For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ai·lur·o·phile /īˈlo͝orəˌfīl/

"In my opinion, cat owners are tolerant, uniquely willing to see past the flaws of others, nurturing and patient - largely because they have been taught these qualities by cats."

How true!  

And written by a true ailurophile!

In my family,  there are 2 true ailurophiles:  Kerry and me.  

Everyone else loves "certain" cats - cats that like to curl up in your lap, cats that are predictable, cats that follow the rules of the house.  It's easy to love cats like Momo and Tigger.   

Maddie, however, is a completely different story.  She's not easy for everyone to love. She is extremely independent and unpredictable.  When she decides to curl up in your lap, you feel honored because it doesn't happen very often.  When she's not terrorizing Momo, she's trying to terrorize other family members by jumping at their legs as they walk by or knocking things off the counter.

But Kerry and I love her just the same!  

Maddie is full-grown, but tiny - only 8 lbs.  That's fitting, because she looks and acts like a kitten. It somehow makes her easier to understand.  Kerry calls her "baby cat"  and her favorite thing to say is "Baby cat don't care"!  It's true.  Maddie does what she wants!

Recently, Maddie wasn't putting weight on one of her paws and needed to go to the vet.  Her paw was really swollen.

Maddie didn't understand why she had to ride in the crate - she usually just jumps into the car with the dogs and goes for a ride.  She must have known this was different.

But Maddie wasn't even afraid when we let her out of the crate in the exam room.

  And she just hung out on the scale for a while after being weighed...

Dr. Brown examined her and she was really good!  We were so proud!

 They took her into the back room to shave some of the fur off her paw and check it out, but they didn't find anything suspicious.  After a shot of antibiotics, she was good as new the next day.

Kerry and I had fun together that day at the vet's.  Maddie makes us laugh and we enjoy her so much!

In my opinion, cat owners are tolerant, uniquely willing to see past the flaws of others, nurturing and patient - largely because they have been taught these qualities by cats.

Kerry is working full-time this summer as a nursing assistant.  She is nurturing, patient, tolerant, and willing to see past the problems and flaws of her patients.

I can't help but believe being a cat lover has something to do with these good qualities she possesses. 

ailurophile = cat lover = Kerry

Monday, June 17, 2013

Turning the Page

These past few months have been like reading the end of good book.  One of those books with 1200 pages that you have invested so much time in.  One of those books where you come to know and love the characters so much that you feel they are real.  You've been through their highs and lows, laughed and cried with them, watched they grow and change. Then you get to the last page and you don't want to turn it just yet because you don't want it all to be over.

That's how I have been feeling about the past few months.  I knew I was coming to the end of a certain phase of parenthood.  

I watched Annie march in her last parade.

I watched as she played in her last Hartt Wind Ensemble.

I watched as she played her last solo in the EHS jazz band.

I watched as she passed her last baton in track.

And I watched as she walked off to her last prom.

With graduation just around the corner, I knew this phase of parenting was coming to an end.  I was coming to the end of a very long, emotional, consuming book.  I would turn the last page soon.

mixed among all of these "lasts" was a "first".

At her last high school band concert, Annie conducted for the first time.

She took her first of many bows to come in a new role.

That is in the next book of my life, however.
And I can't wait to read it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

So Many Changes...

There is a certain peace that comes with stability.  All is well.  My world is good. Predictable.  Safe.

There is an excitement that comes with change.  Growth. Surprise. Goodness that was unexpected.

This past month, there have been a lot of changes.  Most of them good, like the blossoming of my garden, Adam's graduation, Kerry's new job, Annie's upcoming graduation.

But not all change is good.

These are our neighbors, Cindy and Jared.  They have lived across the street from us for the past 5 years.  You might remember them by their pets...



and, last but not least, Farrah.

When I found out a few months ago that they were moving to Chicago, I was sad.

Cindy was not just a neighbor.  She was is a friend.

