the nest

the nest

Friday, October 23, 2015

being there

Luther College Graduation, May 1990
I've struggled with writing lately. Not sure why other than life is busy and it can be tricky to write about your experience launching your children into the world when they are struggling. I don't want to invade their privacy or share too much. I've dealt with that in the past by writing about my own journey out into the world as an entrepreneur and advocate. Even that has been tricky lately as I'm having my own struggles and am feeling the need to pull back on the sharing.

Last weekend was my 25th College Reunion.  I just felt a wave of nausea as I wrote that, but YES, I have been out of college for 25 years.  I really thought I would know what I was doing "when I grew up" by now, but I guess it's ok to be on a perpetual journey. It was a wonderful weekend shared with my partner in life who is also a Luther grad from the class of '90, but the best part of the weekend was reconnecting with friends I haven't seen.  One particular friend is pictured above and below.
25th College Reunion, Oct. 2015
Annie is one of my life long friends - we've know each other longer now that we didn't.  We met as 18 year old first year students and over the next 4 years, we lived together 2 years, sang together, laughed together, cried together, got drunk together, danced together, grew up together.
After college our paths were different - I dove right into marriage and children along with school and work.  Annie pursued her passion for music, studying and singing around the world.  We connected less often as our lives were so very different.  She got married when I was pregnant with my third child and we laughed that my children would be able to babysit her's.  As she entered the world of motherhood, we re-connected more often.  
Our lives have been busy and we live far apart, so we never see each other or talk as often as we would like.  We are often in different places politically, but our love for each other allows us to agree to disagree when necessary.  It is one of those friendships that can be dormant for weeks or months, but when the opportunity arises, it is like no time has passed.
Reconnecting this past weekend was particularly important as just a few days before Annie was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  When she first messaged me that she was having a suspicious lymph node removed and didn't know what the weekend would bring, all I could think about was how could I get to LaCrosse.  How could I be there for her.  There were days of worry about the actual diagnosis and then the severity and prognosis.  During that time my thoughts were with Annie and her husband and her 4 daughters.  The prognosis is excellent, so while the next 4 months will be unpleasant for sure, her Doctor is confident that she will be cured.  
This is when I hate being so far from "home."  I can't just bring a meal over or drive her to a chemo appointment or pick up her girls from a lesson or class.  I can pray and talk and maybe send a donation to help with extra costs, but I can't BE THERE. At least physically.  I can BE THERE in so many ways and when I stop having a pity party because I'm far away I remember that.
This is when the reality of life sets in.  The reality that we are getting older.  Our parents are getting older.  Our friends are getting older.  Each reunion will include more "in memoriams" to classmates who have passed away.  Each one will include more of us with parents who have passed away.  More of us will have struggled with our own illnesses.  
We will also be celebrating the graduations and marriages of our own children.  We will celebrate the births of grandchildren. We will become that next generation. 
I am grateful to have a wonderful life.  I am blessed with a husband I adore, children who are going to change the world, friends who love me (and I love back), an extended family full of amazing people and work that I love.  
It is so easy to get sucked into worrying about the little things, but so important to remember that life is not about the stuff or the money or the details.  It's about the people and the relationships.  It's about make the world a better place.  It's about caring for those who aren't as lucky as we are. It's about connecting and caring and BEING THERE.  Life is about love.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

thoughts this morning

Some thoughts that have been percolating in my mind over the past week.

~ Guns do kill people. They kill children, mothers, fathers, friends, enemies, strangers.

~ Dramatically decreasing the number of guns available in this country would in fact decrease the number of deaths by firearms.  The accidental shooting by the toddler in a home, the suicide of the distraught teenager.  The "in the heat of the moment" shooting of the husband or wife.  If guns are not available (destroyed or responsibly stored), they can't be used.

~ the right of our children and families to be able to go to school, church, a movie, the park, ANYWHERE, and feel safe completely trumps the right of anyone to own weapons whose sole purpose is to kill people.  Who the hell are you afraid of?????  Maybe if we stopped fearing each other and actually cared for people the way we care for money and stuff, the rising number of alienated, hurting individuals in our country would decrease.  Maybe if we valued kindness and empathy and serving each other more than doing just that which makes us "happy" fewer people would feel the need to lash out. Maybe if we made sure as a nation that ALL people had the basic necessities of life, we could be less fearful.

~ responsible gun owners who hunt or use guns for sport should have no beef with common sense gun reform.  Weapons designed to kill people should not be available to the general public for any reason.  Those who do own guns should have to demonstrate competence, pass a background check, be licensed, pay insurance just in case, and keep those guns safely stored in a locked safe with ammunition stored elsewhere.

~ none of these measures would eliminate all deaths by firearms, but they sure would dramatically decrease them.  How do we know this?  Because we've seen it happen around the world.  When we refuse to learn from the experience of our global neighbors we reinforce the idea that Americans are narcissistic assholes.  Not really how I'd like to be perceived by the world.  It's actually pretty embarrassing.

~ when the same people who want so badly to regulate my reproductive choices and those of my friends and daughters are as protective of the LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY LIVING AND BREATHING INDEPENDENTLY, I will discuss their "pro-life" agenda.  Until then I won't.  I'm not interested in talking with hypocrites who will do anything to "defend life", but refuse to address issues of healthcare (including mental health) education, poverty, gun safety.

~ my brain has been very busy lately.