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  • Keep a fire burning in your eyes
    Pay attention to the open sky
    You never know what will be coming down…

    (Jackson Browne – from “For a Dancer”)

    I’ve noticed that, after my initial thrill and joy at being back involved with all of the things in my life that I had put to the side while I was gone, things have settled down a bit for me. I’m here, I’m back, I’m into everything, it’s all cool – but, it’s not the same. Things have changed. Life has changed. It does that. Not for the better or for worse - just different.

    Something that started happening to me while I was in South Carolina was, I started seriously noticing the clouds in the sky everyday. They were awesome. I’d never really noticed them before. I was thinking it was the South Carolina sky that was so special, that had such brilliant cloud formations that I had just never noticed before. But, ever since I got back home a week ago, I still find myself looking at the sky a lot more, and the sky here in Virginia, and Maryland, and Washington, D.C., has some pretty awesome cloud formations, as well. Did I really just never take the time to notice them before? I’m thinking I must not have.

    We had a leadership team offsite in Maryland this week, Monday through Wednesday, very successful. I led a workshop to develop our Annual Performance Plan for next fiscal year. I brought my executive coach and a colleague of hers in to conduct an all-day training on Emotional Intelligence, which we thought this team could use, and it was right on time, everyone got it.

    I learned late last week that I’ll soon be moving into another position at work. It looks like my time in this one is coming to a close. I had thought I would have a chance to stay in it permanently, but I never really got the sense that it was where I wanted to land, long term. I filled a need that needed filled, and now it’s time to go plug another hole, turn another group around that needs turning around. It seems to be what I do these days. I’m good at it. Maybe I just need to work on accepting that that’s what I do best, and learn to be o.k. with going where I’m needed, get the sinking ship righted, and move on to the next sinking ship once that one’s afloat and sustainable, again. I had an interesting chat with Maureen’s colleague about that over lunch yesterday. He thinks I should write down what it is I do when I do this.

    J.B. got back from California, and is in the process of getting things squared away here, and looking for a full-time job out there. He’s found a place to stay that’s affordable, and he will no doubt find the job, because he’s my son and that’s what we do. He’s cut out of the same cloth when it comes to that. I could always find a job, when I wanted and needed to. He’s been the same, so far. It’s his dream to live and work out there, and much as we don’t really want to be a continent away from him, we do want him to live his dream.

    He gave me the best laugh when I picked him up from the airport. His plan, he was telling me, is to drive back across country in his little car, once he lands a job out there, stopping on the way to visit friends and family. He’d done some figuring and realized it was going to be an expensive proposition, driving across country, especially the gas costs. At least overhead would be held down by staying with friends and family on the way, instead of hotels. He has so many friends, all over, that he’ll have a place to stay everyday along the way.

    I told him it would be a great trip, driving across the country, something everyone should do, at least once in their lifetime. He asked if I’d ever done it. I told him about my Greyhound/hitchhiking journey when I was AWOL from the Navy. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hey, Dad - why don’t you drive with me, then fly back when we get to California?” I was so tempted to say yes to that – I wanted to say yes to it. I really did. But, there is just too much going on, here. I’ve already taken a lot of time off work, we have the 2 week Hawaii cruise coming up in late October, and it’s just not the best time with everything going on with Mom.

    But, I had to laugh. He’s always thinking! I was also touched that he would want to include me on such an epic journey. I’m sure a part of it was financially motivated – Dad would surely cover the gas costs! But, I just know where I was at with my relationship with my father at that age, and there is no way in hell I would have wanted him along with me on such a trip. We never would have made it all the way to California. One or the other of us would have wound up on the side of the road, no doubt! It made me really appreciate our relationship.

    All this going on, and yet….there’s a part of me that’s still down there. Still in South Carolina. Mom is actually doing pretty good these days, considering… the hand-off with brother Jim went just about as smoothly as it could have gone, and they’re really enjoying each other’s company. The Home Hospice continues to meet her basic day to day medical needs. She’s learning to accept some of the stuff she really should be taking for the extreme pain she gets, that comes in waves and washes over and through her. Jim’s been really good at helping her to work through that process of acceptance. Her quality of day to day living is actually pretty good now. This was the goal.

    We’ll be back down there in a week to see her for a couple of days. I’ll be back down for a week in September. But, this morning, my thoughts and my heart are with her there. It’s o.k. It feels like that’s where they should be at this moment. It’s hard for me to get my enthusiasm up for work, today. I’ve been feeling like I should be more enthused with everything that’s going on – I usually am more engaged and passionate about things. About the softball and everything else going on. But, who I am I kidding, really? I’m just not all there.

    A big part of me just knows – a clock is ticking, now. It won’t be long. Probably a few months. Maybe more…could be less. There’s nothing more to do, but for now, I just feel like I need to be there, in my heart and in my thoughts.

    And, so I am.

    I think that might be what the cloud thing is all about. I don’t know. I’ll just keep paying attention.
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