I haven’t been too consistent of blogging this summer….seems that it just passed us by so quickly.  Now, it is back to school again.  Sam turned 16, is staring her junior year of high school.  Hard to believe the summer has now passed and we are on to the school schedule.   Tom, Sam and I spent a lot of time at the beach this year…swimming, soaking up the sunshine and trying to take a little quiet time and work less this summer.

One day, we took off to LaJolla Shores to beat the heat and humidity at our house.  I had cleaned out the car, so forgot that we didn’t have our beach chairs when we got to the shore.  Nonetheless, we had towels and a beach blanket and the shores is part  grass, and lots of trees and benches.  We had our picnic basket and just looked forward to a nice afternoon.  I really did think that Tom would be ok just sitting on the blanket.  However, that would only be a fleeting moment for our beach afternoon.  Once I struggled to get him down on his knees and then to sit down, I realized that his body still just doesn’t work like it did before.  He could not sit upright and kept falling over, was uncomfortable and annoyed.  We tried sitting up hill, laying down, but nothing worked.   So I again, struggled to lift him up off the ground and see if we could find a bench in the shade, or a tree branch he could sit on.  As we searched, I could see people looking at us.  No one moving over on  a bench to give him some space,  and as we went tree branch to tree branch trying to find a comfortable place for him to sit in the shade and relax,  and to each a sandwich, no one offered to help.  Only stares.   I really thought that we should just leave.  Sam was also frustrated, not really being able to help.  I was frustrated.  Hot, sweating and ready to leave.  I wanted to scream out to those staring…”would anyone of you please help me lift him up?”  But I didn’t.   Then, a very nice older man, came over, bringing his beach chair over and told me he was going to swim for an hour and he would be grateful if Tom would sit in his chair.  Only on one condition, that we wait until he gets back from his swim, so he could help me get Tom up out of the chair.   His nice gesture rearranged my heart that day.  There are still good people out there willing to lend a hand.   We sat there until he returned, and as promised, he helped  Tom out of his chair.   But for one hour, Tom was relaxed leaning back in the chair, Sam was swimming and I could sit and relax.


It is these times, that I realize how different our life is and sometimes just the simplest activity can be a sense of frustration for all of us.  That day, I thought you can really gulp down a lot of seawater trying to change the tides.  Trying  to change the situation.   Wise people tell us all to live in the present.  Be here now.  Toe to toe with each moment as it arrives.  And yet, sometimes I  want the past thinking I could have changed the outcome.  It is somehow looking for that  missing puzzle piece that may have changed things or made some sense of the puzzle that is now our life.  That beach  weekend, I think I had a trail of Kleenex that could stretch to the moon.  Tears for Tom, for the frustration, for the kindness of one individual that made our day better.  Frustration for trying to do something fun that turned into a huge frustration for us all.

I am still sad at times in the morning knowing that everything starts over for Tom each day.  You can’t help but feel a bit of sadness.  Seeing the confusion in his eyes and not knowing where to go.  But I know how to start over now and I know I can do it as many times and I need until I get it right for Tom, for me and for Sam.  I am also too aware that the biggest challenges and decisions of our lives lie ahead.  I feel a little worried about that but I also feel slightly prepared.  We have been through so much.   We have through all this found a little balance.  I am not sure how.   We have just evolved as a family.  An evolved life does require balance.  Sometimes a serious experience balances everything else.  I don’t really know.  The balance we have to have is having some laughter and happiness through the frustration.   However, those are hard to come by because anything can disrupt the intent.  Maybe at some advanced age, we get the gift of being happy regardless of our real circumstances.  Or maybe, just maybe,where things are right now got a whole lot easier to take regardless.   Life comes at full throttle.  There are no earplugs, no safe distances…everything is constant, high volume.  All the complications of our world vibrating all the time…with little down time.  Makes me wish I was tougher and didn’t feel so vulnerable to all things all the time.  Anything can happen and I have to be prepared.   I don’t think I am tough more than I am just resilient.  I have to be or I won’t be able to survive.  You have to really know that you have to stop being despaired about what you don’t have any longer and cherish what you have.  That is the key.  That is resilience.   Sam has also learned it.   The impossible hope of parenthood is to shield your child from pain, from disappointment and from uncaring people.  But that is part of life.  Sam has learned more in the past 5 years than most will learn in all their life about pain and disappointment but also about how good people can be.  She saw it firsthand that day and was grateful.