We sat on a blanket next to a couple from our neighborhood with young kids Andrew's age. It was great to know we'd reached the stage where we could take him somewhere a little past bedtime, and we could hang out with adults.
As I looked around, I was struck by how many people I knew. Friends from Andrew's preschool across town. Jen from "Moms' Group" when Jack and Margaret were born, who later worked in Tim's office when we dipped our toes back into the working world. Ann, whom I met at "the park" in between kid 1 and kid 2, when we both wore oversized t-shirts, jean shorts, and weary looks. Parents from Margaret's field hockey team. People from both of the churches we attend.
I spotted a group of adults in camp chairs, and realized it was the parents of Jack's baseball teammates. Some had recent high school graduates, so we talked about the craziness of beach week and how glad we were that the kids all made it home safely. Turning to a baseball dad, I blurted out what popped into my head, "My life is so weird!" I gestured to where Tim and Andrew were waiting to get ice cream.
They smiled and nodded. They may not know me well, but they do know that my life is weird. One kid in heaven, one heading to college, one in the line for ice cream with his daddy.
Jen's kids are both out of the house now, even though I still remember her son Chris as an infant, dwarfing Jack, who was older. She has gone back to work full-time in her field. Ann's son, Jack's friend from preschool, is studying in North Carolina. I was on that same timetable, until I wasn't.
It reminded me of a blog post, "Why B Normal?" written soon after Jack's accident, about how as a child I'd always imagined my life would be just a little bit different, even though I'm the most steady, predictable person I know.
And it's true. My life is different. It often feels weird.
Yet thinking about it later, I realized that almost every one of the people on the town green likely had been thrown curveballs: death, divorce, infertility, mental and physical illness, job struggles, discrimination, interpersonal challenges, disappointment, crises of faith, and more.
Shortly before she died, leaving me motherless at 18, my mom jotted a phrase on a piece of scrap paper and taped it to the fridge. It read, "Life is a very strange time."
I had no idea what it meant, but it didn't take me very long to figure it out.
Life has, indeed, been a very strange time.
We had to duck out of the concert earlier than the empty nesters happily holding their wineglasses, because bedtime awaited; until then, I soaked in the crisp air of a near-perfect June evening. Glad to be out of the house. Grateful to see so many familiar faces and to have friends from the different stages of my life. Open to those I would meet in the next stages as well.
Life is weird, sometimes hard, and often good.
True. All of this is true.
I agree 100%...Great post!
I've been having the same thoughts lately....must be the age we're at (I'm a bit older than you but have two recent HS grads). It does seem like everyone has had some crap to deal with, obviously some much worse than others. When we were in college, my roommate and I used to wish we could go into the future for a split second and see what was gonna happen. I'm glad we don't get that opportunity. Now I realize for some people it would make it very hard to go on!
My life has taken weird twists and turns, too. Things I could never have predicted, nor expected. Some sad, some scary and some wonderful additions to a good life. Blessings to you- xo Diana
Anna, I just read your last 2 blogs and I was immediately reminded of a blog post I read after my beloved dad passed away from cancer last year. It is beautiful and I tagged it and read it every so often to remind myself to be compassionate and kind:
best, novamom Jen
I can relate to the strangeness. We lost our second child thirty-five years ago at the age of eleven months. Six months ago we moved to the same town as our daughter and family to help after our son-in-law was diagnosed with ALS. Much about life is good, but it isn't playing out as we had thought it might.
Dear Anna! I am just reading rare bird and I am so touched by the way your write and open your heart...and as a silent reader I`ve been following your blog for quite a while - crying and laughing with you, as your story enfolds. Indeed, life is weird.Sometimes, like Sarah in the bible, we can just sit there and shake our heads and laugh. (I got pregnant when I was 42. First and only child:-)). I sent you lots of love from Germany! THANK YOU for finding words and ecouraging me to find words myself. You are amazing!!!
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