Never send me to Neverland. It’s filled with souls who refuse to grow up. And boy are we experiencing some growing pains. It hasn’t been our shining week. The principal to whom one of my kids was sent assures me that “it’s all a process.” By that does she mean a process though which I might lose my mind? Then my other kiddo had an altercation which required words with the teacher. Now I know for certain where I have been sent: Never-Lord-of-the-Flies-Land.
In this magical place I am trying to govern with limited success. Here, where mermaids are adored and loin clothes are sported, good spars with evil, yielding an uncertain outcome each and every time. Daily I am left to wonder if civilization and righteousness are taught or inherited?
I look at my son who admittedly makes a darling Peter Pan. Note, I did not choose to share the photo in which he depicts Peter Pan’s death scene, with foam dagger situated across throat and arrow positioned in a rather unfortunate, not to mention sensitive, area. Lord of the Flies indeed. I wonder about innocence and promise; can they be maintained, and moreover, if they are lost can they be reclaimed?
It’s impossible not to think of my father on this day, which marks three years since his passing. I remember him at his finest– an individual of grace and integrity. He was larger than life, but at some point, as proved by fantastic black-and-white photos he, too, had been young and impressionable, testing personas from cowboy to boy scout. I see my son in those photos, and I see my father in my son. Should he be so lucky to turn his own measure of promise into a life so fulfilled .
I’d love to know if my father had any mischievous moments or perhaps a meeting with the principal? Let’s pretend it was possible, because then I’d have hope that we might eventually depart Never-Lord-of-the-Flies-Land with innocence intact and promise to nurture. Whether we decide to grow up or we wait for rescue we will emerge having conquered the process.
Has anyone seen my immune system? I seem to have misplaced it somewhere between here and San Francisco. If you see it lying about, please send it my way. I’m desperate to have it back.
The first weekend in February I piggybacked onto a business trip of my husband’s–something I have long since dreamed of but never had done. And to San Francisco of all places– a geographic destination that had been off-limits in my college-seeking years because someone (who shall go unnamed) didn’t want me to meet a California guy and relocate there. Ooops.
Last thing I remember I was running along the Embarcadero, dining with dear friends, touring Chinatown, indulging in Ghiradelli, and not feeling guilty that my kids were nowhere in sight. But payback’s a bitch. A really large one.
I should have a t-shirt that reads: I Went to San Francisco and All I Got was Pneumonia.
I’ve emerged from the worst of it (I hope) and have kept myself busy with convalescing, taking my meds, relapsing, taking more meds, and gazing longingly at the outdoor opportunities that tease and taunt. I feel a bit like a kid with a chocolate allergy who is paraded through a candy factory. God forbid I ever endure a serious illness or debilitating injury–my whining quota has already been used up.
Here I thought moving to Southern California would render me tan, fit and delusively invincible. Such is not the case. I’m less Katy Perry’s California Gurl (daisy dukes, bikinis on top) and more There’s Something About Mary’s sun-dried neighbor (if only she wore a top).
With each sunny day that comes and goes I remind myself that there are more–plenty more– to enjoy. I’m convinced that this sun and warmth have melted my immune system, but hopefully that’s a temporary side effect of adjustment. It’s still a dream of mine to work with an organization such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation– I just have to wait until I am not so challenged myself.
Birthdays are everywhere. We all have one and we love to acknowledge it, be it with hugs and gifts or cupcakes and cards. It’s easy to celebrate our beginnings, but how do we honor the day a life became no longer? Yesterday marked the second anniversary of my father’s passing, but really it’s been years since was lost to us. The last few of which proved a lengthy good-bye to the wonderful man he had been, and his death gave us the permission to celebrate his very rich existence. Yet the grief lingered, and still creeps in from time to time, some days without warning.
Leading up to this day I wondered what I would feel, and I questioned what I could do to make it significant. When a political, cultural or religious icon meets his or her end, the day might be sanctioned as one that’s recognized locally or globally. For the rest of us, the scale of appreciation for our legacy is much, much smaller. Perhaps only a handful of us turned our thoughts to my father, each in our own way.
I enjoyed a sunrise swim (I will always remember that I ran on my dad’s deathday with a dear friend who ironically lost her dad on that day years ago), and then tended to the usual morning routine. When finished, I made a small contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association, figuring that, hey, every little bit counts: http://www.alz.org
Finally, I did what was most important in toasting my father: I bought a big, juicy chocolate chip cookie. Enjoying the serenity of the beautiful ocean view in Torrey Pines Preserve, I ate that cookie while honoring a truly exceptional person. After all, the greatest of men may have the humblest of pleasures!