Sunday, July 13, 2008

The 309

Things are chugging along on the Byler home front. Summer is zooming by faster than Hans’ red Mustang rental car on the New Jersey turnpike. Bethanie wuz here and her mere presence makes me newly aghast at every drop of water I send down the drain and every penny I spend on anything non-bare-necessity-ish. We are enjoying her company and are trying to keep the furtive dishwashing maneuvers, etc to a minimum.

Darren and I are feeling our age (please don’t laugh) which makes us feel compelled to prioritize our areas of interest and leaves us with smalls pangs of guilt whenever we realize that I haven’t made any music to speak of for years now and Darren’s camera sits around collecting dust. I miss nothing about being a teenager except maybe the feeling of endless possibility – that if I work really hard to cultivate my skills, great strides could be made on the world saving front. Such sentiments are long gone and, at this point, it would seem an unimaginable feat to make a very small dent in the human rights situation in Northwest China, pay off our college loans, keep ourselves clothed & housed, provide a home for a few little munchkins and cook dinner at the end of the day.

Spending so much of my time in the presence of actual old people has been such a handbook for living. It has taught me that it is probably a good idea to be nice to your children. And that funding your mother’s 24 hour “care” by some migrant worker is no substitute for spending a few years with her yourself (unless they happen to be Philippino in which case you don’t have a chance of measuring up to them). I have learned that people still very much want to live even in unimaginable circumstances – ex: living in a cramped apartment where a dozen family members lie around in various stages of drug-induced stupor while you fight end stage cancer – your best friend being the bucket beside your bed that faithfully collects your bile and doesn’t complain when it’s not emptied for weeks. I leave some of these places thinking “Um, could you remind me again why you don’t plaster that Do Not Resuscitate order all over your walls” and “Please remind me not to complain about my hangnail.” It has taught me that a pleasant disposition in an elderly person is such an admirable and beautiful thing (miraculous, spectacular. . . I’ll spare you all the adjectives that come to mind).

In the midst of all this, there is cause for happiness. Darren has not yet turned into a ware wolf after three years of marriage. We are half way through paying off nearly six figures of college debt. Olivia and Marilyn have birthed two comely baby girls each that they allow us to associate with. We are officially rodent free. And then the stuff of our dreams - we will soon be footloose and fancy free on our way out of east coasting.


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