Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year: Your Next Chapter Begins

     As I have spent the last few days reflecting on the past, I have pondered about many of the gifts I am most grateful for and why. At the top of my list has been one of the gifts my parents gave me that was just a matter of course, of every day living, but was so very valuable to the foundation of my well being.
     My parents have always been communicators, storytellers, and have spared no details of the good, the bad, the hopeful, or hopeless situations of life. I can remember from a young age being told the story of how they met. For the record-it was at The Shamrock. The funny part about this-that was a local bar hang out in GR in the mid 1960s and if you know my mother-she is practically a teetotaler.
     I know by heart how my dad ended up in the Air Force, his misadventures in basic training, and what he did and where he was stationed. I also know how it was due to being in the service that he was not able to make it home for his father's funeral and just how real the sacrifice is by all those who work to serve and protect the citizens of this country.
     I also know and love the details of my parents' wedding. They were married the day after one of the saddest days in our nation's history-the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My dad's brother, my beloved Uncle Bob, was my dad's best man. He was also a GR police officer. All officers were on call due to the potential for riots across the country, so my uncle's car was pulled right up by the open windows of the church so he could hear his radio during the ceremony, so I have been told.
     And the most important part of this sharing of the history of our lives as a family through storytelling was the fact that my parents also told me my own story; of how I was born very sickly and prematurely, of how my grandmothers came to visit me at the hospital, how they knew my cry above the cries of all the healthy babies as they could hear me gasping for air from down the hall as I tried to wail in my isolette, and of how I was released too soon to be cared for at home. And all the difficulty that caring for me was in the year that followed. There is a good reason that there is five years between me and my next sibling.
     The importance of this communication is that it taught me how my story intersected with that of my family and community. It instilled in me a sense of belonging and being a valuable part of the communities that intersected with our lives. This helped lay a healthy foundation for me when it became time for me to take responsibility for the telling of my own story and figuring out how my story fits and compliments the stories of all other people that I interact with.
     I am forever grateful that my parents helped me develop this sense of belonging and this desire to tell and learn my own story and learn of and from the stories of everyone I encounter. I am again excited for this turning of the page of the calender, for this calling of the new year and new opportunities to figure out what is next in my story, your story, and our story.
     It is sometimes in the small, every day moments that interesting things happen. I revel in the details of  the small stories. I am already fortunate to have one to add to my collection for the new year.
     As my brother and I were about to leave a party last night, I experienced an amazing moment. Some background: My car is 12 years old. I am hoping that we are in a very long term, committed relationship. As sometimes happens over time, things have been a bit bumpy for us lately. The car has required some up keep and has had some irregular moments as it ages.
      The key fob quit working years ago. A few weeks ago the driver's side lock on the door also quit working. It became necessary for me to first unlock the passenger door, then flip the interior lock, and then walk around and open my door and get in to the car to drive away. This was not a big deal when getting groceries as I generally dump the bags in the front seat, but at work it was awkward to me to have to engage in this routine.
     I managed to get the door lock repaired just before the holiday and was quite pleased with that. At least I was able to use the key on both doors now. I went to insert the key in driver side door lock last night when all of a sudden all the locks were sprung open. I looked to my brother who was grinning rather smugly. I was stunned as I wondered where he had learned this magic.
     It was then he showed me the key and fob. It had been laying by a scattering of books and papers at my parents house earlier in the day on the floor by my mother's chair. He picked it up, saw that it said Ford on it and wondered if it went to my car.
     It did. I had thought I gave a spare to my mother over a decade ago, but she had never been able to find it. And suddenly, yesterday, there it was. It is a small, strange thing. It will bring me a lot of ease and happiness this winter to have it back. Where it has been and how it ended up there on their floor at that moment is hard to say. I just know you never know what may be a key element in the telling of your story. Here is hoping for many interesting moments for storytelling for us all in 2013!

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