Am back in Beaufort this evening. I just had a week of visits! With my mother Karen, then onto Florida with sister Kate, Chris, James, Michael, Aly (who is now crawling), my Pop-Pop Larry, Mollie, dad Michael, friends Kelly and Bernd, their newborn daughter Eloise, and friends Donna and Bill. I feel really lucky! And I'm tired too. I did a lot of driving and woke up each morning according to the baby I was in the house with. They seem to wake up pretty early.
When we visit with Pop-Pop and Mollie we always go to mass, and this Sunday we went to St Benedict's in downtown St Augustine. So you know about all the lawsuits against skeezy priests? Oh my God, someone chose the hymn He Touched Me for the collection song! I did not snort out loud or snicker. But I wanted to.
Kelly and I used to do triathlons together and I asked her what it's like having a baby- if it was hard? She said it was almost as hard as the Ironman, that she wanted to give up after a while. "Give up pushing?" I asked. "No," she said, "You only push at the end, so at that point you're pretty close. For almost the whole time you just have huge contractions while your body moves the baby." I thought that was kind of amazing! I didn't know the majority of birth was making it through contractions. There's something metaphorically important about that. I'm not sure what it is, but that's key.
I got to have a visit with Donna and Bill, who were tight with my Mom and Dad growing up and are kind of like my childhood second family. We only see each other every two years or less now. Donna was one of my favorites growing up. She has brain cancer and she's not had an easy time of it. Today she was on the couch and I went in and snuggled down next to her. Bill said, "Donna, this is one of your little Girl Scouts," and as his voice cracked with tears, Donna started crying, and we all sat there weeping together in the living room next to her wheelchair and hospital bed. Then we talked about our families. I told her my paintings are going so well. Donna asks, "Shannon what will you do when you get back to Connecticut?" "I will plant my garden." "Tell me about it, darlin'." "I will plant lots of parsley. And cilantro. And sunflowers. And nasturtiums too you can eat those and johnny jump ups." She is so special, I wish I could do her justice. But like Donna you just can't do any human justice talking about them. Well. Sometimes this place gets me to thinking maybe I'd like to be somewhere else. On my birthday little Michael made me a card. He said, "Look, Aunt Shani, I drew you in yo' garden. An' see there so many roses in there you can't even leave!" Isn't that the truth.