Saturday, July 29, 2006

Happy 53rd to Me!

Gannet Girl at 3: Idyllic life in the country, next door to grandparents who think she is Miss Perfect. Probably not entirely idyllic, as six-month old baby brother is on the scene and Gannet is probably exhibiting less than perfect behavior.

At 13: Miserable and away at summer camp in Minnesota. Gannet’s readers know that she views camp in North Carolina as having saved her life, extricating her as it did from Wicked Stepmother for months at a time. But Gannet’s father never grasps the importance of building on friendships summer after summer and keeps sending her to DIFFERENT camps. Gannet would run away but she can’t figure out which direction down the road would lead to Minneapolis-St. Paul. She will return to Ohio at the end of the summer and go straight back to Catholic boarding school. Her days at home are long gone.

At 23: Married, working as a waitress, and about to start law school. Days are full of onion rings and low tips.

At 33: Mom with twin almost-two-year-olds, practicing law part-time. The boys are charming tow-heads who charge around Chautauqua talking to fire hydrants. The work, in an era when mom-lawyers/lawyer-moms are still surprising aliens in their field, is draining. Most people at the firm have no idea that Gannet does so much of her work at home between 5:00 and 8:00 a.m.

At 43: Kids are just about 12, 12, and 9. The boys are in camp in North Carolina. The daughter is in day camp at home. The mom has her own law practice and is immersed in other people’s divorce and custody battles. There has been one medical crisis, but at the moment all is well and is good, especially since trips to North Carolina always involve sliding waterfalls, where Gannet plays with as much abandon as her children do.

And today: The kids are approaching 22, 22, and 19. They are working in an office job in Chicago, studying (somewhat) in Barcelona, and camp counseling in North Carolina. Life has apparently stabilized after another difficult period, Gannet has switched careers and been teaching for several years, and is about to acknowledge the call toward another direction. Everything depends upon the continued health and employment of the adults in the family and the continued health of their parents and children. Making new choices is so much more complicated when there are pipes with leaking issues, college loans, adult children almost in need of steady employment, parents steadily approaching (or already in) their eighties, and a history of repeated unanticipated disasters that have had a way of sucking up every ounce of energy in range. But there are people singing in the Chautauqua Ampitheatre and in the Iona Abbey and in Chartres Cathedral and in the North Carolina camp lodge and Gannet has made it to all of those places this summer. Life is good again.

18 comments:

peripateticpolarbear said...

happy birthday

Cynthia said...

Happy Birthday! What changes you have had in your life. Isn't it almost amazing when you look back?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!! Your life has certainly taken some interesting twists and turns. Never a dull moment, eh?
Marian

Waterfall said...

Happy Birthday!

tess said...

Happy Birhtday and life celebrations are in order!

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday!

Lisa C.

Judith HeartSong said...

happy happy birthday dear lady.... I loved this post and your mile markers.... you help to light the way for me.

judi

Lorinda said...

Happy Birthday!

Theresa Williams said...

Oh, Happy 53rd! This call, is it to the ministry, per chance?

beths front porch said...

Happy Birthday...and what a wonderful birthday retrospective. From onion rings and low tips to a call in another direction. My best and warmest wishes to you.

Lisa :-] said...

HB, Gannet. Quite the life. And more to look forward to. You go!

elleme said...

Happiest of Birthdays. What an interesting and varied life you've had. I love your idea of the decade by decade retrospective. Maybe I'll try it myself nect birthday

Lightyears2venus said...

A happy birthday indeed, with everything going so well at the moment and a summer to die for. The post format is a brilliant idea.
*debbi*

Paul said...

Happy birthday, Robin. You cancerian, you.

Globetrotter said...

Happy birthday, Gannet!

I can so relate to much of what you've said , and each day we can only hope that life will not through us any new curve balls as we continue to struggle and strive, struggle and strive...

Laurie4567@aol.com said...

Happy, happy belated birthday! Sort of a let-down after the past few weeks, eh? I am loving your pix.

Carol said...

Belated happy birthday. If you don't mind, I'm going to steal the decade by decade perspective on my next, and all future, birthdays. What a great idea. So the career change is official?

sunflowerkat said...

Happy Birthday, a few days late!

I want to hear more about the new call.