This Memorial Day…Thank You for the Now

Wow.  Three whole days off in a row without too much housework, yard work, or otherwise work-related tasks to catch up on…  Lift it up!  My Memorial Day Weekend has been Memorial-worthy in its own right, but not without honoring the true meaning behind the barbecue and beach-ridden holiday: those who have served and continue to serve our country to protect our freedoms and our beloved U.S.A., the best country in the whole, wide world.  As Maycee and I headed off to stake our place in the warm Cali sand today with our cheese sandwiches and carrot sticks, we passed the local cemetery holding a service for those who have left us. American flags placed throughout the entire grassy area, uniformed soldiers standing at attention, and a few folks speckled in the white folding chairs arranged neatly in rows caught my eye and caused a lump to swell in my throat, tears to pool in my eyes.  I love this land of the free and home of the brave.

But, as the start of this post mentioned, I had new memories of my own to create as Friday arrived.  All week long before and after work I cleaned, trimmed, laundered, and took care of business in preparation for a special guest coming to dinner.  You ALL will be excited to hear that this special guest was my oldest brother, whom I met for the very first time back in October 2011!  Yes, for months we’d been planning a get-together, and it was finally here!  I was a bit nervous all over again but also incredibly excited as not only was I seeing M- for the second time, but he would be meeting Maycee, my boyfriend, and his kids, as well. I kept the meal plan simple with burgers and dogs, chips and baked beans, sweet green grapes, and homemade brownies covered in fresh Mesa strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. 

As soon as M- arrived my nerves turned to uncontainable joy.  I gathered Maycee, and we ran outside to greet him [and his girlfriend] with open arms.  Oh, the warmth and relief I felt as we embraced and as I introduced Maycee to him and watched them hug. To hear M- call me “sis'”, it still feels surreal. Yet, as we went inside and got re-acquainted along with introducing him to my boyfriend and his children, as we proceeded to talk-a-plenty, there was no denying the familiarity born and bred between us that no amount of distance, secrets, or decades of unknowing could deny.

We had a wonderful dinner filled with laughter and stories.  So much to learn, so much take in that the hours flew by, and I secretly wished the clock would stop ticking.

Saturday we also had a chance to meet for lunch before they headed up the coast to continue with their vacation.  Maycee chose our favorite spot, Fat Cats, for the best clam chowder (in a bread bowl for me). My brother, who used to live in this area (coincidence?) couldn’t wait to order the mouth-watering fish tacos that he so misses where he lives now.  With only an hour left of our visit we continued to try and chip away at the missing pieces.  I saw pictures of his daughters and learned more about them, he asked me how my bf and I met, about my college years, how long I’d been sober, to name a few subjects.  He asked, “Why?  Why didn’t Dad want us to know each other?  So many years lost…” All I could answer was, “I don’t know.”  I figure we never will know. 

With Maycee sitting next to me, I kept shifting my eyes to see if she was paying much attention to the conversation. I saw her working on her clam chowder, content with focusing on each creamy spoonful, picking out pieces of pink clams and eating them separately as she fished for them.  In the morning I had lots of time to do her hair in two braids with different colored hairbands and butterfly clips.  She looked adorable, and the look on her face as she ate matched that perfectly.  Through her expressions I was able to ground myself and share with M-, “What matters is now.  Thank goodness we have now, and I hope our next visit is much, much longer.”  He agreed. “We definitely need more than a couple of days.”  We finished up our lunch and had to say our good-byes, and then my brother grabbed my hand.  I felt him hold on a little longer…he then turned his head, and I could see the tears in his eyes…too.

Maycee and I enjoyed the remainder of Saturday partaking in the local Strawberry Festival.  Sunday we went to church in the morning for the regular worship service and also in the evening for the end-of-the-month Night of Praise that I lead.  And, then today we got up early and hit the donut shop before getting ready for the beach. I love this land of the free and home of the brave, the people who protect and serve us so that we can enjoy all that we have…what we have…the time we have…now.  And, I can’t wait to see my big brother again. 

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Memorial Day weekend, 2012.

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13 responses

  1. WooHoo! So fantastic! So happy to hear you were able to spend time, quality, lovely-appreciated time with your brother, Kasey. That’s awesome! Indeed, yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t come yet so all we really have is today. And I share your gratitude for this wonderful land of the free and home of the brave. Great post!

  2. Sounds like you had a super-fantastic holiday weekend! I’m so glad for you. Savour every moment of family time. You are so wise to focus on the now and next time. Hope it’s soon. Hugs from your friend at The Madhouse.

  3. It’s such a treat to read this! I’m sad to for the time you lost, but glad the days of time lost have ended. (This echoes what I said to my siblings as I pulled out of their driveway this weekend: “I’m sad we only had two days, but I’m glad we had two days!”) Much love.

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