The days between this post and the last one have flown by on the wings of everyday errands and mundane activities, but those days also contained a couple of special events:
Revisiting the past:
In the '80s and '90s I worked for 17 years for a company founded by the father of Alison, whose blog, Inspired Work of Self-Indulgence, was the first one I ever read. In fact, I found her blog in a Google search for her father's name in 2005, after a couple of former co-workers had called to let me know of his death. It was Alison's open, honest writing that inspired me to begin writing a blog of my own, although it took me nearly a year to gather the courage to try it.
Alison's father was an inspirational leader, loved and respected by all who knew him. The Louisiana branch of the company he founded is still very active, and once a year, near the founder's birthday, he is honored posthumously by a celebration in memory of the exceptional human being that he was.
This year Alison invited me to go with her. I was hesitant at first, reluctant to crash the party of people I hadn't seen in nearly 14 years, but Alison assured me I'd be welcome.
And, when the hour arrived, I felt welcome. There were still people there who had worked there when I did, and it felt like a homecoming to be in their midst again. There were big smiles, hugs, and plenty of old stories retold to new laughter.
I enjoyed spending time with Alison (who didn't stress out about the dog hair Butch got on her pants), and appreciate her invitation and encouragement to accompany her to this event. It was a special occasion I'll remember for a long time.
In what has become a family tradition over the past few years, we celebrated Mother's Day at my daughter Kelli's house, feasting on boiled crawfish and basking in a whole lot of love. I don't know if Kim and Kelli realize that just having them in my life makes me feel special every day and that Mother's Day, for me, is more meaningful only because it makes me stop and reflect on how rich they have made my life.
When our family gathers, when I'm able to sit back and watch the interactions of my children, grandchildren, their assorted spouses, and that one small great-grandson, my heart feels so full that I think it might burst. They're kind to each other. They crack jokes, but not mean ones, and they have each other's backs. They're good people, and I'm so, so proud of them.
The genealogist in me can't resist pointing out that there were four generations of family members at our Mother's Day gathering this year, including three generations of mothers. More than I love delving into the history of our ancestors, and I do love that, I love watching our family expand, watching people I loved in their infancy grow up, create full lives for themselves as adults, and, in some cases, have babies of their own. The sense of continuity thrills me.
One young family member is currently pregnant with her first child. She and her husband have decided they don't want to know the sex of the baby until it's born, and the announcement of that decision prompted me to send her a link to a beautiful song that fits their situation. You can hear it on YouTube here:
Marc Cohn - The Things We've Handed Down.
Or, if you'd rather read the words than listen to them, here are the lyrics:
The Things We've Handed Down
by Marc Cohn
Don't know much about you
Don't know who you are
We've been doing fine without you
But we could only go so far
Don't know why you chose us
Were you watching from above
Is there someone there that knows us
Said we'd give you all our love
Will you laugh just like your mother
Will you sigh like your old man
Will some things skip a generation
Like I've heard they often can
Are you a poet or a dancer
A devil or a clown
Or a strange new combination of
The things we've handed down
I wonder who you'll look like
Will your hair fall down and curl
Will you be a mama's boy
Or daddy's little girl
Will you be a sad reminder
Of what's been lost along the way
Maybe you can help me find her
In the things you do and say
And these things that we have given you
They are not so easily found
But you can thank us later
For the things we've handed down
You may not always be so grateful
For the way that you were made
Some feature of your father's
That you'd gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us
And say that you were cursed
But over time that line has been
Extremely well rehearsed
By our fathers and their fathers
In some old and distant town
From places no one here remembers
Come the things we've handed down