The forecast was for a probable thunderstorm, but that didn’t stop me from joining a small group of parents and their kids to celebrate the end of the school year. It was a BBQ/grill evening organized by the parents of Charlotte’s best friend.
The dark clouds blotted out the setting sun and a new breeze gently drew off the humidity from the warm evening. The four girls played inside and out, bristling with the energy we all had at that age. The seven adults sat around the outside table on the patio and chatted amiably. No-one asked about the empty 8th chair.
As the thunder rumbled in the distance, Charlotte’s parents got busy with firing up the BBQ/grill. And I mean firing up. I don’t know what they did, but flames were a few feet high at one point…talk about flame-grilled beef and turkey burgers…
There was no need for me to feel sorry for myself for being the single parent there. As we all do, I appraised the other parents that I hadn’t met before. One of them seemed younger than the rest of us (which is rare — most people around here started having kids older than I did so I am usually the youngest parent). He also seemed like he was in very good shape. Yes, he was the one who I found out has stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. His wife, the mother of one of the girls, has heart problems. Their daughter, who looks very pretty and was bouncing around with the rest of the girls, was born without a left hip and has had nine surgeries so far to correct this. With this alternative, who am I to worry or complain about small things like a little loneliness and a lost love?
Lightning flashed in the darkening sky just as the food was ready. I brushed off the remnants of the fire extinguisher foam from my burger (OK, not really, please don’t throw up) and chomped on the grilled sweet corn (yum!).
The storm held back until we had all finished eating. The first heavy drops of the incoming storm speckled the patio as the thunder grew louder and more ominous. Around here, it’s not that a thunderstorm is scary but it might precede power outages from downed trees, which are No Fun At All in hot and humid summer weather.
Inside the cool house, we chatted about the kids, upcoming vacations, and the usual Washington things (traffic and commutes, the Metro and the new Silver line and how it will be paid for, etc.). I don’t have enough pleasant and relaxing evenings like this these days, and I drove home with Charlotte feeling all was right with the world.
Amélie is at Summer School now and Brigitte was at a sleepover with another friend, so it was just Charlotte and I in the house. I tucked her into bed. We switched off our alarms and made sure that Brigitte had switched off her alarm (No, she had forgotten…phew, a 5:45am wake-up avoided). After some more work on my new PC to get some things configured and one final e-mail to a distant land, I was off for a deep sleep. Zzzzzzzzzz……