Cue Cheesy Barry Manilow Music

Lord, have mercy. I have been so busy. It’s taken me three days to recover from an intense weekend of people and words and activities and food and joy and music and family and such.

This is love.

Sydni graduated high school, and we finished the house more or less, at least most of the kitchen, and we fed an enormous amount of food to people who came by to celebrate and check out the new kitchen. All the kids were home. Extended family like Elijah and Travis were here. Nelson, Tony’s stepson, moved in with us. My parents generously gave all they could to make everything come together.

The weekend saw all that activity, and Sydni ended up speaking at graduation – just introducing all the speakers, but still…to see her on that podium, and remember my own graduation, when I was on the podium (salutatorian, South Grand Prairie High School, Class of 1981), and to be surrounded by all of our family cheering her on….good grief. It was powerful.

I have been aiming for this all year long. I declined the offer to be part of the PCC teaching team this year, because I knew I’d want to focus on Sydni and her final months of high school. I knew the house renovation would be long and expensive and a constant distraction. I stopped teaching piano lessons, because my family needed my focused attention. I said “no” to many things, in order to say “yes” to what mattered.

I made several changes a few months ago, leading up to this event. And yet, I still struggled through the days. It has been difficult. The transitions have chafed my heart.

But we got through it. The house has emptied out, the chaos has abated. My husband looked at me this afternoon and said, “I miss you. We need a date.”

I keep thinking of a Barry Manilow song, and go ahead and shoot me now for such ridiculously bad taste, but it is what it is, and it’s my history. I’ve got song lyrics in my head for every occasion, and this is no different. The late 70’s and early 80’s were all Barry and Billy Joel and Elton John for me. I was a sucker for the guys who played piano. Their lyrics provide the soundtrack for most of my young life, and theirs are the words I often recall, especially lately, when I look back at all my life has become in the decades since we were all young.

Barry sang:

I made it through the rain / kept my world protected
I made it through the rain / kept my point of view
I made it through the rain / and found myself respected
By the others who / got rained on, too / and made it through

What does it mean?

I really don’t know. But today, I sit at the island of the kitchen I’ve dreamed of forever, with the imprint of the smells and sounds of the ones I love already seeping in the cracks and crevices, and that recurrent phrases keeps resounding: I made it through the rain / kept my world protected.

We are safe, somehow. I am home. We made it through.

Sydni graduated. Three down, two to go.

This is grace; all but Tony and Nelson, Sydni’s entire extended family.

Speaking with poise and confidence.

Courey, David’s best bud, who lived through the weekend with us. This is just a weird photo, but it suits us…
The graduate, with the two left to go; Dan graduates in 2014, and David in 2018. Wow.

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