The Winds of Change

Fresh hair cuts!!  I threw this one in at the last minute the day before.

Do you feel the change in the air?  Sometimes I think I can smell it.  I can definitely hear it.  I was playing Trivia Crack Adventures the other day, and I had no question on the answer to, "Which insect is the loudest?"  CICADAS!  They are a sure sign of the onset of fall and the impending start of school.

Speaking of which, one kid officially started this week, and he is Hap...Hap...Happy!!  Last night, he came down to my room so depressed that today was not a school day.  Ahhhh...I wish I could preserve that enthusiasm.  I remember being so sad one day, when I woke up, and my mom told me I was sick and could not go to school.  My strawberry shortcake lunchbox was packed and ready in the refrigerator.  It broke my heart.

That enthusiasm left me around 4th or (DEFINITELY) 5th grade.  So, by the time I hit Jr. High, they were trying to bribe me to just show up and stick around.  I don't know...the whole thing just seemed so awkward and inefficient.  I knew I could accomplish much more, faster on my own.  (I have actually come to value the quality of group interaction...a little...since then.  It's just so hard to find quality partners, and I tend to have ridiculously high standards.)

I'll give it was a slightly odd back to school this year.

Anyway...I am keeping the injured kid home until he has at least one arm to "fall back on."  He was all over me at about 8 am day one on accessing assignments, so I don't think he will lose too much ground during his home bound.  (This kid is so self-motivated...I can't imagine where he got that.)

And speaking of kid #3...we attended his first team baseball game today.  Now, THAT was hard.  I found myself sinking into a depressed state as I packed the car, and it did not pass when we arrived.  I saw by his reactions to teammates that he felt it, too.  I helped out during warm-ups and took the scoreboard, as usual.  I tried to model the spirit of team.  (I told you...I've improved in this.). But, after the first full inning, or so, I saw he was still moping in the dugout, feeling sorry for himself.  I had to intervene.

Jesse is a lover AND a fighter.

I said, "Son.  Look me in the eyes."  And I waited until he complied.  "This stinks.  I don't like it either.  But you are going to have to get over it.  Your team needs your support.  I want to hear your voice, cheering them on."

By the end of the game, he was running back and forth between the scoreboard, which I let him manage (I'm sure he is more competent at the statistics than I am, anyway), and the between-inning huddles on the field.  He was smiling.  He was engaged, and he was...dare I say it?..even having fun.  It made my heart smile, and it assured me that we were definitely going to get through this, together.  

And the interesting thing here...I NEVER saw the little guy.  Only the camera did.

We have built a solid little "team" over here in the O'Hara household.  Everyone plays an important role, though some of us complain that we tend to carry a little more of the weight and burden.  When it comes down to it, we are on one side.  Loyal to the core.   It is beautiful, really.  And it is something for which I am truly grateful, because I have a keen awareness to how rare that is.  Being surrounded by people on whom you can genuinely rely is a blessing, and it IS something I would wish on my best friend and (even) my worst enemy (because...maybe that would produce the necessary change...if we all had someone on whom we could genuinely rely).

Anyway...I don't tend to let a lot of people in too closely.  But one of my very bestest (and longest-kept) friends came home from her "worldly gallivanting," and that is one party I will NOT miss.  I had an extremely rare "girls night out" that had me laughing so hard I...let's leave it at that.  I had a few one-on-one visits (my FAVORITE), and a "family time" visit, because EVERY O'Hara loves to see Kristy.  And she is a perfect reason for a living room "game time" gathering.  (This visit was "Alexa's Music Song Title Trivia" and some "80's" question cards.  Pure pleasure.)

Our summer wouldn't be complete without a lovely, volunteer sunflower.  They were the emblem  of our wedding, after all.

But the real beauty was in the reuniting of our athletic, competitive beginnings.  She has become obsessed, in recent travels, with the American Pickle Ball craze.  I tend to drag my feet with any new "fad."  I've played once.  I knew I could grow to love it.  But who has time for all that?!! single lady, arch enemy.  

I spent so many years living, almost resentfully, in her shadow.  And back then, it mattered so much.  I had some bizarre idea that I had to be the absolute best at everything I did, and that was so ridiculous, but I realize now how fortunate I was to have had such a competent play mate.  Now that I have found MY place, I am content with who I am.  A perfectly, imperfectly me.  That revelation...that self acceptance...allows me to appreciate the beauty and gifts I see in others, without jealousy or resentment.  It is ground-breakingly freeing.

Rocking the red.  These shoes are from Europe.  I DO NOT recommend bragging about that during an American celebration of the 4th of July.  😉🤣

No longer does my worth lie in winning, or being the best...and THANK GOD!  Because my bestie, literally, slaughters me every game.  And I don't care.  I would rather play someone who continually destroys me than someone I continually best, because the former makes me stronger.  And I love to see my friend thriving in her element.  She was an eerily aware point guard, and I see her use that field vision to manipulate my every lack of judgment.  (And I laughed at the pride in her body language when she saw she had bested me in the volley.). Her skill is a moving art.

And fortunately for me, there WERE a few times when I bested her.  I felt some joy in that, but it was not much more than when I was the victim of her victory.  It is the beauty of talent I now enjoy.  I don't care so much which of us is the artist.

I have, officially, never seen an aloe bloom.  🤞

I am blessed.  I am truly blessed.  And things are starting to look a little more positive, even as we trudge our way into my least favorite season.  

I will forge on and continue to hunt for the beauty in the midst of it all.  And I will carry with me, anyone who is willing to join on this quest, because...there is beauty in the collaboration of a committed few.

I appreciate having you along on the ride. the way...speaking of transformation.  Fred.1 was a complete success.  I am only slightly embarrassed by the genuine response he captured.  The sound I made.  That face.  I thought he was still focusing on Fred.  Oh well.  The love of life happens to be one of my gifts, and there are plenty who need and value it.  

Genuine happiness and mama pride.  💖. FYI…I verified. Fred was definitely a Fred. 

Love, seriously, to all!! And to all a good and peaceful night.  Amen.