Buffalo Girl

Several things were calling me back to my hometown of Buffalo this spring. Fortunately, all of them were foreseen and I’ve been planning for and looking forward to this trip for more than a year.

The first looked like this:

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That’s our first college graduate! There were fewer tears than I expected; I was just so happy for her. And proud, proud, proud. Several years as a Resident Assistant in college taught me that every freshman has their own story and their own hurdles which really helped me deal with a 3,000 mile transatlantic separation as Claire weathered her first year. It was a sort of crazy year anyway with Mark in Afghanistan and us preparing for our unforeseen (but really, how did we not anticipate this?!) move to Armenia. But Claire’s struggles to survive a grueling year as a Music Education / Trumpet major ended in a crash and a change of major. Totally traumatic – like happens so many times, she’d pretty much never failed at anything up to that point and coming to grips with failure is a process. Nevertheless, she worked her way back step by step and I believe the process finally allowed her to take charge of her own life. Not many classes transfer between Music Ed. and English Lit and it would be reasonable for her to still be in school catching up, but she took seven classes a semester for a year and a half plus a full load in the summer and graduated on time with a nearly perfect GPA in her major. AND (oh, this is major!) she had a legitimate job before graduation. Who says you can’t use an English major?

There was hardly a chance to catch our breath before we got to the second thing calling me home:

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Oh, yes it is. That is a wedding shower in a coffee shop. Later this summer that college graduate is going to make me cry for sure as she walks down the aisle. She’s so happy, Steve is so happy, so we are all so happy. I’m not sure if anyone ever thinks the day is going to come and it takes some mental gymnastics to get your mind around. My BABY!!! Who used to look like this!!!

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And you worry, and you fret, and you wonder why is it that no one ever suggests you sit and think about how great it is all going to be? What is it with motherhood that’s all about worry? You know – like this:

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Or is that just me? Could be just me. Anyway, it’s going to be an exciting summer!

Naturally, the first two events led to this:

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The little birdie found herself her own nest. For once I was around to help with her move and we spent a lovely (if exhausting) couple of days dragging around furniture, unpacking boxes, and making trips to Target for more things to feather that nest. She’s now the proud possessor of tub mats, toilet scrubbers, garbage cans, over-the-door hooks, silverware sorters, and a whole bunch of things that I cannot remember – perhaps because I am still dazed from the total… We worked in the dark (electricity not turned on yet), we worked through our meals, we worked so hard neither of us could find anything we wanted to buy in the whole ginormous Barnes and Noble we stopped by as a treat. (That is tired). Helping was all choice and I never would have missed the chance to spend these last few days together with Claire. I’m pretty sure we will both remember this special time for years and years. (Okay, now those tears are threatening).

The moments between events were just as much of why I couldn’t wait to be here. There was Sister Silliness:

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Nope, I don’t think I’m ever going to master the duck face…

And Niece/Nephew Silliness:

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And there was kissing! So much kissing! (They don’t call me Aunt Kissy for nothing).

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And hey, I even got one this time (you can always count on a brother)!

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And now I’m just waiting and growing anxious for the last reason I wanted to be in Buffalo in May:

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I’ve wanted to run this one for a couple of years. Hometown marathon, along the shore of Lake Erie? Family and friends around? Family running with me? How could I resist? Our schedule in the past two years made it impractical to fly back just for this race so I bided my time knowing I’d be in town for a graduation this year. I chose to focus on Vienna as a goal race for this spring and happily, all systems were go on the day. Alas, that was the last time they were. I suppose I should be happy that I it wasn’t a catastrophic injury that laid me up, nor was it exhaustion or burnout. I was ready to run, I wanted to run, but………. I had the world’s ugliest chronic blood blister on the ball of my left foot. Every single run either made it worse (at first) or brought it back (after I started taking rest days weeks). Rest weeks. With a half-marathon looming. And the sort of competitive nature that makes my skin crawl every time I think, Well, I could just run it. I could just not wear a watch…

Right.

Only, given the fact that the stupid thing did not really agree to heal until last weekend, I suspect I might not have a choice. I think this one is going to be about finishing. Maybe about taking the time to see some of the prettiest parts of the city (yes, there are plenty of them here) at a slow enough pace to actually observe them.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll go perfectly, or maybe I’ll be slow. No matter what, I want it to be fun. I waited two years after all!

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