Between my junior and senior year of college, I house-sat for about a month for the senior pastor and his wife of First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs while they were in California for vacation. At the time I was finishing up a summer of work for the city Park and Recreation department leading programs for kids in the city parks. My team, which included two other leaders, traveled to ten different parks a week, running the same half day program ten times. Each week we switched to a different theme and did another program ten more times. At the same time, I was the student leader for the college age group at First Pres., filling in for the team of twelve students that led the group during the school year when Colorado College was in session and brought in eleven other students to help. By the end of the month, my nursing school was back in session and classes had started. It was a busy month!
In college I sang a duet for a wedding with another singer named John. John’s wife was Linda. We got briefly acquainted. It was ten years later that I really started to get to know her when one day she walked through my door to help with my new babies.
One morning at 7:00 a.m. when the kids weren’t quite one, I was changing Spencer’s diaper at the changing table. Charlie crawled over and pulled up to stand at the my feet, hovering and clinging. It wasn’t really unusual that the kids stayed close to me or wanted to have frequent physical contact, but this morning Charlie seemed particularly more clingy than usual. I knew why when he threw up all over my feet.
There were times when I went a little nuts on projects when the kids were young and I couldn’t really blame the mania on a pill, like when I started their string quartet. I guess I was just a bit too closeted up and when I got an idea, it spewed out like water from a hydrant. One such occasion was for their third birthday. At the time, they were into Sesame Street, like teenage girl groupies had been into the Beatles in the ’60s. My kids couldn’t get enough of Sesame Street. Or at least that was the premise under which I functioned when I planned their third birthday party.
Sad news this past week to learn of the demise of yet another celebrity in a plane wreck. Joining the ranks of Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jenni Rivera, John Denver, Jim Croce, Patsy Cline, JFK. Jr.—this list goes on way too long—another beloved entity, lauded and followed by all, has perished: Brangelina. Brangelina came to an untimely demise in international airspace when one member of the pair apparently did something so outrageous up there in that private jet of theirs that not long after they hit the ground, the other member of the entity rang up her lawyer and started putting plans into place to dissolve the existence of Brangelina.
This week is National Farm Animals Awareness Week, the third full week in September. When the kids were nine years old, we went to my sister’s friend’s goat farm, Goatberry Hill, to visit and feed the baby goats. There Frau Morgan raised her animals humanely and produced goat milk products for alternative living. She carefully alerted my kid when we arrived to be careful around the chickens, not to startle them or rile them up, because chickens can easily have heart attacks. I’d never heard that before. Maybe it was a wise way to greet all van loads of kids who showed up at her doorstep to keep them from running wild among her animals. Makes me think I should have gotten some chickens and used that line to keep everyone in line and calm.
Four years ago this summer, Jason’s dad passed away. While he was still in the hospital, Jason flew to Minnesota to see him. He arrived a couple of hours before he died. It was a stressful time, understandably, but it wasn’t just the loss that was such a challenge. You know those times are tough, but not until you actually live them do you discover just which of the aspects are going to make them so awful. Much of my personal difficulty was about Jason being there and me being here. The separation felt like more than just physical miles, but also distance within the experience, unable to share the burden, the grief, the communication. That was very trying. That was very hard.
When my friend Pat headed for Chicago this week with her granddaughter, I gave her a list of what I thought they would enjoy doing.
I forgot to tell her what to not do, what to watch out for, where not to go.
The week before last we were doing some fence repair in our yard. Beforehand, we had to call the utilities to have them come out and put their little party flags and colorful paint spots all over our yard to indicate where not to dig. We always call the flag and paint guys before digging, because we know what can happen.
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