This photo was taken on the evening of September 11, 2001. Her complete oblivion to the day’s gravity remains precious to me. I remember watching her float along, innocently blissed out by the late summer evening. The sound of her little kid voice. Belly laughs. Like every adult across the land, Adam and I were not sure what to do with ourselves that day. Living on a lake, we decided to do the only thing that made sense, we set the canoe on rippling water, pushed off from the shore, and paddled our way through the sorrow.
For as long as any of us can remember, we’ve had a saying in this house: Ignore the negative, celebrate the positive. I have no idea how it originated, but a family mantra it’s become. Except now, looking at this photo, and looking ahead into the unknown (as opposed to the comfortable illusion of everyday predictability), I think we got it all wrong. Why would we ignore - silence - the hard times? No, no, no. You’ve got to feel it. Not forever, but set the timer, circle a few days on the calendar, and freaking wallow if need be. If necessary, bring in reinforcements. Feel it, work though it, release it, learn from it, carry on. Why did I always tell her to ignore the negative? Forget that. Listen, girl... don’t ignore the hard times, I’m sorry I told you to do so. Instead, set your canoe on rippling water, push off from the shore, and paddle your way through. If whatever you’re dealing with seems slow to resolve, it just means the ride isn't over; keep paddling. And if you're lost and can't find the north shore, call me, I'll do whatever I can to help you navigate.
This past week has been filled with so many good times. Bittersweet as she said goodbye to friends, but not before making excellent memories first. Hiking, picnics, brunch, fancy dinners, waterfront dinners, homemade dinners, coffee with her best friend’s parents who see her as their second daughter (and their daughter, to us), castles, Sherlock, ice cream, movies, Harry’s Place. Pretty sure even this not-so-nostalgic kid has noticed the entire week was one for the scrapbook. Now, there's nothing left to do but load up the truck and head out...
Get out there and light it up, kid. The world is lucky to have you.