Loyola Chicago Law Graduation May 2014
Bethy takes the llinois Bar Exam next week in Chicago, and Katie thought up “Bethy’s Bar Bonanza” as a way for us to show Beth our love and support. Katie assigned each of us rotating days to write a message or share a quote for our aspiring attorney. Katie labeled 30 envelopes: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. and she collected thoughts from Brendan in LA and Brigid, Bobby, and herself in Seattle. She filled the designated west coast envelopes and mailed them to me along with an Excel spread sheet of dates assigned to each family member. (Yes, she’s a born teacher.) Tim, Kevin, and I filled our respective envelopes in Valpo.
On July 1, I texted Bethy in the basement (I know, it’s ridiculous) to say there was an envelope for her on the kitchen counter. She replied, “What is it? It sounds scary.” I didn’t respond. On July 2, I put the Day 2 envelope on the counter and sent Bethy the same text. On Day 8, I placed my home-made card in the arms of a Care Bear, Bethy’s favorite childhood stuffed animal. Sunshine Bear along with encouraging notes about discipline, social justice, unconditional love, and classic family memories help light a path toward Bethy’s sense of empowerment. Quotes from Nietzsche (Bethy hears the music of law), Thomas Buckner (once the battle with focus is won, everything is easy), J.K. Rowling (overcoming evil), David Sadaris (humor is key), and Donatello (a favorite Power Ranger from toddler days), along with others pepper Bethy with inspiration. Tim’s favorite photos of Bethy as a child accompany his personal words of encouragement while Bobby provides YouTube video links for study breaks.
One week to go – and we know Bethy will pass. Then she can change the world.
Please, no more mountains. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
5.1 miles on my Garmin, no record, no credit. No badge points. Wasted uphill mileage would have counted as stairs climbed. I didn’t realize that the gadget wasn’t in my pocket until I returned from my run and Tim said, “Nance, I don’t think your Fitbit is syncing.” “Really?” I reach in my shorts’ pocket, and it’s not there. “It must have fallen out of my pocket.” “Bummer.” Frustrated, I think of the $99 spent on this baby-finger sized electronic that I’ve become attached to. It’s “way to go,” “you’ve climbed 25 flights,” “1331 steps to go!” prompts have led to a weird sense of satisfaction. And the taunts with Tim and Katie like “get moving” have been a new-age way to connect on a different level. Tim and Katie gang up on me and tease me about my crazy lifestyle. Katie claims she must read more than me, and Tim says he doesn’t have the luxury of multiple walks across campus. The subtle competition facilitates creative banter. Defeated, I think of Tim Healy asking me last spring about why I bought a Garmin watch. “Nancy, you’ve been running for 30 years without that thing.” “But now I know exactly how far I run.” Tim Healy just shook his head. What would he say now about mourning over a misplaced Fitbit. He’s a purist, and I think I am one, too, but I can’t squelch my disappointment over not having my steps count. My husband Tim walks in the kitchen and says, “Nance, here it is. It’s charging on the counter.” Instead of feeling relief, I’m annoyed that FB is not storing my morning run, not to mention the strolls around the house and the trips to the bathroom. I clip FB to my shorts, go about the rest of my day, and manage to reach my daily goal of 15,000 steps – only because we are on vacation and I have forbidden us from taking a van anywhere. Kevin and Brigid are ready to trade me in for a new mom. As we’re going to bed, Tim realizes that his Mr. FB was in another pair of shorts. “Bummer,” I say. “That whole mountain climb won’t count.” But we both know that it does.
I am in Steamboat Springs, CO, with Tim, Brigid, and Kevin, and right now, to me, it is the most beautiful place in the world. This morning, Tim dropped me off at the Steamboat Fitness Studio for a Core Yoga Vinyasa Flow class that almost killed me. I’ve gotten over trying to pray my way through poses and have learned to rely on my breath – with the coaching of many instructors.
After yoga, Watson and I ran along the Yampa, and as I watched him veer off the path for occasional drinks from the crystal clear river, I was struck by his eternal gratefulness for the cool water. His tail wagged rythmically as he completely immersed himself in the gift. His beautiful simplicity and joy permeated my thoughts.
While running, I day dreamed about all the family and friends who would love to see what I see. Katie, Bethy, Brendan, Bobby, mine and Tim’s brothers and sisters, our mothers, the Biesens, running soulmates, Chicago friends, book club, our travel group, Valpo friends, U of I dinner group, the Masters Swim team…. But they’re not here. Appreciation for them overhwhelms me, but presence here and now is what matters. My desire to share all that I love about Steamboat – the peace in these mountains and this spectacular valley – takes me on a path to the future. I need to stay here. Thanks for the reminder, Buddha. What a fluke for me to discover Buddha’s quote printed on the studio yoga mat this morning.