20 years ago and a couple of months ago I took a birth class. Maggie was my coach and then Lisa Allhadef joined the group. During the class we met the other parents to be. They were an assorted group. The vegetarians (moms were secretly stopping at Dick’s during their evening stroll), the happily married couple, the couple that everyone thought was married , and I am sure there was a lesbian couple because that would be so Seattle. Anyway during the process I met and connected with Debbie Lee and Scott Peterson.
We had very close due dates and in fact our children were born almost 21 hours apart. Mary-E on the 4th and Nate on the 5th. We became friends and went through lots of stuff together as the children grew. The kids were in school together, we did stuff together and then we did not see much of each other. Girl /Boy divide was pretty common. The boys and their parents do stuff with other parents with boys, it just happens. We would touch base every now and then but then the last couple of years the connection became more “live”. Both kids have had life threatening challenges. The gift of those problems brought us to a great place as the children entered their 3rd decade.
Benihana’s served as the Nate Birthday Celebration. We were lucky enough to be asked to join him for his party. It was grand. Nate is beginning to figure it out. He is proud of his job and his contributions to his part of the store where he works. He is aware of life’s injustices and wants to help make positive changes for himself and his fellow workers. He is wise enough to know there are some things that can be changed and is willing to find another place to have his talents appreciated but will be holding on to his current position until a good change comes his way. I had a hopeful conversation with him. I left dinner feeling like we would have other conversations in the future. Mary-Elizabeth had good conversations with Scott and Debbie. I think they would say the same thing about the future for her.
The kids are 21 hours apart in age, worlds apart in where they are going with their lives and close enough in experience to be on the same path. Both have had to climb big mountains and both have had to dig deeply into their souls to make the journey. They are both scarred and a bit battered and bruised but they are alive. Sometimes alive is good enough for now. It is a reason to rejoice. A reason to take a deep breath and maybe relax for a minute or two.
The birthday dinner reinforced my determination to spend more time connecting and re-connecting with those we hold dear but not near enough.
Happy Birthdays Nate and Mary-Elizabeth. Both of you deserve to travel the next decade of your life on an easier more joyful path. More than anything, your parents would greatly appreciate it if you did.