13 going on Forever

From bris to bar mitzvah in the blink of 13 years. If I had to choose an activity from the age of 53-66  I would choose the one that showed up on my doorstep and rang my bell. Ready, set go. As a dear, wise, forever friend said to me “you can make this anything you want.” Well, with no rule book in hand, I unzipped my heart, opened my arms, turned up the emotional settings and hit the ground running. I was often presented with a slippery slope as is the case when  player cooperation determines the means to a successful end. The emphasis was set to fun. I threw in a heaping spoonful of sugar in Mary Poppins fashion to help the medicine go down. I was the playful, protective, snack enabler, all the while overseeing the art project brigade. We diapered, pampered and cherished as we clamored memories into the overstuffed portions of our hearts. I greeted Club Gomberg  with the same line each time, shouted from the kitchen – “who’s here?” I couldn’t wait for them to come and was never happy to see them go. I let them know all were welcomed and the more the merrier. I mean 8 is not enough, with all due respect to Dick Van Patten and Betty Buckley. I spun it differently. Our cabinets held the “regulars,” as they were called. I got called to task if I mixed the sauce on the pasta not remembering for a split second just which kid liked it on the side. This should  be my biggest mea culpa. On the nights of sleepovers, we would close the blinds, and it would be the stars, the moon and us. These years added years to my life as I was adding a slice of life to theirs. Even during times when not exactly everything played out to being able to name that tune, we put the mishap aside as we know “good prevails.” In the game of bridge finding the right 8 card fit depends greatly on how your partner plays his cards. In this case the  deck was stacked in our favor. Our good- byes for now were always with the look of when will we do it again. I’ll take how would you like to see the next thirteen years of your life play out- by hitting the replay button and dance like everyone is watching.

They came to have fun! Thousand Oaks

Words by Joni Mitchell

Rows and flows of angel hair

And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere

I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun

They rain and snow on everyone

So many things I would have done

But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It’s cloud’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and ferries wheels

The dizzy dancing way you feel

As every fairy tale comes real

I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show

You leave ’em laughing when you go

And if you care, don’t let them know

Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now

From give and take and still somehow

It’s love’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud,

To say “I love you” right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds

I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends they’re acting strange

They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed

Well something’s lost, but something’s gained

In living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow

It’s life’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know life at all

Two lives to Live-

Dear Ordainer of Weddings and Funerals. Would we still have tried as hard? Perhaps we would have given it more effort.

Please stand on that long line over there. That’s the one that says “Weddings and Funerals only.” You don’t see it? It’s the longest line in the room. The shared celebrations and the pool your sorrows with tones of mandatory invites and show ups.

The terms Kismet, Destiny and Beshart offer the concept of “the meant to be’s.” How much does luck or chance factor into who we go the distance with? We were raised believing our family of origin and blood relatives are the people who will be our first and forever friends. Does forever mean until the holiday meal is over or when someone moves off the block?

Early on we come to learn Holiday Anxiety can exist all year long .The dread of the were they really meant to be’s too often become the “do we have to’s?”

As social media has connected us to our past, we have become voyeurs in the lives of the people we met through our “chance” encounters. Our Book of Life.  Reunions, cousin clubs and catch up events offer the second time around opportunities. If we try hard can we champion our first time around defeats and become the laureate of second chances?

The trepidation of “will we be understood” and the “will they like us feelings” enter the room before we do. Phew, we got that over with is the relief emotion as we feel the  rapprochement went really well.

So we learn back to the future isn’t always in the canasta cards. Equally,  the surprise of the well blended double date shows up.  We walk away, look at one another and think yes, a take two would be very nice.

On Thursday the pharmacist at Duane Reade referred to the type of flu shot he was administering to us as the “upper classman” strain. We thought what a gentle way of saying senior discounts accepted.

So as a member of that category we got the shot, took our senior day discount on our over the counter Nexium and went home to pack for our snowbird winter in Florida.

My take away is, we can dwell on missed opportunities and bemoan our fate about family members who have become strangers. Or, we can knowingly look across the table, perhaps the seat next to us at the movies and believe those are our “meant to be’s. Make it a reach out to someone you love day. I just did.