Bill gave us this Sibling Assignment:
I’m thinking about Christy’s recent trip to Priest Lake, Carol’s recent trip to Seattle, and my recent trip to Eugene. Let’s all describe and write about an unexpected pleasure each of us experienced on these trips.
Recently I took a trip over to Seattle. My friend Tina had moved there last fall, and I had been wanting to take some time to visit her. I had asked my friend Kellee to go over with me, but she was unable to go the weekend I could go. But another friend Brenda was able to go, and we had the bonus of not only visiting Tina, but another of our KHS Class of 1981 classmates as well, Karla.
Myself, Brenda, Karla and Tina
After living all over the world as a military wife, Brenda and her husband now live in the Spokane Valley. I drove over Friday morning and picked her up, and we drove all across the state of Washington, and reconnected. That was the first unexpected pleasure about my trip.
Brenda and I were friends in high school, but didn’t do a whole lot of things together. We have seen each other very sporadically over the last 37 years since we graduated from high school. But on this trip, we spend about 10 hours with each other driving to and from Seattle, and we got to catch up.
What a fascinating life Brenda has led, living all over the United States and in Germany. Her husband was in the Air Force, and they lived in Alaska, Mississippi, Illinois, Washington D.C., Colorado and Germany. I am sure there were other places, but these are the ones that I remember. The raised three daughters during this time, and now her daughters are all grown up and married, and living in different parts of the country.
Brenda is a great story teller, and she had stories from every one of the places they lived and the one thing I loved hearing, as she told her stories, was that she stayed true to who she was. She didn’t try to be someone she wasn’t. I so appreciated that about her.
The second unexpected surprise was the beautiful area in Seattle where Tina lives, and what a wonderful life she is making for herself in Seattle. She is a social worker and works all over the area. She lives in the Magnolia district which is a wonderful part of Seattle. I loved how she walked us around her new neighborhood, and that this is what she now gets to experience. And that she gets to spend time with her oldest daughter Abby, who also lives in Seattle. I like the changes that have happened for Tina, and I like how she is embracing her life in Seattle.
The third unexpected surprise was going the next day and spending the night with my friend Karla at her home in Lake Stevens, and meeting some of her friends. What a beautiful home her and her husband Terry have in Lake Stevens. And they live very close to their daughter and grandchildren, and are very active grandparents. They seem to have a really wonderful life and I loved to hear stories of them leaving the Silver Valley, and starting their life in the Seattle area and the different places and things they did, and where they are now.
My unexpected surprised all centered around reconnections with people, and hearing their stories. I loved hearing each and every story Brenda, Tina and Karla had to share about their lives they live now, and the lives they lived that brought them to this point in their life. Stories are so wonderful. I feel like I draw closer to people when they share with me their stories. It helps me understand them. It adds to the person I am becoming as well.
And the four of us were able to create our own story and memory that weekend, and I hope we have more stories and memories together in the future.
Christy gave us this sibling assignment: " We are approaching the one year anniversary of Mom's Celebration of Life. Reflect on life with our mother."
Getting To Know Mom Through Another Lens
I feel like I really didn’t see Mom for who she really was until I was an adult.
Is this typical?
Mom was mom. It was almost as if I didn’t notice her personal qualities. Her characteristics. Her passions. Her personality.
I think the first time I was surprised by Mom doing something was after my first daughter Molly was born. All of a sudden, Mom is being playful and rolling around on the floor, trying to get Molly to roll over. I don’t think I had ever noticed this playful side of Mom before.
When we moved back to Kellogg 18 years ago, I feel like I learned a lot about Mom through other people’s eyes. When I would be out and about in the community, people would always ask about Mom, and how she was doing. She had just finished up chemotherapy for breast cancer, and was also doing radiation at the time we moved back here, so people were concerned about her.
People would share with me stories about Mom. They shared how they loved her sense of humor. They shared how she was one of their favorite teachers. They shared about the fun they had with her when they attended an event together.
The stories went on and on. And I started seeing Mom in a different light. I started seeing these qualities in Mom for myself. I started enjoying her sense of humor. I started enjoying going to events with her. I learned all kinds of things from my mom.
I am fortunate to have lived in the same town as Mom for the last 17 years of her life. I am glad my daughters were able to spend time with her as well. They all hold special memories they spent with Grandma Mary.
This experience has made me more conscious of sharing my love of people with their family members. Often we see people through a different lens than family members do, and sharing our love and joy of their loved one may help them see them in a different light, and strengthen that bond.
Because that is what happened to me….over and over and over again.
Bill gave us this Sibling Assignment: When we were in high school, we had Homecoming every fall. Write about something you recall about one of your three high school homecomings whether it’s a football game, a dance, a pep rally/bonfire, or anything else.
The Homecoming I remember most is the one I didn’t attend. It was the homecoming game my senior year. I didn’t attend because I was sick.
I was a busy girl my senior year. I was Pep Club President, which meant I was in charge of a lot of activities during homecoming week. I was in Pep Band. I was a student council officer. I was a National Honor Society officer. I was working on a piece or two for Drama competition, and was probably in the fall play as well.
I was not getting along with the boy who I had been dating since spring of our sophomore year , and that relationship would soon come to an end.
And the day of homecoming, I had to stay home from school. Because I had started throwing up.
This wasn’t the first time. The first time was during my junior year in high school. It wouldn’t happen a lot, but every so often I would have about a 24 hour period where I would throw up. The only relief I would get from it was sitting in a warm bath with a washcloth on my stomach.
I remember the summer between my junior and senior year, I think I went to the doctor. There was nothing conclusive determined about my symptoms.
At one point, I thought I was having an adverse reaction to pork, because this happened one time after having a meal of pork chops. But I don’t think that was the cause.
Looking back now on my junior and senior year in high school, I believe I was dealing with anxiety, and this was the way my body was reacting to the anxiety in my life.
I didn’t have panic attacks. I don’t remember feeling anxious necessarily. Instead, my body’s reaction to the multiple things going on in my life was throwing up.
And that is how I spent my day and night when the Kellogg Wildcats played their homecoming football game in the fall of 1980. I was home in a nice warm bathtub, trying to relax and keep myself from throwing up.
We didn’t talk as much about anxiety and depression back when I was in high school. I am sure many of us were dealing with things, but I don’t think we knew what it was. I remember one of my friends sharing how every day after school she would go home and need to nap. She believes this was a result of a type of depression she was experiencing.
I am not sure I ever had another bout of anxiety induced vomiting after homecoming night. But I think some of the things causing my anxiety went away that fall. But it wasn’t until later in life that I realized what may have been the actual cause of those bouts of throwing up during my years in high school.