It’s been quite the month for marking significant events.
Marking the End
My stepfather’s mother passed away last spring and her memorial was earlier this month. It was a sad death, as loss always is, but not a tragic one. She lived a long and meaningful life and this gathering was a wonderful time to both celebrate her memory and to create connections among those who knew her.
It was a beautiful service, anchored by a slideshow that told the story of her long life and of her legacy. Carefully curated songs spoke both of her passion for the arts and of her love of beauty. It was again confirmed that I am physically incapable of hearing Amazing Grace without tearing up.
Young children were present at the memorial, a poignant reminder that life goes on. That endings are always followed by beginnings. And, as stories and pictures were passed down to the younger generations, that the past leaves an imprint going forward.
Marking the Transition
Over a decade ago, my husband met a young kid in the dojo. He was first a karate student who then took up jiu jitsu as soon as he was deemed old enough. This boy grew up in the dojo, eventually becoming a young man who earned the respect of his elders both on and off the mat.
He leaves today for adulthood, trading in his childhood home for an immersive language program overseas. We gathered last weekend – his biological family and his martial arts one – to celebrate his accomplishments and to say goodbye for now.
His parents were proud of their son, who is an amazing kid. They were excited about reclaiming their space, as it’s not easy to live with a young adult who is busting at the seams. And they were sad, feeling the loss of the presence of their only child as he begins his independent life. It was a reminder that all changes have both blessings and struggles and that transition, even when it’s expected and positive, can be hard.
Marking a Milestone
This month also marks my fifth wedding anniversary. This one feels especially significant to me. First, it’s now half the length of my first marriage. That somehow holds weight to me. It’s no longer “new.” It’s solid and real.
It’s also been our best year together. We’ve really worked hard at learning and growing and having the difficult conversations. I feel like we’ve navigated some rocky roads and grown closer and more understanding through the process.
In my first marriage, we never marked anniversaries. In this marriage, we do. This weekend, we will again spend a night – for the fourth time – in a swanky hotel downtown. A shared evening without distractions to celebrate us. It’s a reminder that relationships are important and need both attention and intention to thrive.