Milestones Achieved

I never knew normal life would feel this nice.

It was a big weekend for my kids.

Georgia, a fifth grader, had her first-ever school dance now that she is an official middle-schooler. 

Ruby, a 10th grader, flew to St. Louis with her best friend to see her favorite artist, Leanna Firestone, in concert. (Truly, give “Gambling Addiction” or “Just Attention” a listen. I don’t love all of the music my kid introduces me to, but I like Leanna Firestone a lot.)

With so much on the calendar, I didn’t realize until all was said and done that I’d been holding my breath. 

Because I didn’t actually fully believe that any of this was going to happen and I was already planning how to handle their devastation.

Part of this is my inherent cynicism/pessimism. I never want to assume too much or too early. Don’t count your chickens and all that. 

But a larger part of this is informed by the past almost three years in which so much was canceled.

In February 2020, we were eagerly anticipating many things that I expected would go to plan because why wouldn’t they?

Ruby had just attended her NOLA 7 dance and was already excited for Eight O’ Clocks the following year. She had a trip to DC scheduled for April 2020 that we were just about to make our final payment on. And she’d worked her butt off to make the roller derby travel team, which was scheduled to compete at Clover Cup in late March 2020. 

Georgia was pumped for a school outing to pick strawberries, a trip to Florida over the summer, and the annual second grade maypole performance. 

My stepson was a senior in high school, looking forward to prom, graduation, and moving off to college.

Obviously none of that happened, and as the next 18+ months unfolded, we made our peace with it. Or a certain sort of peace, anyway.

My stepson had an abbreviated graduation ceremony that was somehow still meaningful. My daughters made the best of it all and dared to hope that someday, this would end and they could enjoy normal life again. 

Yes, even after things started to happen again, Georgia missed a much-anticipated birthday celebration for a friend after getting COVID, and Ruby didn’t get an eighth grade graduation in 2021, but as life started to resume, we entered into it hopefully but tentatively. 

Still, having two big milestone events in the same weekend felt like tempting fate. Surely someone would get sick, something would be canceled.

But here I am, the weekend after … and everything went as planned. 

Georgia went to the dance, danced till her feet hurt, scream-sang till her throat hurt, asked me if I’d ever heard of the Macarena, and then slept for 10 hours. 

Ruby went to the concert, made new friends, and even got to meet and hug her idol afterward. She called me that night and said she had had the best day of her life.

I’m still sort of in awe, almost waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I’m so grateful that – after so much disappointment – they both got to do what they wanted to do so badly. 

I’m not becoming an optimist or anything (let’s not go crazy!), but it feels really nice to finally be able to start to believe that things might be able to start happening again. 

Now on to the rest of Carnival season – we’ll see what happens, but I’m actually allowing myself to get excited!

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