I guess we are done celebrating graduation. Unless Esther decides to go back for a degree, we will not have anyone in school like that ever again. It is the end of an era that began probably thirty years ago and now, here we are. It is over.
Today we held open house in Bradenton, the home town, for friends who weren’t able to make the trip up to Gainesville to see the actual graduation. I know Julie probably wondered how many people would take the time to come. I wondered, especially when I started hearing from so many about their conflicting activities and how busy they were. There is a value in putting in an appearance at these kind of occassions. I didn’t always think this way. But now I know that just showing up is a gift of time that tells someone that you value them. I am so thankful for everyone who came or called or sent a letter.
It was one of those hosting experiences where the house gets fuller and fuller until I simply can’t tend to everyone and I start letting them take care of themselves. The ice cream is out on the counter, melting. The table is full of used plates. I’m trying to carry on several conversations at once while I’m also trying to take pictures and find toys for the children to play with. I’m concerned when someone seems to be on the sidelines with no one to talk to, and conscious that there are no more places left to sit down. But all seem to be happy and engaged for the most part. And what a mixture of friends it was. Julie’s housecleaning clients, and her business co-horts, childhood and school friends, church friends, fellow horse lovers and relatives – many of them knowing each other because they knew Julie.
And then they all took their turn leaving until the house was quiet again. It was one of those kind of sad but kind of happy moments for the three of us, Dennis, myself and Julie. She packed up her truck and we met in the kitchen, somehow more deeply aware of ourselves as a family than we have been in a long time. We did family hug and acknowledged our far away Esther and how we missed her. There were tears. We are a sentimental bunch. And then Julie left.
I am tired, and my legs hurt. I never eat very well on days that I do a party – too many short snacks with no balance whatever. There is always left over food to deal with. I will be eating celery and dip for days. And then there are the things that are too expensive to throw away now but after they sit in the fridg for a couple weeks it will be okay. A party has been had. An occassion has been marked. Tomorrow is another day, and I must get rested for it. Just sayin’…