Saturday, June 28, 2014

Final Plans.

When do you start talking about final plans? You know the end is inevitable, and statistically for most people even predictable. So, why is it so hard to make final plans?

Could it be that we are really not good at these things?
Could it be that we so fear our own ending that even contemplating it abstractly causes anxiety and fear?
Could it be that we are not programmed to think about sad endings?

I wonder how many people have their final plans all wrapped up and in a safe place.
We, hubby and I, have gone as far as writing a will and choosing/paying for a cemetery plot. We have medical directives with our doctors and we carry the same with us to and from hospitals. We spoke to our children about all this; but they, as most young people, didn't really want to hear anything.
How many other people our age have gone this far? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Graduate Every Day.

I have never felt more grounded as I feel now.
Golden days arrive as small surprises rather than big storms, in a grandchild's ebullient smile, in the play of shadows and colors I notice often as I am able to take a leisurely walk in the front yard, in the admiration I feel for the gift my granddaughter has been. My own children receiving gifts, and giving gifts.

These moments are both temporary and long in coming.
They are surprises and hopes anticipated for a lifetime.
And unlike big events like graduations and weddings, they may be forgotten tomorrow.
Yet, these are the moments that truly grace our human soul; these are the moments that tell us how beautiful and rich our lives are.

And we appreciate them simply because we see the end of our path approaching, a milestone that will be our last one.

We think of graduations as stepping off one stage and climbing up on another, all the while full of hope, cussedness, confidence. Each moment in the limelight feels like something we are entitled to, the fanfare, the adulation, the perfect rhythm of life just aligned for our pleasure. We hardly know anything about the stage we leave behind before entering another.

Life is full of mileposts, first graduation, first love, first marriage, first job, first child, first illness, first loss....

Each milepost allows us a day in the sun when the concert goes off without a hitch; when sights and sound, weather and transportation, food and entertainment all are delivered with a masterful hand as augury for an occasion everyone looks forward to.

Never do we think that  mileposts were also mothers' and fathers' and teachers' mileposts. They took all the right steps, paid all the costs, smoothed all the paths so these mileposts became full celebrations for us.

As I enjoy the smiles and giggles of a new grandchild, the beauty and talent of a graduating granddaughter, the gift of family, at these moments, aware of the intricacies of connections and experiences, I'm appreciative of all the gifts I have been bestowed in my lifetime.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Getting Away

Retirement is different things to different people.
Hubby and I did not know what we wanted for our golden years. We never talked about it during our working years, too busy to keep everything else straight and on task. The one thing we had agreed on was that if we moved away from our children,  the place had to appeal to them too, so they'd drop by and spend time with us.

We wanted to downsize and simplify our lives.
We wanted fewer possessions to go along with fewer needs.
We wanted solitude and natural beauty.

 We could not afford Malibu, or its neighboring suburbs. We actually started out in the hills of Malibu, visiting those beautiful beaches every weekend we could getaway. When we looked for a place to relocate, Malibu and all other towns in California were out of our reach.

So, we kept going North, as in moving to Oregon.

The greenery and the remoteness became very attractive. Hubby commented that it felt like "going home" for him, a child of the Northwest for most of his formative years. I had never seen so much greenery; so many rivers and forests and unspoiled beaches. I did not know people could exist in such tiny hamlets.

We kept looking for a place that would feel like a vacation spot.  We took many pictures on our first foray, and back home, we shared  these vistas with our grown children and friends. We became the envy of everyone even before we retired.

Yes, indeed, we were satisfied with our quest for a vacation place that everyone would love to come and visit us.
Only, to reach us, our children and friends had a long way to go.
Too long.
Long enough that dropping in unannounced would never be the case.

After twelve years, we still love our place. Only, our children don't come up to visit us that often; and we do miss seeing them. We got what we wanted at a price we didn't know we had to pay.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh What a Night...

Instead of watching Jeopardy last night, I drove to Pacific High School Auditorium, where the graduation stage and chairs were still lined up from last Friday's eve event, this time to celebrate the end of the school year with Driftwood Elementary Band. I almost didn't go. After all, the school had hired a new music teacher just last fall, and there had not really been a band in the past years.

Our Song Along the Driftwood Shore
We are pleased to present a selection of vocal and instrumental pieces with a special performance media presentation.

They, k-8 students, rocked the house last night, from ballet movements of the lower grades to a jazzy band of the upper grades who could play  anything given them, including a piece they wrote, arranged and expertly "taught" the audience how they put the piece together.
Many children had  solo parts, both as presenters and as performers.

The talented  piano/voice of Nathan Malamud received special recognition.

Would you believe these band members have only been practicing together for one year?

 Way to go, Driftwood.

 The house was filled with families and community members like myself, enjoying the dances, the music, and even a film written, acted, and produced by the 4th/5th grade media class.

Kudos to the performers and to Mr Morganti, the music teacher and director of all productions, who harnessed the talent and imagination of the children through hard work, practice and sheer joy that comes when a job is well done and shared easily.

Indeed! Every child was enjoying himself/herself, and family members beamed the whole time. I felt transported to the times my own children were young and in school productions. But this performance didn't take place in a big school, with a big budget and hundreds of parents with special skills.

I close with a quote from Mr. Morganti on the back of the program:
"...We have found Port Orford to be a warm, honest place that values quality education for its young people..."

Our thanks to Mr. Morganti, staff and support groups, who value education and their young people to see that the arts and all academic areas are of high quality.