Been a while since we’ve traveled life’s path…with Pat. We’ve both been busy with other happenings. She spent a lovely week catching up with her eldest son, Aiden, home on spring break. I’m sure it was a little sad for both of them when he returned to college on the mainland.
My husband and I are in the throes of another remodel. Our last, thankfully. Almost as big a one as when we had our kitchen/dining/living area done nearly a decade ago. So that our late 70’s split level continues to work for us empty-nesters, we decided to turn the downstairs into our master bedroom retreat. Thoughts of cozy nights in front of a gas fireplace and an extra bedroom turned into a walk-in closet conjured up the good life…finally realized. However, as with all great things…there’s a price to pay.
As anyone who’s been through a remodel will tell you “It ain’t easy.” Spending months tripping over stuff stored everywhere but in our bed is no fun. Managing the project is also mind-boggling at times. Not to mention trying to keep us on a diet which means cooking tasty AND healthy…all the time. Of course that’s been haphazard now that we’re totally caught up in moving the renovations along as smoothly and quickly as is coherently possible. There have been glitches here and there, especially in the selection of light fixtures. It’s been my first and only experience with online shopping. If choosing from a myriad of fixtures is this difficult…I can’t imagine how single folks ever decide on dating partners from online images. By far a more important selection than if a flush mount fixture gives off enough light.
Decided to set these mundane things aside…truly unimportant by comparison…for a little while anyway, to remind us of what’s really important. Enjoying life with those we love for as long as we are able. Following is Pat’s unvarnished reflections on just that.
More Birthdays…and then some.
I already told you how my friends and I celebrated our 50th birthdays last year. I have another group of friends with whom I celebrate birthdays.
Our friendships came about because our boys were in kindergarten/elementary school together. Our boys have played sports together, our families have gone skiing together and we’ve been celebrating our birthdays for over 10 years. The boys have gone their own ways, but the moms have remained friends to this day.
These birthday celebrations aren’t fancy and don’t take months of planning. More like “It’s your turn next. What do you want to do?” Today was Maria’s turn. We celebrated at her house with take-out Chinese, wine instead of tea, and a fruit tart with ice cream instead of fortune cookies. (This is Hawaii where anything goes when it comes to food. hugmamma here: Ain’t that the truth!!!)
These are the women I met later in life, who have become lifelong friends. Besides our boys, the ties that bind us are the trials and tribulations both good and bad, that come with age…stress from our kids (a given), infidelity (a bad thing), divorce (mostly a good thing), and serious illness (a new topic).
Sharon was the first of this group that I told about my diagnosis. I knew it was going to be the hardest phone call to make and I waited until the very last moment…the night before my very first chemo treatment. It was hard and I know she was holding back tears. I asked her if she could let everyone else know what was going on. I didn’t think I could make six more phone calls. So she did.
Right away Priscilla offered to help Sharon with the phone calls. Priscilla also promised to keep me laughing and always send funny things she finds on the Internet. Erin, ever the librarian and teacher did some research online and had suggestions on what books to read. Sharon brought me those books, along with a blanket to use during treatment. She also brought food over. The others emailed me words of encouragement, prayers and offers to help in any way.
All except one.
I didn’t know if she was still in Hawaii. We’d heard she might be moving. I know she’s going through a tough time herself, but I don’t really know…none of us do…what’s going on. The last time we were all together, she didn’t want to talk about it and she’s been kinda AWOL ever since. Although she couldn’t make it to Maria’s birthday get-together at least she responded to the emails going around. I thought “great!” maybe things are okay, but still she didn’t email me directly. I wondered why. I wasn’t upset, just a little surprised, but didn’t worry too much about it. I’ve been in the position of not knowing what to do or say to someone and ended up doing nothing at all.
And then today it hit me! WHY AREN’T I REACHING OUT TO HER? OMG! NEWS FLASH! A cancer diagnosis DOES NOT mean the world now revolves around me. Someone…anyone…slap me! Sheesh! I feel like such an idiot. (hugmamma here: Been there…done that! Pretty sure we all have…)
Turns out she’s going through a really rough time. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t need to know either. I do know she doesn’t want to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other stuff. I’m not doing nothing this time around.
I finished reading a really good book a couple of weeks ago, and this friend was the first person I thought about. Although she is a published author and knows way more about the world of authors and publishing, I’d always let her know when I came across an awesome read. I don’t know why I hesitated this time…because she didn’t email me first?…or because she’s hiding out? Either way it doesn’t matter. I will email her. I hope she responds, but if she doesn’t that’s okay. At least she’ll know I’m here if she wants to talk books…or anything else.
And FYI, if you like memoirs the book is Maude by Donna Mabry.
…good to remember…that we’re all trying to live our best lives.