I miss my dad every day.and sometimes the emotions fill my gut. He was the best.
Today I discovered something about myself. It is something I had never put in place until my niece asked me if I was coming to the graduation tonight. My first thought was Oh my God, so many people. I was so repelled at the idea of the crowds attending the event I actually started to stress out. I was so conflicted because of my deep affection for my great-nephew and how put off I was by the amount of people expected.
When did I become this way?
I’ve always said I hated going to movie theaters because of the germs that linger after humans are there. Going into a theater to me was nasty. Was it really just the germs or the amount of humans around me? I am repulsed by the thought of the germy seat handles and bathrooms, but did this go hand in hand with the humanity that fills the seats?
I like watching football-professional, college all of it. For a few years my husband and I had season tickets for the Arizona Wildcats games, but I found each year after the first couple of games I didn’t want to go anymore. Was it the crowds jammed into the stadiums? We dropped the tickets.
I started to consider this with the anxiety I felt when we were at Disneyland. I calmed so much when the crowds cleared out on Christmas Eve. When the crowds filled the park on Christmas Day all I wanted was to get away from the people.
In school I was always shy of walking into rooms of people. Yet, I enjoyed being in front of an audience singing or in a play. There was a separation between me and them. I enjoy being with my friends and family and I’ve held some pretty good size parties at my house, yet once the house or yard fills I get anxious. My husband has noted this reaction. I won’t stop having parties because I love to entertain. I am good alone or with a few people. I enjoy conversation and a shared meal. Say a dinner party situation with a table full of people, food and wine. This works for me.
When did this happen? It’s an interesting discovery about myself.
There was a party at my house last Saturday night. It was a pretty big party and one I notified the neighbors about so they would be prepared for the traffic, people, noise and a yard full of lights. But this wasn’t my party. I wasn’t the host. I was essentially the venue.
My great-nephew Kristopher (see My Graduate) is graduating from high school and his parents threw his party at my house. They made the plans, bought the supplies and food and spent the time stringing up a mile of lights around my house. Tables and chairs filled the back yard and food/beverage tables were set up on the back porch deck. A jumping castle that could hold adults was set up in the front yard (fondly called the football field) was a dead giveaway there was something happening here to passing vehicles.
I was the venue. It was also my gift. I have this big place that Kristopher, along with his siblings, grew up coming here. It was an interesting dynamic for me not being the host. I am a pretty good party planner and most people enjoy a party at my place. But this was about Kristopher and his parents. Indeed, there was family I am related to and mutual friends in attendance, but I found a balance helping my niece with the steady refilling of food dishes and running interference when something needed attention so she could spend time with her guests.
A day later and the only signs of a party are the full garbage cans ready for Wednesday’s collection and the occasional glow necklace or bracelet in the grass. My home is at peace now, gathering energy for the next party, my own or otherwise. I’m open.
I was at Tucson International Airport last week to pick up my husband who was flying in from North Dakota and I took the opportunity to do some people watching. I love to people watch. It was late Wednesday afternoon and the airport was pretty slow. I found his flight on the arrival/departure board and sat down to wait the 30 minutes until his arrival.
One of the first things I noticed was this gathering of around ten people, some of them had a balloon bouquet that said “Welcome Back.” It was obvious they were together. I started to imagine it might be a returning soldier, but I didn’t see any flags, so maybe not. What I did notice was that every few minutes someone else would show up, get hugged by the others and settle into the little community. It seemed there were now about thirty people gathered in one spot. Who were these folks?
Out of the blue this voice pierces the air. “There he is!” And just like that they were chattering, bouncing and hugging, again. I watched the escalator just like everyone else, ready to see “him”. Who was the human who could bring all of these people together just to greet him and welcome him home?
I caught a brief glimpse as the humans swarmed him. He was a baby faced, fair haired young man who was clasped tightly by someone I could only imagine was his mother in a strong embrace. The fair haired young man and his mother held each other, in tears, in a hug that seemed to last five minutes. No one interrupted them and cell phones were busy. I was so moved by this display of love I had to look away to gather myself.
What did this mean? He was dressed in a black suit, with a name badge on his chest. There were family and friends with lots of tears and smiles. The comments from them were welcome back, good job, and we are so proud of you. Ok, putting all of these clues together, the fair haired young man was just back from a Mormon mission.
This congregation moved to the baggage claim area and I continued my people watching. Fifteen more minutes until Chuck’s arrival.
Humans were milling about, waiting for passengers and biding their time. I looked up to see a beautiful young woman in a pale green dress holding the hand of a little girl and carrying a sign saying “Welcome Home Daddy”. I can figure this one out! The little girl was obviously anxious and the beautiful mother was trying to keep her daughter calmed. They approached the escalators to wait and I looked up when “Daddy!” rang loudly through the area as only a child’s excited voice can. The little girl ran into her fathers open arms. His grin was broad as he gathered her up, wrapping both arms snugly around her. There was lots of kissing and hugging with these two.
I was charmed. I was a daddy’s girl.
Then beautiful the mother and the handsome father got their own kisses and hugs in and the whole family held tight to one another as they went to the baggage claim.
I sat again and looked at the monitor displaying the disembarking passengers just in time to notice my husband in his navy blue long sleeved Arizona Wildcats t-shirt, his go-to travel dress, heading my way. I got my own hug and kiss and as we left the airport I told him all about the people waiting just like me.