It's been over two years since I've felt this good.
I've always been a pretty positive person, looking on "the bright side" of things (cue Monty Python's "Life of Brian" music). I've always believed in the love of God, and had faith, hope and love as my companions. But ever since Katie received her diagnosis of cancer, with a life-threatening tumor that was not curable by medical science, it has been harder than ever to carry that resilience into each day and each situation. I think I quit trying, after she passed away. Instead, I worked to continue my relationship with God - with Love itself - in the moments that I've been aware and able to do so.
I have let go of most of my friendships, by necessity & choice. We have not had much company around here. Part of the reason for this is that we didn't want company; another part of the reason is that grief (and possibly menopause) has addled my brain, to the point that I cannot organize a large gathering, the way I used to be able to do it. That sort of thing would overwhelm me now -that is, since Katie passed away.
We have some relatives-by-marriage who I love very much. I have wanted to get them together with my parents (isn't this a cute photo of them?). When my parents came home from California, I started thinking about how and when to do this. I invited all of them, and went to the grocery store last week, to look for something to prepare for them to eat. Umm. The store had the largest hams for sale that I've ever seen. I bought a 21.5-pound ham for $0.99 per pound. Yes, you read that right: twenty-one and a half pounds of pork.
Now, I thought, I might want to invite a few others to share in the wealth, or we'll be eating ham for weeks. So I started adding family members and a few friends...and they invited a few others. We ended up with 20 people here...and it was good. It was better than good; I was ELATED.
Yes, you read that correctly, too: ELATED.
There were kids & adults on the rope swing, in the woods, on the beach, in the rowboat (even a CAT in the rowboat), & someone went swimming! We had a beach fire, fireworks and s'mores late into the night.
The funny thing is, people kept asking me what to bring, and I didn't know what to tell them, as I had most everything ready. They asked me what time I had said they should arrive, and I didn't remember what I'd said, so I just gave general guidelines. They asked how they could help, and I didn't have a clue, because I didn't need help; Gregg & David were already helping me. It was as if I wasn't in charge of this party; I was just hosting it, and it was a lot of fun doing it that way.
I realized, too, that I have a tendency, right before a party is about to begin, to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. I start to go over the house with a white-glove mentality; no one and nothing (including me) is perfect enough for my standards.
The realization came to me as I was wiping up tiny specks of dirt from the wood floor, and once I recognized it, I knew I didn't have to suffer from its impulses. I could see that nothing IS perfect, and it doesn't have to be. I said to Gregg, "I think I get a little OCD before a party," and he quickly agreed with me. So I guess my little craziness is not a secret...& we shared a smile at it.
Hospitality is what matters; comfort for our guests is what matters. When you live right between the woods and the beach, things are going to get DIRTY...and they did. I didn't mind that at all. We wanted people to enjoy every thing that we had to offer them, and they did. I can clean up later.
The most interesting thing to me was the feeling of elation that I had during and after the gathering. What started as a meeting of two families grew to include others, spontaneously and naturally. It was a good feeling to be so happy, as if the clouds in my heart had parted, somehow. I told Gregg how I felt, and I marvelled that I could be this happy, even without Katie here. It's still amazing me today, and I'm thankful.
Anyone want a ham sandwich?
Anyone want a ham sandwich?
Note: all of the photos in this posting were taken by Mooselips (Paul Dudley), except this one, and the shot of Watermelon & her mom (which were taken by me).