Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

Counting My Blessings October 21, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family — beautifulride @ 7:32 am
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Yesterday, I gathered with members of my family to say goodbye to one of our own. Yesterday, I gathered with members of my family to offer a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, arms to embrace. Yesterday, I gathered with members of  my family to share memories, tears, and laughter. It was where I needed to be; it  was, as it always is, a reminder of how blessed I am to be part of this family.

Growing up, my life was full of aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents—noise and chaos, visits and traditions, weekly rituals centered around church and family, food and drink, and laughter and love. I loved being part of a close-knit crazy clan! My father had an older brother and my mother had a younger sister. They each had three children, two boys and a girl. My cousins on Dad’s side were just a few years older than us; on Mom’s side,  just a few years younger. My older cousins lived very close, and we all went to the same church, so we saw each other often. We would sit together, sometimes needing two pews, sometimes getting piercing looks from our grandmother up in the choir loft because we were giggling, which would just make us giggle more. After church we would walk to Grandma and Grandpa Hessert’s house and the grown-ups would have beer and wine, and the kids would have soda and pretzels and crackers. There was laughter and fighting and fun…and I looked forward to those moments.

My Mom’s family lived in Harrisburg, about an hour and a half away. Oddly enough, her sister’s husband and my Dad were childhood friends, before my Mom and my Aunt even moved to town, intertwining our extended families even more. We would go to Harrisburg very often to visit my Nanny Moore, and those visits always included dinners at Aunt Judy and Uncle Chip’s, playtime with my younger cousins, and more noise and chaos and laughter. Sunday mornings in Harrisburg meant worship at their church, where my Uncle was the pastor. It was the same ritual as home…sitting with cousins and giggling, walking next door after services to visit and eat. I loved it. And they would visit us in Williamsport as well, since my Uncle’s family lived near us, so we spent much time together.

As we grew older and went here and there for college, we would still try and get together as often as possible.  I would take the train to visit my Nanny, and my cousin Mike would pick me up at the train station or my cousin Mary would sleep over at Nanny’s with me. I would catch a ride with my cousin Buddy and go home to Williamsport and my older cousin Debbie would sneak away from work and we would visit for hours. We always remained close…even as the time between visits spread out  because life got busy…we would still connect as if no time had passed at all.

Throughout the years we would all come together…for confirmations, weddings, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, and yes, funerals. We would laugh until we cried, and cry until we laughed. And the bond was always there. That sense of family and belonging and connection. I think we have 16 babies between us, ranging in age from about 6 to 25. And now one of the babies is having a baby. We have welcomed husbands and wives…if you love one of us, you are loved by all of us. And of course, we have lost. We have lost our grandparents, some of us have lost parents, some of us have lost spouses, some of us have lost a sibling, and some of us have lost a cousin, an aunt, or an uncle.  And it is in these losses, these most trying and difficult times, that I am most proud of who we are. I know that I will never have to cry alone, that I will never have to walk alone, that I will never have to face the unthinkable alone. As we stood around my cousin Michael and his children, Christopher and Kimberly yesterday, I hope they felt that too.  As Cheryl bravely fought her battle with cancer, I hope she felt it. She loved them, and that was all we ever needed to love her. She was, and will remain, one of our own, one of our family, one of our blessings.


Falling Back into a Rhythm… October 14, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home — beautifulride @ 7:46 am
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Well, I was going to write a back to school blog…about six weeks ago! The problem with writing a back to school blog is that it’s only appropriate at the beginning of the school year, and if you are lucky enough to have more than one child, in more than one school, with more than one extracurricular activity..well, let’s just say, that back to school blog is never going to make its way to becoming an actual post.

And now…well, back to school seems a bit outdated. We are deep into the extracurricular activities and, judging by the cool, crisp  morning, we are moving deep into the fall season. Autumn is a lovely time here in the Northeast. Most of the days offer chilly mornings and evenings as bookends to warm, sunny afternoons. The air is free of humidity, the sky is full of blue, and all around are the gorgeous changing colors of the leaves.  As the heat and humidity of the summer fade away, everyone seems to have a renewed spring in their step…busily preparing the hearth and home for the long dark winter.

Back to school and the fall season seem to put the lazy days of summer back on a schedule. Life seems to “get back to normal.” Those of us with children move back into school-mode. Our days are full of Monday-Friday routines–getting up, getting to school, getting to the homework and the daily activities, getting to bed at a reasonable hour…and then getting up and doing it all over again. Everyone seems to slide back into the groove of everyday life. And schedules and routines are good things. As children, we thrive on them…and as adults, well, I think we complain about them, but secretly, I think we are comforted by the predictable rhythm they bring to our lives. Sure it’s great to mix it up every now and again…to try something different or take a few days off…but I believe we like the “order” provided by our daily, scheduled moments. We just need to make sure we don’t get too set in our ways. As usual, it’s all about balance. The order of the week can lead to the spontaneity of the weekend. I look forward to the beauty and joy of autumn weekends–full of  football games, marching bands, mums, apples, pumpkin patches and corn field mazes–they are a fine distraction from the everyday, but those who know me well know that I like order…everything in it’s place…(of course, ask me again in the spring when I’ve had my fill of getting the kids up for school and one more “science project” or end-of-the-year concert will push me right over the edge!)

How do you find the balance between order and routine and falling into a rut? It’s a tricky balancing act, but when you find it…that rhythm that is your own, it’s a calm and beautiful thing. So don’t feel “boring” because you like the predictable moments of your life…just don’t forget to “schedule” something a little different every now and then…keep moving through life, changing like the colors of the leaves…what develops is a beautiful thing…a beautiful ride!