Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer of our Bliss-content

The marathon seemed to begin with 2nd of four drives through Battle Mountain, NV to bring Barbie and her patient candidate, Elaine, for her practical dental hygiene boards in Orem, Utah. On April 21st her patient was rejected and she, with the confidence of a Navy seal, kept her wits, found a new patient and passed the exam. Two days later, on her 19th birthday, Caitlin accepted Benjamin's Solari's proposal of marriage and set the wedding date for the end of July. A week later we closed on the Provo, Utah house; the only house that my grandparents, Harold and Catherine Anderson, ever owned. A house that they purchased in 1937 and was sold in 1962 when my Grandmother died. This house marked my first recorded memory connected to a fixed date at the age of two and a half.
Three weeks later, Barbie and I flew to Atlanta for the American Urologic Society's annual meeting. It was the following week that two more extraordinary things happened. Barbie turned 50 on May 27th and graduated for dental hygiene school and was chosen by her class to be their voice on this momentous occasion. Her graduation gift ended the 30 year tradition of practical family cars as this one is not kid friendly.

The following day we flew to Pennsylvania to visit Samuel and Michelle at Penn State and, while there, made side trips to Connecticut and the Pentagon for lunch. We even got to observe Samuel performing acoustical experiments measuring cavitation bubbles in a water tunnel.
A week later we flew to Alaska and spent a week visiting with my brother David and his wife Joel'lene. The week culminated in my honored opportunity to speak to the medical community there in remembrance of one of their fallen colleagues and a fellow amyloidosis patient.
Then the preparations began in earnest for Caitlin and Ben's wedding. A thousand details, all with a deadline of July 28th, miraculously flowed together to create that magical moment when your last child and youngest daughter melds her life with a new man. May he love her as I always have and always will. He married an angel.
While they honeymooned in Kauai, Barbie and I prepared for our family vacation to the Marriott Newport Coast villas. We also celebrated are 30th wedding anniversary on August 6th with a trip to Santa Clara for my four year anniversary heart biopsy and pressure studies. Not only did my heart show no rejection, additionally we found that my cardiac index is 3.0 (very good) and their is no evidence of amyloid deposition. We also celebrated by visiting the temple in Oakland where we were married 30 years before and then relaxed on the beach in Pacifica until we picked up Ben and Caitlin from the airport.
With our our four children, now all married, we met for the first time as the complete package in Southern California. It was a wonderful week as we all relaxed together before the mounting responsibilities of September began.
We spent every day in the warm southern California surf and caught some awesome and totally gnarly waves. This time I did not fracture a rib, I only tore a cartilage at the costochodral junction of my right 6th rib. It seemed to hurt less when I got back in the water to shoot some tubes on my new Boogie Board that Barbie got me for my 53rd birthday.
We returned home in time for Barbie to direct music for our Lincoln Stake Conference and celebrated a quiet birthday with an enchilada dinner ( something I have often requested since childhood.)
Two days later we drove to Utah for the fourth time to move Ben and Caitlin into our new house in Provo and fix it up for the extended Anderson family open house which we had last Saturday. It was a treat to have my Mom (age 78), my Aunt Gloria (age 88) and my Uncle Harold, my dad's brother (age 89) there with many of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at the home where it all began. So many stories and memories were shared. As cousins roamed through the house, Patty, Harold's second daughter shared a tender moment. She pointed to the upstairs landing and recalled that she and her older sister Karen, ages 7 and 8 respectively, were sitting there in April of 1959 when an emotional father slowly ascended to inform them that their grandfather had just died downstairs. It was their first memory of seeing him cry.
Monday we waved goodbye to Ben and Caitlin on the steps of our new home as they begin their new life together. It was bittersweet.
Today Barbie started work as a dental hygienist and I restarted chemo after a month vacation. We are back.

Last Saturday, as the my kinfolk were leaving, my cousin Doug thanked me for the wonderful day of reminiscing. I replied that, since my brush with mortality, I have become very interested in investing. The only commodity that matters are relationships; and the only investment worth making is in building memories. In our reunion we shared lost and individual memories with each other; our common home as the catalyst. The present moment captured past experiences for future generations. I believe that this summer had an incredible return on investment as we lived our lives to the fullest and reaped hundreds of moments of joy which now serve to further enrich our portfolio of cherished memories.

Let the next generation begin.