the day starts off with a 5 mile udder run, in which I get
4th place in my age group.
see steve, an old dear friend, taught with him ’02. he’s fast, man.
wedding of local girl, who is married in the church where I was married:
skip this part
reception, check. quick drive to airport.
redeye to virginia. beautiful way to start the day. (from airplane seat)
and i look out and wonder
my uncle’s visitation & funeral.
watching my cousin play swahnee river…on the organ for her daddy.
watching her brother hold in his tears. seeing him made me melt.
met all their *other* cousins. we thought we were the only ones.
this sign on a restroom door. one question: why?
going to a softball game of a cousin. playing in the red mud.
realizing that you should be taking time to be doing this all the time.
not just when someone dies.
because your family is all you have, really.
learning about this town, this humidity…running, walking.
talking, laughing, giggling like we were girls again.
she wakes me up reading me a story. my cousin’s granddaughter.
beautiful, loving child.
watching my cousin parent her…waking her up with giggles & waffles.
she reads me a story when i wake up. she puts a bell by my bed. Just in case.
i go to an aa meeting.
atlantic fleet. navy. I go for one reason, and get a different benefit.
people who want to stay sober. again, wasn’t about me.
I sit on the porch with her neighbors.
night after night. breeze through the trees. taking time.
making time when there is no time.
and we try to fix the problems of the neighbors, of my uncle’s wife.
and realize, if it isn’t happening NOW, it’s not happening.
so, we sit, and talk, and laugh.
and she says hey, you know who would be perfect for her?
and again, we are all school girls, and they tell me about this guy.
…and i think nothing more of it. and i smile because really.
my cousin has to go back. he and his sister. on the porch. my favorite people.
in the world.
and, I finally finally finally let go of a man who has been telling me half truths.
for three months.
and i’m happy to let him go…one less bell to answer.
and she graduates from 1st to 2nd grade.
her teacher is a first year, tight lemon faced teacher
who forgets that she is most DEFINITELY a member of the step up club
and she didn’t get mentioned, so I do it here.
my favorite picture. the love. give me a hug.
and we walk. and we talk. and we sweat. and we figure out the family,
and the reasons for our moms’ lives
and we put together the puzzle pieces and we share
our sides of the family secrets
and realize we’ve not done this since we were 10 years old
spend a whole week together
and it was just like that. being little. listening to music
playing rummy in which she puts down a card for discard
takes it back.
thus the score. and she writes ME and YOU just like when we were girls.
with the same handwriting i saw 100 times
a close game. of five points. that i could have won.
virginia beach and lunch on the sidewalk and realizing that there is no way
we could have done this.
but for the beautiful gift of a friend from Twitter.
2 cousins on the beach
bridging the miles and 40 years and montana and marriages and coming back
to my very favorite cousin. ever.
and her beautiful daughter and husband
going to the corpsman ball
the man who wore his dress navy uniform to her grandfather’s funeral
and she looks so happy. and i give her a load of grief
that i couldn’t do on monday
but by wednesday, my place in this family is secure,
and i can be that aunt that you avoid.
but she’s happy. and i’m happy. and she is beautiful.
and these cats. who really really i’ve grown attached to by the end of the week.
and the hamster that runs on his wheel the last night
because sweet neighbor gal removes the wheel every night
except the last one.
and i meet the man, who on paper i have no connection to
but then i see him and like him and he is a gentleman
and i’m not sure what to do about that.
and i text him like a teenager, and he texts me back and we have dinner
and walk on the beach… feet in the ocean.
and i like him. naturally.
but this week is not about him. it’s about my cousin.
it’s about meeting her again. and liking her the same way i did as a kid.
except now i can teach her about 30 minutes of exercise, water, fruits & veggies
and please unplug your blowdryer
and i write her a letter the last day that i’m there. i’m up at 5am
and i am only hearing one song over and over in my head.
and i am crying because i don’t want to leave her.
she got a do-over with her dad, with her granddaughter
and with me.
and i go across the street before we drive away, and i am crying
and the cats wrap themselves around my legs.
and i am thankful.
and i look at the beach at norfolk, at the endless possibilities.
and i become the mayor of the golf course,
the chesapeake bay, the atlantic ocean
and i have to leave.
i play this song that had wrapped itself around my brain all morning.
because it’s the story of my love for this cousin.
how do you thank someone who has taken from you from crayons to perfume?
i have no idea.
but the universe cracked open for this one.
and i say thank you.
*note: i tried to get to the second wedding. plane landed too late.
and life goes on…