Oh, honey, last week had its sucky moments, let me tell ya. It wasn't all sucky, just in case you think this post about honeysuckle vine will sound more like honeysuckle whine, which leads me to another rhyme- "blackberry wine." You know I like to listen when I'm in a crowd, just to hear what other people are thinking. A woman in the bleachers at Kate's softball game was talking about making blackberry wine, and this part struck me as hilarious coming from a mild-mannered looking senior citizen, "I've been making blackberry wine, using all these steps. Then I met this man who had been making whiskey at home, and I asked him about all the steps to do that. Turns out, I've been doing the same things with wine. I'm not making wine. I'm making blackberry whiskey!"
That softball game was on Thursday. It was a good day. James turned eleven, and most importantly, he said it was a great birthday! He loved the hockey jerseys we got him. The catcher's mitt he wanted so badly, and bought with Grandma & Granddaddy's birthday money gift, had already arrived. He had fun at Kate's game. The Daddy found him a St. Louis Cardinal's giant cookie for his birthday cake. Katie pitched for the first time in one of her softball games, and she did alright. She struck out one batter and only allowed one run in her inning, which at her level pretty much balances out the fact she hit three batters with pitches (they weren't hurt, no tears). She also slugged the ball far into the outfield. Most importantly, she looked like an athlete, carried herself proud and strong.
Seeing family two weekends in a row was a good thing about last week, too! Phone calls are fine, but hugging Mother and Pop is a gazillion times better! Same thing for pestering Soupie and Bubby. It can be done via telephone, but it's much more fun in person :)
Now, the bad things whine. You knew from the title I'd have to do it, right? Well, the first thing is something I've discovered (and rediscovered, and rediscovered again) through experience- any time I start to feel as if I'm understanding the essence of life and/or beginning to make headway into becoming a truly kind and good person, I might as well sit down somewhere and do nothing but breathe verrrrrrry quietly until the smugness passes over me. Otherwise, and this appears to be guaranteed to happen, I am bound to do something stupendously stupid or unkind in about three seconds. Let's call that Lesson #1, instead of Bad Thing #1.
As a matter of fact, let's call the second thing Lesson #2. It definitely had Bad Thing written all over it, but since it happened and can't be undone, might as well acknowledge and use it. Last week, my cousin died much too young and at her own hand. She spent a portion of her adult life depressed and drunk, or drunkenly depressed (which is what this weight must have felt like from her perspective), or depressingly drunk (which is what it felt like to me whenever I would hear from family that, once again, she'd been drinking last time they saw her). Why am I even mentioning this part? Well, along with the fun and loving and kind person she was came the shadow of the tormented part of her. Most of us knew about it to some degree, and it was mentioned as some sort of disclaimer ahead of all the good things people would describe at the two memorial services. I did the very same thing when I wrote "I'm sorry you couldn't find peace in this lifetime." But do you know what other word was also included in almost every memory spoken? KIND, she was KIND. It wasn't just people trying to find something good to say, it was heartfelt because she had shown them kindness that won't be forgotten. I keep picturing one of her coworkers telling how much she was appreciated... you could almost tell for certain this woman has had rough times in her life, but she was sincere in her gratitude for my cousin having been in her life.
Lesson #2: None of us is perfect. Don't let that ever stop you from sharing your best self with someone else whenever you can. It will make a difference, and it will be remembered.