Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Wow...this was the most amazing weekend. I'm exhausted right now from four days of snapshots, beautiful moments, and a gift so wonderful I can barely find the words. So that this is not an entry a mile long, I'll hit the highlights:

Joe and I went to a Mexican restaurant, and it was ridiculously wonderful. He'd been craving Mexican for a while, and we finally got there. Frozen margaritas, enchilada, quesadilla, beef burro...just a fabulous date. He plans no other kind.

We saw the X-Men movie...our very first movie date after almost 3 months. Just an indicator that we had an instant comfort from the beginning, no awkward first dates of sitting in the dark in a movie theater with little to say, that awkward stuff of wondering how to reach for the hand in the dark. Our first movie....lots of firsts this weekend.

My first time meeting his mother and brother. I was TERRIFIED, and spent about an hour in my closet, almost in tears because I couldn't find anything appropriate to wear to a 90-degree afternoon baseball game. Tank tops...too revealing. White tee shirts all seemed to have chocolate stains on them. Pink capris don't fit just right yet. It really was a comically stressful moment. But Mrs. T. is a sweetheart and I thrilled at seeing how Joe and his brother cared for their mom. She's an instant at-ease personality. I now see where my Joe gets it. And the baseball game was phenomenal fun. Great Americana on the holiday weekend.

First day back to the town pool, only this time sharing that great environment with Joe. For a town pool, I have to say that this one is amazing. Two big waterslides, and the addition of a very strange Pelican water feature at the baby pool (don't ask). Our first swim together. And a near wardrobe malfunction-- bathing suit strap slipped from my shoulders and I caught it before I was ejected from the pool on Day 1. Note to self: do movement tests on the new bathing suits.

And on Memorial Day, Joe took part in my family's tradition of going to the town parade (a funny little suburban parade of the high school marching band, all the town ambulances, and all the scout troops and karate classes. They whip candy out to the crowd). It's always been a family tradition, and as you might remember, my family has had some trying times. We didn't get to the parade last year because my Dad wasn't feeling well. This year, Joe came along and met my parents, Peanut my dog LOVES him (she's my barometer -- she senses good people and if she goes for a petting, you're golden. Well, Peanut not only went for a petting, she climbed up on the couch with Joe and put her paws on his chest while he rubbed her ears. I've never seen her do that before. She knows he's a good one too.) and even better, my Dad had a GREAT day. He'd been so sick lately, that it was phenomenal to see him all pink and happy, playing mini golf in the house with Joe, laughing, telling jokes. No one can really understand how huge that is. So it was a huge success, and a gift of indescribable proportions that Dad enjoyed spending time with Joe. He lit up the house and we had something we'd been hoping for for over a year and a half..normalcy, one of our family traditions unscathed, a delightful meal, and I got to see my Dad smile again.

Followed that up with a rest at Joe's, a visit to the town pool for sun and a swim, dinner and cuddle time. No better place to be. I'm overwhelmed with joy. This man has brought the color back to my life too. So on Memorial Day, when it's time to honor the memory of those who have served our country, there's an element of honoring the memory of all the people who are now gone from my life, who served a purpose or taught a lesson, who brought me here to this point with new wisdom...and I also think of the memory of my 4 great uncles who served in World War 2, and all four brothers came back alive and well. I thought that men like that -- men of great character and dedication, who valued their families and loved their God, men with bravery and a sense of serving something greater than themselves -- didn't exist anymore. That they didn't make 'em like that anymore. I was wrong. All of the virtues and values and integrity that I loved in my great-uncles is here right now. Somewhere my Uncle Augie -- who was like my grandfather -- is smiling on me. I know that if he were here, he'd sit down with my Dad and with Joe and they would have a great time laughing and drinking a beer, watching the Yankees and giving us a wink and a hug when we placed big plates of food before them and sat down at a table for a holiday meal together. Joe reminds me of my Uncle Augie. Same warming smile, same hearty laugh, same adoration and twinkle in the eye. Same family values.

This was A GREAT WEEKEND. Can't express it more...