We are very different. She is very unique.  Cindy is from New York City.  I don't think I have ever seen her in a pair of jeans (although she wore her pajamas quite often!) When I see her dressed to go out, she is stylish - city stylish. Her nails are always done nicely. Makeup perfect. Her house was always very clean too.  She doesn't have any children other than Boomer, Taylor and Farrah. She and her husband, Jared, live a young, carefree lifestyle.

No matter how different we are outwardly, we are very similar on the inside.  And that is what makes a friendship.  Without even trying, she makes me smile.

They moved to Chicago a few weeks ago and we have new neighbors - a young couple, newly married.  They seem like nice people too.

But I will forever miss Cindy's quirkiness and gentle spirit across the street.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just a Little Walk

Walking takes longer... than any other known form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed.  ~Edward Abbey

Kerry has been home quite a lot lately, waiting out the time until her summer job as a nursing assistant begins in Burlington.  So we've had a chance to see her beloved pet, Ravioli, once again.

Ravi has grown so much since we last saw him.  He has grown into a man (we know that because Kerry finally examined him to determine his sex).   And being a grown man, he finally fits into the leash I bought him for Christmas!

Kerry took him on his first walk outside the other day.

 He was very hesitant at first in his new surroundings.  It was a hot day and the stones were nice and warm.

 Ravi really didn't walk very fast until he got to the grass.

 It must have seemed like the forest to him!

 When he got back inside he was tired and out of breath as he posed for pictures on him mom's shoulder.

 It was good to have Kerry and Ravioli home to experience this "first" in his life!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Better Late Than Never

As the commencement procession filed into the field house at Middlebury College last weekend, we were scanning the faces of the young men and women, searching for kids we knew.  We especially didn't want to miss Adam.

We finally spotted Adam.   He wasn't looking our way, but I snapped a picture anyways.

We had seats on the side of the graduates.  When they were all seated, I looked across the aisle and spotted this older gentleman.  He was actually walking beside Adam on the way in and made it into my first picture.

While most of the younger students were waving at their parents getting their pictures taken, he was intent upon taking pictures of the crowd.  He had to put his glasses on to see the screen of his iPhone and in the process had trapped his tassel.  I couldn't help but watch him and wonder what his story was.

In my mind, I wove what I imagined to be his story.  He was probably taking pictures of his family - wife and kids.  His kids were probably college graduates already and very proud of their dad.  As is natural as we age and have been caregivers for much of our lives, it's not in our nature to be the center of attention as it once was when we were in our early 20's.  We take the pictures, not our kids.  If this was a younger student, the camera on their phone would be flipped and they would be taking a picture of themselves with their friends.  He probably didn't even know how to do this, and, sadly, he didn't seem to have any friends.

I wondered how it must have been for him to go to college later in life.  I bet he appreciated it more.  His weekends were probably not spent at parties or other social events.  Was he a full-time student, or did he take classes part-time over the years?  What does he do for work?  Does he have any grandchildren?  I wish I could have talked with him to find answers to my questions.

I missed seeing him actually getting his diploma, but I watched him when he sat back down.  He studied the words solemnly.  Watching him, I felt myself well up with tears.  How different from the young people who raised their diplomas high and chatted with their peers.

Toward the end of the commencement ceremony, the students raised their canes in jubilation, and the older gentleman joined right in.

I didn't see him again after the students filed out of the field house, but he had made an impression on me as I had spent so much time pondering his life during the 2 hour ceremony.

A few days after graduation, Adam mentioned the man to me.  In a news article about the Middlebury commencement, it read:

Among the senior class was one familiar with the challenges that follow college. A member of the Class of 1970, he was a sociology/anthropology major who left Middlebury having completed all his academic work except for his thesis.  Deciding that he wanted his degree, he fulfilled his remaining requirement this year and proudly accepted his diploma with the Class of 2013 at the age of 64.

And with the help of the Linkedin, I have discovered that he is a software sales consultant in the Boston area, utilizing the telephone and web to share the value of the Cloud. 

I guess he really DOES know how to use his cell phone after all!