July 2014

Book CoverPublished in the Ferndale Record, July 30, 2014

Some months deliver more gravy than others, and July has been one bubbling with delicious epiphanies.

*I went outside a lot. For a rain-loving, indoor activity enthusiast, being out in the world meant re-discovering the feel of sun on my shoulders, connecting with neighbors and being less afraid of “what’s out there.”

As a fair weather bicyclist, sticking to flat routes with few rises and low, if any, traffic, I’ve hardly biked Ferndale at all. But this month, I found my groove on a few city streets and in the park. I’m a treadmill runner, but discovered that running works outside, too. In short, I got a little braver. Probably not faster – but a little more comfortable with what I can do and where I can do it.

*One Sunday night, kind of by accident, most of my children were in my home. It was dinnertime and there was food enough for all, but one component was missing – gooey dessert. A Sunday staple, something decadent is always served up, especially when we get together. One son stepped forward, enlisted the help of his sister and suggested they go to the store and buy needed supplies. I tried to talk them down, thinking we’d be OK just this once.

Then, the boy, in a declarative statement built on his almost 30 years of experience, and founded in deep family roots said, “No. We need to have something. It’s what we do.”

I was amused at how serious he was about dessert. Then, days later, like it usually happens, the meaning of what he said tumbled in on me. “It’s what we do,” meant tradition and connection. It was important. We had dessert that night. In fact, we had two.

*From an early age I wasn’t crazy about heights. It’s only been in recent years that I kind of enjoy air travel. Because of this, and because he likes to surprise me, my youngest child kept a huge secret until after a planned adventure. He told almost everyone in the free world what his plans were, but not me.

He came in casually one night and told us he’d been skydiving that day. My first response was, “No you didn’t.” It turns out he had a certificate, a DVD, and a goofy grin to prove it. Thinking about a person I would take a bullet for falling voluntarily from a plane, and knowing he was telling the truth about it, felt like a direct punch to my gut.

Here’s the gravy part: After the initial shock and awe wore off, his enthusiasm had me considering a jump of my own. I kissed his cheek and said, “You rock.” In another, not so long ago life, I would have required resuscitation and ongoing therapy. This time I asked questions like, “What were you thinking about before the chute opened? Were you afraid? What was the landing like?” It’s all on the DVD.

I’m going to store all of this month’s goodness like a squirrel stores nuts in his cheeks. And hopefully, other times that are not so full of sweetness and discovery will be a little less difficult because I had July.