Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fun breaks out

I begin by giving up any hope or plan to be linear here. Two huge, momentous, life-changing months have passed -- all good! -- and while I truly haven't had a moment until now to try to post, I began by feeling too overwhelmed about where to even begin.  That is, until I decided to just roll and not worry about laying it all out in any particular order.

It does start with Dean, as I think about it -- here, contemplating and experiencing the ocean on the entire opposite side of the country than the ocean he was exploring in my last post. Kind of neat and perfect, if I do say so.  He was accepted at all 3 high schools to which he applied, and he enthusiastically (after about a month of great reviewings and backings and forthings) chose the school we thought was pretty much made for him.  He'll be a day student there of course; I couldn't even begin to contemplate sending him to boarding school. Although I will say that the fact that it does include boarding students really appealed to all of us -- he'll get to meet and make friends with kids from throughout the US and the world. We have visions of inviting his boarding friends over for weekends and holidays when they may not be able to travel home. But that's a side story for now. The big one was just getting through the process, having him get his acceptances, and making The Decision.

And here it is, kind of all falling in time order after all, but seriously -- a day after that, the boy turned 14. Just like that. While mothers anxiously await and watch for and track and celebrate each tiny milestone of an infant, there's this astonishing, magical thing that happens at the twilight of childhood that deserves just as much attention. There's even more happening, and happening even more quickly -- growing up, literally and figuratively. All of a sudden, here's this entirely new, yet entirely familiar person emerging. Capable of so much, so wonderful to be around, so ready to bloom.

 Now is where my story is going to be gaining a kind of crazy and out-of-control speed, just so you know. And Natalie, of course, has already said so much and said it so profoundly; right after Dean's birthday we hightailed it out of town to celebrate -- both his birthday and my own -- by flying clear 'cross the country to California, and our dearest friends whom we'd never met but feel we've always known. Natalie and I met through our blogs (she figures it was 5 years ago, and I believe her), and when Ken started asking me last year about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday it didn't take me long to figure out that I really, really wanted to meet Natalie and her family in person.
We met them one day at the San Diego Zoo -- just like we were old time, all-along friends who just planned a trip together to the zoo -- and then Dean, Ken and I just kept showing up at their house and having more fun than we knew what to do with.
(In addition to meeting Natalie, we also achieved a big wish-list item of seeing real, live pandas.)

I hope that everyone who blogs, and who makes good friends through blogging, makes a point of getting out into the world to meet at least one of those friends. I can tell you that it's better than you can even imagine. For me, Natalie's friendship and the connections between our families is a gift of such magnitude that it goes beyond anything I would have dreamed of.  Usually, you know, when you make friends in your usual walk of life -- people you meet through work or your child's school or sports or your neighbors -- you certainly appreciate those friendships, and when you're lucky they last for years and years, and the friendship itself reveals itself over time and takes the kind of journey that every day life is made of (in the best possible way). It's normal stuff, is what I'm saying. And maybe we should try to stop and feel more fortunate about those connections, and honor the magic that IS in there, too. But this was something, well, special-er. 


To come face-to-face for the first time with people that you've been cheering on and learning about and getting to know online was, for me, kind of like meeting some movie star or something (but better than that, truly).  What I mean is that I felt I KNEW them all already, even though we'd never met -- it's that piece that has the kind of celebrity sighting feel to it. But these are real people who are truly our friends, and we had to figure out together how to BE friends together in person and it all just fell easily into place.

 We hiked at Torrey Pines, just as Natalie envisioned that we would. What delighted me about getting to know her in person was the opportunity to experience the things that just don't come across a computer screen, such as her wonderfully lilting, musical way of speaking. Her sparkling sense of humor is even more effervescent in person, although her humor certainly comes across in her writing.
 See? Dean just blends right in -- one of the gang. He adored all of Natalie's children, and had a particularly nice connection with Max, who is just his age.

Natalie's children adore her, they adore her wonderful husband Geoff, and they adore simply being at home. Who wouldn't, when it IS the place where fun breaks out? We hope they can come visit us someday, and/or that we get to get out there again some time.

 And then, from there, we drove north. Up to Disneyland. I will start THIS by saying that for as long as we have dreamed of visiting Walt's park, we were heartbroken to leave our friends and ultimately did have the BEST part of the trip with them.

 I would like to try to do a separate post about this part -- or maybe I'll just end up dropping in photos along the way --

 Plenty of people don't get the whole Disney thing -- the same ones who can't fathom why, if we've already been to Disney World in Florida we would want to go to Disneyland in California -- and I guess those are people who don't see the value (or haven't experienced the magic) of riding a carousel with your 14-year-old son and your altogether grown-up husband and laughing pretty much the whole time.

Sigh. I do need to go now, and make dinner, and then clean up in a spectacular way because our house is for sale. Right after we got home from our trip we called the realtor, because that new school of Dean's is fairly close to Boston, and Boston is where Ken works, and we live far enough away from Boston now that we need to move closer. We've lived in our house for 22 years, and perhaps when I tell you that there were only 3 weeks between our having that initial meeting with the realtor and today, and you imagine all that it might take to get a house ready to be on the market that has been being filled up with stuff for 22 years (and frankly not cleaned as often nor as thoroughly as it should have been) then you'll further get why I've been away from this space for so long.

I do hope to tell more of our stories, and show more of our pictures, and be back here a little more often now. Even though we've got a mountain to climb ahead of us, I feel such a weight has been lifted that's been on me for a long time. I understand where we're headed, and that was such the great unknown for so long -- and the way ahead seems so inviting and warm and wonderful. Fun will just keep breaking out.


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You know... I'll never be able to write a comment that expresses the ~happy, yet missing you, agree with everything here~ way that your words bring to my mind and heart.
(insert a double rainbow carousel ride from my home to yours, here)

Lesley said...

Aw, so wish I could have been there too!
Good luck with the coming changes, though it all seems so good and positive that you won't need any to sail through.