This was the first White family gathering since Nonna died last year. I can't believe it had been that long since the White siblings gathered. We usually gathered for either T-day, Xmas or NYE. Always for one week in the summer. After Nonna's funeral in October 2011, we stayed home for T-day and got to see the Bethlehem tree lighting, and other local traditions. It was nice to take a break from the many weekend trips of the past three years. We stayed home through Christmas Eve, but drove to Detroit on Boxing day to try to connect with any family still hanging out in Detroit. New Year's Eve was spent in Bowling Green with our old posse. It was a great night hanging out, sampling Mark's scotch (he's got quite a collection), talking about everything and nothing with our dearest friends.
Before Nonna died, the family gatherings were organized around her and Papa's traditions; significant and not so insignificant holidays (anything with a 3-day weekend), weddings (lots of weddings), baptisms, first communions, confirmations, high school graduations, wine making,... Steve's siblings are very close. Four of the seven siblings live in the Detroit area. Their kids grew up together. Every family gathering had continuous eating and conversations that would start at the hello hug and last through the 2 hour packing and "oh, and that reminds me of...." as we try to leave.
There's usually a moment in Detroit when I watch Steve's family and wish I could just walk into another room of the house to see my mom and my siblings. This time I had to settle for a phone call. After I got off the phone, as expected, I was starting to feel anxious about not being with my mom. I'm not there. I'm missing something. There's always this moment when I'm with Steve's family when I feel like I need to bust out of the house. I need to retreat into my own space.
This is why I started jogging again. A few years ago, I packed some exercise clothes just in case I had the opportunity. Every visit now, I get a 2 mile walk/run in Grosse Point Park - long enough to get from the home we're staying to to some view of Lake St. Claire and back. It's all I need. When I'm done with the quick run; I feel like I've chased the demons away.
The night of that run, I split seven Belgian beers with my sister-in-law's husband. Next day, I felt no pain. I felt great!
This was an awakening.
After a Belgian waffle, we drove to Bowling Green. For some reason, the anxiety started creeping in again. Luckily, the BG friends have known me for more than 25 years - they don't care if I need to escape. So I put my running clothes back on and went for a little jog in the woods.
I got lost on the trail just before dark. When I finally figured out how to get out of the woods, this 10 point deer came up from behind and ran right passed me; about 15 feet to my right. (Thanks to Mark - I got a good picture of this big boy)
Stuff like that only happens when you just decide to take an adventure and get lost.
I flipped some kind of trigger on this trip. As I sit and write this post while the laundry is going and I dig my heels into still being on vacation (no, I'm not reading email and getting ready for the week right now), I'm trying to figure out when I'll be able to get my next run in.
Who am I and what happened?
Does this have anything to do with embracing my failings as they are - and starting to let shame go?
I heard this phrase in a radio interview today; "It's not a mid-life crisis. It's a mid-life unravelling."
(Listen to this researcher: she's pretty awesome. Brene Brown researches vulnerability)
Am I finally accepting things that I cannot change; and finding serenity in the things I can?