This past month has been eventful. My husband and I celebrated a big anniversary with a Hawaiian vacation that included our three adult children. The vacation was glorious, but traveling as a family of five adults is a challenge (although I’ll take the challenges over not being together any day of the week). Added in was a recurrence of bursitis in my left arm that was painful and frustrating. Our two-week sojourn also included a stay in Los Angeles, a drive up the coast to attend my niece’s wedding and a mad dash back to LAX for the return flight home. And upon our return, our youngest son is now living with us while he attends graduate school. Oh, and just before our trip, a leak in our upstairs HVAC resulted in drenched duct work and damage to the ceiling drywall.
I’m not complaining! Well, actually, I’ve done a ton of complaining to my husband. Thankfully he has very broad shoulders and has kept his cool. Staying cool in the face of my emotional storms is one of his super powers. And in the midst of the chaos, well maybe after some of it has passed, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to have a partner with truly superhuman patience. In fact, sweetie, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), thank you.
And this week is my birthday, so there’s that. I always feel a little melancholy around this time. Every birthday since my parents passed is another reminder of what I’ve missed sharing with them. I was so fortunate to have the kind of parents many kids long for. They weren’t perfect by any means, but they were perfect for me. They were my first teachers, my protectors and my biggest cheerleaders. They loved me unconditionally and completely and they showed me how to do the same with my children.
Is there a lesson in all that has happened this past month? I’m not sure. Since last week, there have been three more mass shootings with little outrage coming from our nation’s lawmakers. The erratic weather patterns around the world further highlight the threat to our planet. And unstable and dangerous dictators in foreign countries threaten our nation’s democracy and safety.
One of my super powers is my ability to remain positive and optimistic in the face of life’s difficulties. Right now, my powers aren’t as strong as they usually are. But I will offer this: all of the current challenges we face are proof of our humanity. What distinguishes us from other life forms and from machines is our resilience in the face of pain and tragedy and our ability to learn and grow from our mistakes and the misdeeds of others. I am hopeful that our common humanity will give us the strength we all need to work together to find solutions and to honor our differences. I believe it is our ability to love that elevates us and allows us to see the humanity in each other.
And when I feel really down, I head out to my summer garden and revel in nature’s creations and take pride in my accomplishments there. This year, my sunflowers haven’t worked out as I’d like. But I’ve had a bumper crop of squash, peppers and cucumbers. Tomatoes are still going strong and I’m anxiously awaiting some eggplants to ripen. More lessons learned.