My Facebook memories have been hitting me right in the feels this week with pictures of our family vacation to Ruttgers on Bay Lake from last year. Those memories have me thinking a lot about “firsts” and “lasts”…sometimes you know they are important while they are happening…sometimes not. Some are milestones that we mark…almost religiously…first and last day of school for example…that are more developmental. Some are more life-altering…some become the moments that we measure our lives by…the ones deeply etched in our memories.
The summer of 2020 after Jason had his first surgery and chemo and radiation we rented a cabin on a lake Up North with Jeremy and Cheryl. I remember feeling so clearly that it might be our last family vacation that I put all sorts of expectations on it and pressure on myself to make it “perfect”. And of course, it wasn’t perfect. It was rainy. The fish wouldn’t bite. The kids were all a little “extra”…understandably so…they were trying to get a handle on reality as much as I was. I had myself so wrapped up in the idea of “last” that one night Jason and I were in the shower and I literally had a break down…ugly crying so hard I coudn’t stop…hyperventilating…sitting naked in the shower with my head between my knees…on the verge of throwing up or passing out or both. And all I could say to Jason was “What if this is the last? I can’t do this by myself” over and over. And Jason did what he always was able to do…talked me down…held me…put me back together.
And that horrible experience stuck with me so much that I vowed not to do that with the “lasts” anymore. Not too hold on so tight to expectations. To just let events unfold organically. Even when I KNEW they would be the lasts….because I did know. Our last anniversary. His last birthday. Last Thanksgiving…Christmas…Easter. And then our last family vacation last year. It was at the place that we had enjoyed as a family for so many years…and it was perfection.
As I have been reminiscing about our last perfect family vacation I have been thinking about other things that make me smile day-to-day…and I tried to write a poem that is maybe a little more uplifting…I’m trying.
Good in Life When so much of life doesn’t make sense Trying to get through moment to moment Reminding myself of the good left in life The things that make me smile Laugh Feel peace for a second Give hope for a future Somehow Without you. Anna Seth Levi Pieces of you Pieces of me Mingled together Perfectly. Linc Emmett Crazy antics Kisses on my face Force me to face Morning. Birds in the backyard Coffee In hand A pair of cardinals Feed each other Breakfast. Family Yours Mine Check on me Don’t let me Hide. Friends Acceptance Make me laugh But also Let me Cry. Purple flowers Blossom Bring simple beauty Color To a gray Life. Perfect words A lyric A poem Encapsulate emotion Build Community Ease the unrelenting loneliness Underneath it all is so much sadness But, Babe, I’m trying. Moment by moment.