sister, known to all here as the unsinkable wonder woman of a mother and wife AL, had cancer. She went from diagnosis to surgery to home for recovery in under two weeks (because duh, she is amazing!), and her recovery has been going well (again, duh! Super Woman times infinity!). I will not go into many other details on this as it is AL's journey and I don't want to speak for her in any way, but I can tell you this. To watch your husband as he relays and then processes the same words that was spoken to him and his family 20 years ago when it was his mom's journey was difficult to say the least. Again, I don't want to speak for anyone, but here's where I stand on the issue: this is AL's journey and she is going to rock it like everything else in life she has ever taken on. Fight on, sister!
So, those three things in combination with all the other run of the mill beginning of school craziness has had me pretty preoccupied physically, mentally, and emotionally. But like I said, this blog has never been far from mind and if anything it's been near the very front of my mind since Pam posted the above last month. I think I sort of lost sight of where I found my inspiration for blog posts, and she's helped me refocus and, again, has inspired me to start again.
I don't want to make any promises. The girls are changing all the time - oh, are they changing! - but the changes are subtle, not like they were in the early years of The Life and Times. On top of that, they're coming into an age where they are much more guarded and conscious of what they say and do (to a point) and also much more aware of what I share and who I share it with. They are starting to build boundaries to protect privacy, and I have to respect that. I'll still try to share those crazy, funny, profound, memorable moments they provide but they might be fewer and farther between than they used to be. Maybe as they've grown and changed this blog will have to as well. They are becoming more and more independent and so maybe this blog will become less about them and more about me. But then again, I guess this blog has always been about me - stories told through my lens and filter - so maybe at the foundation really nothing will change at all.
What I do know is this. I read today that writing down three things a day that have made you happy leads to an overall improved sense of happiness. I am down with that. Can I jot down three things a day that have mad me happy? No problem. There's definitely time and energy for that. Will I sometimes be able and want to expand on those three things? I'm guessing probably. After all, I've never been accused of being short on words or explanations. We'll see where this leads. It's a start at least.
I've missed you, readers. I've missed you, blank blog post document page, and the outlet you provide. Let's get this happiness experience started . . .
. . . tomorrow. I think this post is enough for today. *exhale*