Sunday, June 23, 2013


Last night I went to the graduation party at my friend Kathleen's. I'd been dreading it. I knew it would be mostly couples -- people I haven't met. I knew my $50/per kid present (a $25 gift card each plus a donation to the Appalachian Service Project, the organization the family is part of and they build/repair houses for those under the poverty line each summer) was smaller than most they would receive.

But I had a wonderful time! It was a welcome respite from the agita caused by my older sister. I fussed over her son, a freshly-minted college graduate whose company I have always enjoyed, ever since I met him a pre-schooler. (Today I'm going to the Cubs game with Kathleen and her freshly-minted high school graduate daughter, so I'll ask her about her life plans then.) I spoke to Kathleen's next door neighbor about her completely charming 5-year-old daughter, who was quite a character. And I got an inspiring pep talk about going out on my own, becoming a freelance writer.

I didn't think about my problems again until I got home. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning with a killer migraine. I must NOT let my sister rob me of happiness like that!

And I have learned yet again the Elizabeth Edwards lesson -- which is to "find solace and strength from friends and strangers." When I feel overwhelmed, my instinct to go off by myself, to appear strong, may not always be the wisest path.

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