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Friday, May 25, 2007

Just some meanderings from my mind...

Today is the last day of school for Elias for the year. It's been one heck of a year but that's not what's on my mind this morning.

This morning, I've been thinking about summertime and how it always felt magical in its simplicity.

I can remember waking up on any summer morning and hearing the "sounds of summer". I can remember hearing the sounds of a lawnmower, a fly or bee buzzing in the window, open to the outside because there was no air conditioning at the time. I can remember that last bus ride home of the school year and the carnival atmosphere created because everyone was as happy as the next guy.

I can remember my last day of school my senior year. I think I drove that day, being the red hot twelfth grader that I was. It was a strange day. I was thrilled to be out of school but at the same time, it was a sad day as well. I knew I still had at least part of the summer to spend time with friends. I had already signed up for the Air Force and was leaving three weeks after my eighteenth birthday. I was spending my last summer as a life guard too before I entered the big bad world of adulthood.

I tell my kids all the time to not be in such a hurry to grow up, that you have too many years of being an adult and not enough as a child with no worries beyond who you'll spend time with that day. None of them have listened to me up to this point. All of them have come to me at one time or another and told me they wished they had listened to me.

Being an adult isn't easy. It's being responsible, it's paying bills, it's raising kids, it's a mortgage, it's not having the luxury of walking away from a job because it really does suck. Being an adult DOES have it's high points, but not many. Okay, I can drink beer now, legally, and I can drive whenever I want, I can stay up as late as I want and I can look at the faces of my kids and remember what it felt to be that age.

When you're young, you're impenetrable. Nothing can touch you and you're never going to die. Being an adult, however, is saying goodbye to friends and family too often. As a child, you fall asleep surrounded by a houseful of people who love you, no matter what you do. But as an adult I've had to say my final goodbye to too many people.

When I was 22, my eldest brother passed away from cancer. That was one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever had to say.

In September, 2001, my father passed away from cancer as well, but his was the result of being exposed to lethal amounts of radiation while he was in the Air Force. I thank God every day I was able to fix my relationship with Daddy before he died.

In October, 2004, only two weeks after we left Ohio to move here, to Arizona, my mother died in her sleep, her heart filled with love beating its last beat on Halloween. It's rather ironic Mother died on Halloween because that was one of her favoriteholidays. She loved seeing the kids in costumes, it being way too long since one of her kids wore one and walked door to door. She and I had a pretty rough relationship, butting heads quite a bit. We were extremely similar in personality and we fought like cats and dogs. But we loved each other, she was my best friend. At her funeral, the minister put out a call for any stories people had about mother. When I stood up, I know my siblings shuddered a little, fearing what I might say. They had to be shocked when I talked about how mother's two favorite things, beyond her family, were birds and flowers. I talked about how this was so indicative of Mother, that while she loved her birds and flowers, it was how she loved her family.

Like the birds and flowers, her loved ones, her children, were her flower garden and her love for us was like the bird. No matter where she lived, that was home. She gave us, her children, roots and wings.

I seem to have strayed quite a bit from my original post about the magic that is the last day of school but once the memory starts rambling, sometimes it's hard to slow it down.

I miss my life as a child when things were so simple. I love being an adult when I can make decisions and know they are good ones.

I miss my brother and parents more than anything else. Growing up can be a painful process but as my mother always said, "When I'm gone, don't mourn my passing. Celebrate my life, for I've had a good ride."

Just my two cents.