Last summer the Tuna basement found itself ankle-deep in water not once but twice within the span of seven days. At the time, and for many weeks to come, we were faced with the job of hauling an enormous quantity of stuff out of the basement. Some things were salvaged, but most of it got pitched. It was easy to figure out what had to go. If you couldn't see the damage with your eyes, you most certainly could smell it a mile away.
As we were sorting through mountains of junk, we found it increasingly easy and even satisfying to throw things away. Our zeal for cleaning house was enabled by the dumpster in the driveway, meaning that purging would require no midnight runs or a theme song. Looking back on it now, it was a job that we never saw coming and had no choice but to undertake, but in the end, we were all the better for having done it.
This summer, thankfully, has been flood-free. The basement is dry and all my belongings are intact. But looking back over the last three months, I would have never guessed back in June that more changes were around the corner.
June saw the end of sixth grade for TinyTuna. It was a year of great transitions for her. New school. New school district. It was a gamble, but one that paid off in ways I would have never imagined. She thrived. She found kids like herself -- funny, smart, and in love with music and art and books and life. As soon as school ended, we climbed into the car and dashed off to visit the ocean and decompress. The weather was beautiful and my time at the ocean was especially gratifying and peaceful this year. I didn't really know why. I just knew it to be true.
July saw TinyTuna leave home for a week to travel with her church youth group to Tennessee. Her week was filled with service work in the Cherokee National Forest. She had never been away from home that long, and I wasn't sure she was ready for this trip. True to form, she proved she was more than ready, and although she was tired and sunburned, she returned home a different person. She just seemed more grown up. More thoughtful. More responsible. I didn't know exactly how at the time. I just knew it to be true.
As for me, July was the month of the yellow shirt and Tunapalooza. It was great music, best friends, and tasty Mike's Hard Lemonade under the stars. It was more than that, too. It was a first date on Monday. It was getting drenched on a Tuesday and not caring one bit. It was impatiently for Wednesday night to arrive. It was facing the tough but caring inquisition of friends as a happy, confident, unified front on Thursday. The entire week was a whirlwind, and at the end of it, I wasn't sad because I knew it was just the beginning. I don't know how I knew, but in the midst of all the excitement, there was an overwhelming sense of peace and calm, and I just knew it to be true.
August began as a month filled with problems, illness and difficulties. Suddenly, instead of dancing under the stars, I found myself doing whatever I could to help a former spouse and his current family. It was a task I never saw coming, and had no choice but to undertake, but in the end, I unloaded a heap of negative thoughts and we all came out on the other side more understanding of each other and cognizant of what is really important in life. I don't know how we did it, I just knew it to be true.
Since that time, TinyTuna has resumed her summer away from home. She spent ten days at music camp with no phone and no access to home. When we finally heard from her one week later and read her postcard that said, "camp rocks and everybody here is my friend," we knew she was alright. At the end of her session we all went up to hear her perform. And by all, I mean all -- a new boyfriend, a former spouse and his family, GramTuna and myself. The day was overwhelming. The weather was as sunny as it had been in June at the beach. The music was as beautiful as it had been in July under the stars. And everybody...everybody was ok with everybody else. I don't know how. I don't know why. But I was there, and it was true.
I know I haven't written much lately. Over the past several months, my life and the life of my family has changed so quickly, I haven't had any chance to step back and distill my thoughts into anything coherent. The bigger reason though, is I think I keep looking for an explanation for everything. I want to be able to explain the tranquility of the ocean in June, the magic of the music in July and the calm of hearts healed in August. If I could explain it, then I could always have it. But I can't explain it. The best thing I can do is to be aware of the gifts that surround me. And when I look back over the summer, and sit next to that someone special and feel a hand in mine, I know I'm living a life blessed, and that is answer enough.