what will i do i wonder…

my cousin nona recently came for a visit. she’s delightful and amazing and impressive…and i’m not sure how much of that she realizes just yet. nona’s brother happens to be brilliant as well. he’s got a mind that while i understand none of it i am in awe of it. they’re both brilliant. it was always fairly obvious how successful he would be. while nona, well i don’t know that we were ever sure what she would do or become when she grew up. there was always an amazing personality from her but no real clear path. and now that she’s grown and graduated from college….well there’s still no real clear path. but THAT is what makes it amazing. her brother we watched blossom into a genius just as we always knew he would. and it’s awesome that he did exactly that. and now with nona i’m enchanted. we don’t know what she will do but it will be fun and exciting watching her get there!

it’s kind of like my brother. he’s brilliant in mind but in a way that doesn’t necessarily have a set path or direction but you know he’s going somewhere. he’s constantly learning, wondering, reading, evolving. sometimes i feel like the black sheep of the family. i had no direction and stumbled into my path by coincidence and luck. yes, i stayed with it because i enjoyed it and happened to be good at it but i’m not quite like my counterparts.

so anyways, there i was planning an itinerary for my cousin and my trip with my mom to see what we could squeeze in and how…i’m a bit fanatical about planning….i suppose if you ever saw my father’s color-coded chart for activities for the grandchildren while they visit you’d understand where i get it from. anyways, the itinerary went something like this:

Saturday: get Nona and head home

Sunday: pack picnic then Blue Ridge Vineyard for picnic and wine

Monday: afternoon Tea
Tuesday: lazy day
Wednesday: despicable me movie then crawfish boil
Thursday: dinner and fireworks
Friday: take Nona to airport, head back for MOST AWESOMEST TRIP EVER with my AMAZING AND WONDERFUL MOM!!! possibly…stop somewhere for the night.
Saturday: wake up and make it to cabin for the day if it’s not too stressful and it suits our mood
Sunday: wake up and see what tickles our fancy
Monday: wake up and try out being footloose and fancy free
Tuesday: wake up and putz around
Wednesday: wake up and see what’s hanging
Thursday: wake up and practice being bums
Friday: wake up and straighten house…ok maybe just think about it and anxiously await my grandmother and cousin
Saturday: wake up and attempt to lure my mom and grandmother into afternoon beers and repeat
Sunday: wake up and be super bummed that i’ll be leaving but be very glad and thankful for the time away

now…obviously it looks like the most perfect of schedule right? yeah, i know. i was thinking that too when i made it. and then i started thinking about how wonderful it would be to see my grandmother and how it was great that she was coming up. and i had to stop. and suddenly i was running for a calendar. and sure enough, the day before i leave, the day after my grandmother arrives is the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing. i haven’t been with my mom and grandmother around this time of year since that year. not necessarily by intention, although it could have been part of my subconscious keeping me away. it’s been a great many years. and so i had to think about how long has it been since he passed away. and i remembered, or thought i did. doubt was creeping in. did i have the year right. the day i’ll never forget but the year. so i started thinking and counting and worrying. does it make me a bad granddaughter that i wasn’t 100% sure of how long he has been gone? it is no less a loss to me even if i can’t remember how many years. it doesn’t make Christmas any easier when i hear greensleeves or for that matter a store playing Christmas music before or on thanksgiving as i start to laugh while crying and quickly leaving before i end up embarrassing myself. my grandfather always said no Christmas music before after thanksgiving dinner. but ohhh as i got older the times i would catch him with the radio on or a tape in. he always said he was just “getting ready” upon being caught….mmm hmm sure papa!

so there i was 99% sure i remembered the year but still wondering. so i went internet searching just for peace of mind and confirmation…because well the internet has everything on it in the world right? i’m sure i could find my husband’s inseam if i searched for it. and surprisingly…it wasn’t readily available to find. but i DID stumble across this about my great grandfather (revised slightly):

….He is one of the young and capable professional men of Huron County, who is successfully engaged in the practice of his profession at Norwalk, with offices in the Citizens Bank Building. He was born in Ohio and his boyhood  was spent there as he attended the public schools. He graduated from University in 1912, and in 1918 received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. His interne work was completed at University Hospital, and he also took graduate work at Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia, and Flower Hospital, New York City. He is an active member of the Huron County Medical Society, Ohio State Medical Society, and American Medical Association. He also belongs to the Ohio State Homeopathic Society, and American Institute of Homeopathy. He is affiliated with University Lodge; Huron Chapter; Norwalk Council; Norwalk Commandery; Toledo Consistory; Zenobia Temple; B. P. O. Elks. He also belongs to Catawba Cliffs Beach Club, Norwalk Country Club, Kiwanis Club and University Club of Cleveland, and Phi Alpha Gamma fraternity. He is president of the Norwalk Chapter of Ohio Lake Erie Island District Association.

My great grandfather did so many things. And yet in reading it, the parallels between how many things he did, invested in, and gave his time for were mirrored by the things my grandfather, his son, had done as well. it’s just…wow. it’s easy to see how some of those things would have rubbed off on my grandfather. it’s the examples set for us right? but as i stared at these remarkable things on paper and remembered my grandfather’s remarkable service, dedication, drive, and teachings i felt lacking. i feel lacking. what have i done like this? how have i even come close to this? yes, i suppose you could look at it that this is the measure of their whole lives that i am reading/remembering and i’m in my 30’s…but what have i done thus far? this is mostly a rhetorical question. just me wondering out loud. of all 4 of  us grandchildren it seems as though all but me are so like him. one cousin is teaching, one cousin has a consistently active voice, and my own brother is following a never-ending road of learning. so again, what have i done or will i do? perhaps its harder to look at one own’s self as clearly but i tried to think what i have done that would have mirrored some of my grandfather’s (and great grandfather’s) achievements and thought of nothing.

perhaps its time that i dive in. i dive in with so many other things (relationships, career) but not on changing, growing. which is yet another way i differ from my grandfather. he rarely dove in. but carefully weighed his options and came to sound, researched, and educated decisions. i just leap, recklessly into the unknown. ohhh look a dark abyss…here i go! i’m not entirely sure what i have done is wrong. it has gotten me certain places and certain things i wouldn’t dare change but i think as i go forward i’m going to ask myself what will i do…and start applying my logic of leaping before i look to a few more things that contribute to the greater good. what that is yet i don’t know. but stay tuned and perhaps by next year at this time i’ll have an update…

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