Guilty and Grateful

2016 nationalsI went to bed last night, slightly tipsy and thoroughly happy – all my people were where they were supposed to be and they were safe and happy. Andy (far left) was in Princeton for nationals. While his boat did not do as well as he’d hoped, they won their final leaving them in 12th place in the US. Andy’s not thrilled but, I think it’s kind of cool.

Mike, Tim, Ian and I went to Gainesville for a wedding on Saturday. Not just any wedding. Christi’s (Christi was the girl-that-is-a-friend and is now my daughter-in-law.) brother Tyler was getting married. We’ve known Tyler since he was a little boy. There are few kids I’ve enjoyed watching grow up more than Tyler. And, now he has a Mrs. Tyler! Susan, actually. They are one of the best couples I’ve ever met.

tyler weddingThe wedding was perfect – fun, thoughtful and beautiful all at once. The reception was relaxed and full of awesome food, wine, dancing and laughing – you know, the best kind of wedding. After the wedding, Dan, Christi, Ian, Tim,  me and Mike (in order in the picture) wandered through the streets of Gainesville checking out the night life. Wasn’t it just last year I was packing juice boxes and little baggies of goldfish for the kids – not buying them handcrafted IPA’s? Wasn’t it just five years ago  that Gainesville was Mike and my stomping ground? I haven’t been to Gainesville in a looonnnngggg time.

As always, Mike woke up super-early. He turned the news on (very quietly as Ian, Tim and I were still sleeping) while he had his coffee. And we heard the news about the shootings at Pulse. I have not been able to shake the feeling of sadness and gratefulness all day. Sad for all of the families who lost children/wives/husbands/friends and grateful that my own family had been spared. And, then I felt guilty for feeling grateful – does that make sense?

After 9/11 I was as sad and scared as anyone. But, I felt like I had a little control. Danny had just turned 8 and Andy was not quite 2. They were not going anywhere without me. (I realize this is nonsensical as I have basically no skills to stop a mad man.) Now? They all have lives. Except for Andy (who gets his license in two weeks) they all live on their own and, unless they choose to tell me, I don’t know where they are every minute of the day. And, that’s how it should be. The control freak in me, though, would like to see everyone move back home and let me keep packing juice boxes and goldfish and taking them to the park every afternoon for a couple of hours. Yes, I know that would be creepy and weird – but still.

orlandoI’ve always loved living in Orlando and I still do. For the most part, it’s a pretty happy city. Today that changed. People will rally around those grieving and those caring for the injured. We’ll go back to doing our Florida thing but it will be forever different. I am counting on my belief that the majority of people are not filled with hate. In my life, the people I meet tend to like and accept others and are willing to help each other expecting nothing in return. I plan to keep living my life, helping others when/if I can and not letting fear get the best of me.

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