As I said in the last blog, I was going to the Golden Jubilee celebration for the six women in my entrance class (God only knows why we called it our “party”…it was NOT a party) Oh my, I just loved every single minute of the day. Some of us have stayed in touch over the years but there were so many people I hadn’t seen since they left the convent (back in the late sixties and early seventies) and since I left in 1974. I saw high school teachers and sisters I worked with in different schools in the diocese…old friends from Pittsfield who were still “in”…a dear, dear friend (Natalie) who I’ve known since we went to summer camp way back when I was in fifth grade. We ALL looked a lot older (duh) and most of us had had challenges in our lives….health challenges, divorces, deaths of spouses, the death of a child…It was so very good to have time to sit and share and listen and laugh and learn from these amazing women. I found myself almost in tears all day.
Smiley (Ceil) was there.
“How are you feeling?” says I.
“I’m having a lot of trouble breathing today, ” she admits. (She has congestive heart failure and seemed pretty fragile) “But otherwise, I’m fine.”
“How about the arthritis? I ask. “Hows’ the pain?”
“Oh, yeah,” she says. “That too. I forgot.”
Forgot about pain??? Who IS this woman??? 93 years old, in a wheelchair when she goes out and she still makes supper every night.
What can I say? Part of the trip nearly drained every bit of energy out of me. My poor mom is in rough shape. Also 93 but confused and frightened and angry and frustrated. My sister, Eileen and I saw her almost every day we were in town and she never remembered from one day to the other that we had been there the day before. That part was hard. And I know this…I do not want to end my days this way. Will I have a choice? Do any of us? Lord, it’s scary to think of becoming really, really, really old (as opposed to just “old”) Scary? Nope, it’s terrifying! (Just breathe, Mary, just breathe)
But my dad and stepmom were such fun. We went to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge (that place never gets old) and besides the great Rockwell paintings, Eileen and I collapsed laughing over the Roz Chast exhibit. That is one very funny lady. And Eileen’s grandchildren were down for the weekend from Vermont..two sweet little ones that we need to get together with my Texans. And I got together with friends several different evenings…amazing how I could head out to meet them feeling totally exhausted and be complete rejuvenated after a few minutes of talking and laughing and a glass of wine. And the siblings got together…had a lot of laughs. We are a crazy crew.
So now I’m home but on Thursday, Jerry and I are off again…this time to Texas to babysit for the Littles while their mom and dad go to a wedding in New England and have a quick trip to NYC. Can’t wait. I’m reading stories to each of their classes (kindergarten, second and fourth) and doing a mini-lesson in fourth on writing a personal narrative (I think I know how to do that) The biggest challenge will be making sure the kids get to soccer and baseball practices and games, swim team practice, piano lessons and CCD –oh and to school with everything they need. It’s a bit (a bit??) intimidating but hey, we’ll give it our best shot. How hard can it be? Erin does it every day. Just give me the schedule and a GPS (and pray the kids can roll with it if we make a few mistakes) and we’ll be fine. (I’ll let you know how it goes!)