Sunday, May 17, 2015


Family Gatherings

Last night was Nate's 9th birthday party. At the rink where he plays hockey.

Since I adore that kid, I would't be anywhere else, of course, but sometimes I take a step back from my life and look at events from an outsider's perspective.

A pretty odd habit, to be sure, but how can you truly see the sweetness, the craziness, the moments of pure joy and incomprehensible longing if you don't take yourself out of the picture?

It is my photographer's eye, I think, that wants me to focus sharply, and to pay attention to all the elements in the frame.  So it is that I bring you Nathan's birthday party, as seen from the black and gold helium balloons that floated silently above the scene.

Nathan is joyous and loving and silly and all boy, head to toe. He is having a marvelous time, and is oblivious to anything but the fun around him. His smile lights up the room, and his laughter is everywhere. He is surrounded by buddies and the inside jokes and laughing insults and gross out humor is flowing freely.

He makes me smile.

And that's saying something because this is one of those situations that tests my fortitude and grace. In addition to my son Michael and his wife and older son Brendan, I am surrounded by my ex-husband, his wife, their son and his family, and Sharon's father, the 97 year old Herman who has recently been released from the hospital (again). I like Herman, and he's an interesting old dude, but it hurts to see him failing a little more each time I see him.

Aside from a few parents of the dozen kids in attendance, the other adults in the party room at the rink are my daughter-in-law's parents -- divorced now and still studiously avoiding one another even in small venues like this one. My other son and his family are not in attendance, so I'm pretty much left to entertain myself.

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