Monday, February 4, 2013

Seven months, two days

My son is seven months, two days clean and sober today. He celebrated the seven-month mark this past Saturday, but I had limited computer access because my wife and I were traveling. So I didn't have time to post anything here.

It seems like just yesterday that I was posting about the six-month milestone. The month of January went by so fast, as did another month of sobriety. And with every single day--every single hour, actually--I remain eternally grateful that my son is experiencing this new life of his.

He's so much more mature than he was just a few months ago. He's becoming the adult I thought he could be, with commitment to sobriety, sober friends, a job, a girlfriend he adores; all the things that seemed to be out of reach for him not too long ago. (By the way, he brought his girlfriend over for dinner one night last week. She is beautiful and very nice. It's also obvious that she has a very calming effect on my son. I think that's great for him.)


So my wife and I took a long weekend and went to Pittsburgh to see our friend and favorite musical artist--Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards--perform on Saturday night. On Friday, we started our trip to Pittsburgh and stopped in Akron, Ohio, to have lunch with my wife's aunt and uncle. That was a lot of fun, because we don't get to see them that often.

After our stop in Akron, we continued on to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where my first cousin once removed--my mother's cousin--lives. She's a travel agent, and I had called her prior to our trip to see if she could get us a good rate for a hotel room in Pittsburgh. She said she could, but suggested we stop and see her on Friday evening, have dinner with her, and spend Friday night at her house. Then we could continue on to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. So that's what we did.

I was nervous about the stop/stay in Beaver Falls, simply because I hadn't seen my cousin in 44 years. Yup. That's right. 44 years. The last time I saw her, I was seven years old.

As it turns out, family is family and it felt like my cousin and I had stayed connected all these years.  We had a nice dinner with her and talked a lot about family. She had great stories about my mom's side of the family, including lots I'd never heard before. It really was great spending time with her and we intend to go back to visit again soon.

On Saturday morning my wife and I headed to Pittsburgh and got settled in our hotel room. Then we went out for a walk down Carson Street (on the South Side of the city), which is the street the concert venue was on. We had lunch at the legendary Primanti Bros. restaurant, stopped at a chocolatier for dessert, then went back to the room and rested up for the concert.

After an excellent dinner at a cool taco place called Yo Rita, we went on to the Rex Theater where Kathleen Edwards was performing.

Being the old people we are, my wife and I were so excited to find out that the theater had actual seats to sit in! (These days, most of the shows we go to at smaller venues don't have seats. You have to stand.) We grabbed seats in the front row and enjoyed an incredible night of music. Seattle-based singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone performed a great set to open the night. And Kathleen--along with her bandmates Jim Bryson and Gord Tough--put on an amazing show (as usual).

After the show, we went backstage (actually, upstairs) with Kathleen to talk for a bit and give her a little gift bag of goodies we brought for her, Jim, and Gord. Kathleen is so kind and generous. And such a good soul. If you've never heard her music, you need to check it out. Her songs have been an instrumental part of my healing over the years.


Back to my son for a minute. All the one-day-at-a-times are adding up. I hope and pray that they keep adding up, too. My wife and I continue to live in the moment and don't allow ourselves to look into the future and play the "What if?" game. We would much rather enjoy every waking moment and revel in the here and now.

I posted a quote on Facebook this morning and it's advice that everyone should heed:

"We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can't relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased." --Pema Chodron (from her book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change)

My wife and I choose to "relax and embrace."

Seven months and two days. I thank my son's higher power every day for watching over him. And I thank my higher power for watching over me (and my wife) and leading us down the road of own recovery. I believe something might have finally "stuck" for all of us. And I hope whatever it is is sticky as hell.

"The idea wasn't to stop anything. The idea was to start everything." --David Ryan Adams

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