Sunday, May 23, 2010

Being Random

Yesterday my husband and I went to Dougie's funeral. We had never met his parents, sister or his nieces or nephews before. But it felt important to be there -- for them.

All of our parents are gone. We've planned funerals. We know that as hard as it is to get through the actual day, having people show up to share that pain with you is extremely helpful. Actually, having people show up to share their love of that person is even better.

There are people we expect to show up -- relatives, good friends, neighbors -- having them around is invaluable! We expect them to support us -- they do -- and we will support them when it is their turn. It's what we do for people we care about.

Then there are random people -- those who show up at a funeral, but the family members didn't know them.

When my dad died, there were so many people who came up to me to say, "You don't know me, but I knew your dad. Here is something great about him." Most of them had driven at least 2 hours to be there.

I ended up with a whole new picture of my Dad. He had a lot of friends I didn't know existed. He had a lot of casual acquaintances who really liked him. He made them laugh, he offered advice, sometimes he would just have a beer and listen. All of those funny and inspiring stories about my dad were a surprise -- he had touched people in ways I never knew! I've thought about those people over the years, and even now, more than 10 years later, I smile knowing my dad made an impact on so many people.

It took me a while, (after my mom died 3 years ago) but I finally decided that I would become a random person. I would be a person who shows up unexpectedly and says, "You don't know me, but your loved one was great!"

After introducing myself to Dougie's sister yesterday, she said: I see so many faces of people who I have never seen before. It feels good knowing all of these people knew and cared about my brother.

I'm glad I was able to be one of so many people who made that day a little better for her.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Putting Things in Perspective

I found out this morning that a casual friend of mine died last night. His name was Dougie.

Though Dougie was not a close friend, we saw him often -- he worked at the pub where we hang out. He was always in a good mood, he worked hard and he treated everyone very well. Dougie had some of the best bartender T-shirts ever, including my favorite which read: Tell your mom to quit texting me. On Halloween he wore a great pimp-wolf costume.

Dougie was only 36 years old.

So, today, as I think about Dougie being only 36 and his life cut short, I'm putting some things in perspective. Having a business that failed, working a job that isn't ideal and having major home repairs do not seem like they are very important.

And, turning 50 later this year is looking better and better every day.

Good-bye Dougie! You'll be missed!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And the Award for Worst Singer goes to...

My Mom was a horrible singer. If you did not know the song based on the words, you would NEVER know what it was based on the melody she sang.

In everyday life, being a bad singer is not a big deal. Though we teased her, it did not stop her from singing.

However, I HATED to sit near her in church. She would change octaves in the middle of a song -- sometimes in the middle of a phrase -- making it impossible to sing if you were next to her.

My Dad was not much better. He knew one note and every song he sang he used just that one note. At least he was not distracting and confusing. He never sang loud, so it was easy to just block him out.

Today in church I was trying to sing when I realized the notes were getting too high for me, so I switched octaves. I then realized the song was going too low and I couldn't do that either. So I opted to pick one note and sing the rest of the song using just that one note. Once I realized what I was doing, I nearly laughed.

Yeah, my Mom and Dad are definitely still a part of me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

He Thought I was a Pole Dancer

The other day a friend my age told me a story that ended with, "He thought I was a pole dancer."

At first I was just stunned. "What?" I said in shock and horror. I'm sure my mouth dropped open.

She explained how, because of loud music and some miscommunication, the guy she was introduced to that night thought she worked as a pole dancer/stripper.

My second reaction was to offer sympathy. How could anyone believe a woman this classy could be a pole dancer? Seeing that she was not angry I asked how she felt about it.

Her response made me laugh. She said something like: How cool is it that someone would think I could make money as a pole dancer -- at my age!

A male friend leaned over to whisper in my ear, "I'd pay to see her pole dance." Well, she is pretty hot.

It's funny how things that would be insulting at certain times of your life are seen as compliments when you get older. At the age of 25 if someone made that same assumption, I'm sure she would have slapped him!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AARP Invitation

An invitation to join AARP arrived at our house today -- for my husband!

Yes, he is quite a bit older than I am. He is exactly 4 months to the day my senior.

Though I got a pretty good laugh out of his invitation, I know mine is probably on the way -- in about 4 months.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm Not Ready for This

I was a little sad yesterday. It's not a logical sadness, so I'll just explain.

While spending time with my daughter and her friends at college, I was truly proud of how adult they all are. They were busy in the kitchen chopping, marinading, boiling and cooking. As they were doing all of this, they got along better than any family I've ever seen. They each knew what the others would do before they even did. They enjoyed good conversation and teased each other -- especially when one had a "mom" moment. And they took turns making sure I had a beverage and anything else I might need.

While standing in the kitchen watching all of this I had an ah ha moment -- I'm not needed.

This is where it is illogical. My job as a parent is to raise self-sufficient children who can go off on their own and live their own lives. Watching her, I felt that my job is done, there is nothing she needs from me anymore.

The past 22 years have gone by SO fast! (Well, except for those first few months when she did not sleep through the night.) How did that little baby, huge toddler, super cute kindergardener, obnoxious high school student and nervous college freshman turn into this adult?

I'm just not ready for this!

But then again, I survived that first day of kindergarten. And I survived moving her into her first dorm and everything in between. And whenever I needed it, I waited until I got back to the parking lot before I cried.

Yesterday, I again waited until I was in the parking lot before I cried.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Welcome Mom's*

I visited my daughter at college this past Friday night and Saturday for Moms Weekend. Though I've been there before, this is the first time I've spent the night for this weekend.

It was really nice having my daughter and all of her friends cooking a great dinner for me! Even her boyfriend jumped in and helped cook. I was pretty proud of the way they all handled themselves in the kitchen. The food was delicious and they were great hosts!

After dinner they took me to a couple of their favorite hangouts including a pub with a band playing great 70s songs. Yeah, they knew how to cater to moms! The band was really good, and though I did not do so well on the pool table, my daughter did. It was a really fun bar.

But the highlight of the evening (for me) came as we were walking down the street to another pub. We stopped when we ran into another group of friends. The conversation between the boyfriend (BF) and Guy #1 was a little odd if you have not been consuming alcohol and are not on a college campus. It went something like this:
  • Guy #1 to BF: Sorry that I hit on your girlfriend a few times.
  • BF: That's OK.
  • Guy #1: But what about her friend. Can I hit on her?
  • BF: That's not her friend, that's her mom!
  • Guy #1 to me: You are gorgeous.
Yea for me!
(OK, before I get all of those snarky comments from friends, I understand that Guy #1 was drunk. I can still enjoy the moment, can't I?)

*I have this thing about apostrophes. All over the college campus (from where I have a journalism degree), signs welcomed "Mom's". (Mom's what?) At the pub where my daughter works, I asked the bartender to erase the apostrophe from the dry-erase sign, which he did and he laughed. "Are you a teacher?" he asked. My daughter replied, "No, she's an editor." In my defense, my request might have been inspired by a little alcohol, too.

PS: If you are going to admit on a blog that you are an editor, it is a good idea to proofread. I hope I caught all of the typos (this time).