Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving and beyond

It's been a most interesting week.  An absurd amount of snow dumped on the area south of Buffalo (and South Buffalo) last week.  Almost 7 feet in some towns and villages.  That's an entire winter's worth of snow in 72 hours or so.    And while the worst of the snow is behind them, there will be high winds and unseasonable warmth tomorrow and Tuesday, which could lead to intense flooding when all of that snow melts in record time just as it fell in record time.    We hold our collective breath and wait .  

How will this affect our Thanksgiving?  For me personally, I am thinking of it as just one piece of the big picture of my daughter's final year of college.   So far we have experienced:  the final dorm move-in, the final Parents' Weekend and now, as I type this, the final Thanksgiving Break.  Here's the thing: I know that wherever she lands after graduation, I can vow to visit her as often as possible, but life has a funny way of getting in the way of vows such as these.  I saw this when my brother's kids moved South while he was still working full time.    No pun intended, I will give it the "old college try", but I have to be realistic about the frequency of our visits.   There will be no more convenient school breaks.   It will be the next chapter of our lives, the inevitable progression of life, blah, blah, blah ...  So, I ask for pardon and patience as I am tending to approach these school breaks with even more sentiment and more of a sense of importance than usual.   I spent a good chunk of last week being unreasonably worried about the people I know who were trapped by this behemoth storm, defending Buffalo's good name on Facebook and focusing with laser attention on the effect that all of this might have on my daughter's flight into town on Friday.  I'm afraid that this might sound awfully self-centered to some people, but I am embracing that and accepting it.  My daughter will never have another Senior Year in college.

I am thankful this year for the health and well-being of my friends who survived the storm - SNOWVEMBER - as it is now called.   I am thankful that we are the people who we are here in Western New York, where a gang of over 200 people armed with shovels called themselves "The Shovel Brigade" and converged on South Buffalo to help dig out the unfortunate citizens still trapped in their homes.  This is just one example of the type of citizenry that inhabits these parts.

I am thankful for my family who used my 50th birthday to show me just exactly what I mean to them.  I am still overwhelmed when I think about that party.  I can only hope to continue to deserve this level of devotion and to be able to demonstrate it in return.

I am thankful for my best friend.   Since Thanksgiving last year, some things have happened that have tested our friendship.   What I have learned from these experiences is that we have radically different ways of dealing with high-stress and big-anger situations.  I must learn to give her space and room to digest her anger by herself, within herself.   In return, I hope she understands that my way of dealing with tough situations is to immediately discuss, discuss, discuss until I can visualize a pathway to a solution.  This is the only way I can stop my brain from processing the situation over and over and over - interrupting sleep, work etc.. and that if she takes too much time for introspective thought, I just might explode!    I am thankful that we were able to flush these things out.   While we have so much in common, are connected in so many ways, it is good to have some differences to keep us on our toes.

Mostly, some interesting things have happened since last Thanksgiving that cause me now to be thankful for being the 50-year old me rather than the 25-year old me.   I am thankful for the wisdom that comes with age.  A gift that can never be taken away!

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