Turning 50 in four days has had me thinking, actually for a few months now that I wanted to do some sort of list, 50 things I’m grateful for, 50 people who mean the most, 50 things I want to do but haven’t yet – my bucket list. Life at this age becomes a list, mostly because I find myself taking stock but also because I won’t damn remember if I do not write it down. Funny…..because it’s true.
So I started to write some of these down: I’m grateful for my health, my family, my friends, my dogs and it didn’t seem to have any real meaning. Not that I’m not grateful but they were easy to name and I didn’t seem to be doing any REAL personal reflection. Ok how about 50 people who mean/meant the most to me. As I started naming names to myself, always seemed to leave someone out and I don’t want to hurt feelings – just trying to take stock and not have to do a whole lot of explaining as to why someone didn’t “make the cut.”
Then Friday morning, my dog Bella walked up the bed at 4:30am licked my chin and then snuggled next to me and fell back asleep and I realized – that’s it …..moments. In a lifetime, it’s all the moments good, bad or ugly. Then I thought of the millions of moments in the 18, 528 days I’ve been alive….well you get the idea…I’m going to list 50 moments. However they come to mind, whatever they are. In one sitting, in no particular order. Just what comes to mind. So here goes…..this is my list of the last almost 5 decades. **Disclaimer** I’ve enjoyed all the moments – please stay out of your feelings and don’t direct them at me if you aren’t mentioned. LOL
- 1975 – The first time I got to go on the train by myself to my grandmothers for school vacation. I remember the excitement of that independence, watching the trees and towns pass, it’s the same feeling I get today – How I do love to travel!
- The multiple times I’ve sat in a Paris cafe completely relaxed eating a croque monsieur, drinking a cafe au lait just watching life go by
- The first time you get to hold a baby, kiss their sweet soft foreheads and welcome them to the world
- The time I was on the red line in Boston with my (at the time) 3 yr old nephew Zachary headed to the Aquarium. It was 8am or so, cranky AM commuters, no one speaking or smiling and we were coming to the only above ground stop Charles MGH when you can see the water – the sun was out and he squeeled and yelled loudly, “Aunt Son Son look —- BOATS!” And everyone in a 15 seat distance smiled and collectively “awwwed” at the beautiful innocence of a child
- In the movie theatre with my friend Jodi seeing What About Bob for the first time and it was at the point where the film crew is about to arrive and just before Richard Dreyfus goes off about him “never being gone” Jodi and I look at each other and her eyes WERE FILLED with water – they looked like pools about to spill over and she trying to catch her breath says, he’s still there just as Richard Dreyfus yells we were choking – could not breath laughing
- 1996 my first year in SC – Working at Bell Atlantic Mobile I was coming back to work from a cigarette break and I meet this random girl in the elevator, she is nervous about to go to an interview – I smile and give her a pep talk about how she will do fine. A few months later, with a different friend, I go to a Christmas party at her friends house and the girl from the elevator opens the door. It was the night I met the woman who would be in my life for over 22 years now.
- January 1, 2015 as I rounded past the 2 mile marker at the New years day run, my legs felt great and I realized I was about to finish my very first 5k where I ran the ENTIRE thing – crossing that finish line ……………
- July 20 2009 – Headed to Paul’s house after work, knowing when I arrived that we only had hours left…telling him it was ok to go, it would suck but we’d be ok and that I loved him. Saying loudly again, I hope you hear me Paul Graham – I said I love you and with as much energy as he could muster he said, “Jesus I hear you……then barely a whisper, I love you too.” That was Paul found a way to make me laugh even through the tears
- October 1979 – We were in Vermont at my cousin’s house playing with my 18 month old sister on the living room floor….and after 18 months of her looking at me saying with her arms reached up, saying “Sa-wah” pleading to be carried – my mother called her from the dining room….my sister stood up and like she had been practicing while I wasn’t watching – walked for the very first time across the room….sat there mouth agape thinking you little shit!
- Disney in Florida with my sister, her young children, their father, my father…..standing in yet another line for a ride in February with 1.8 million other people also there for winter break….and my niece Molly reaches her arms up grunting….I pick her up…she puts her little face in her hands with her elbows propped on my chest “Aunt Son Son” I reply, “Yes baby, what is it?” She says as she flips her hair back, “I want to sing a Christmas song.” Everyone in the line near us hummed with her breaking up the monotony of waiting
- When its a hot day, middle of summer, on the beach…crack open a cold beer and that first sip as the icy coldness goes down in that fantastic cooling sensation
- Most every night starting in probably 1974 to 1978, when my father was home from work at bedtime, my brother would come in my room or mine in his and we would sit enthralled, hanging on every word my father said to us as he would make up bedtime stories about Flopsy and Mopsy and their rabbit adventures (summaries of our days we would figure out later and laying down the foundation early of how to tell a story)
- Superbowl Sunday 2001, my last miscarriage. By the grace of god, my sister happened to be visiting on her drive back to NY as she moved back from out west. I knew it would be the last time I would have a chance for a child of my own, I didn’t want to take a chance of surviving it again. She never said a word, the game was on TV and she just crawled into bed next to me and in silence provided the support I needed that day.
- June 17, 1996 – My first day at Bell Atlantic Mobile – I walked into the training room and sat next to the friendliest face in the room… ….She had a 1000 watt smile and said in this southern drawl, “hey, I’m Dee!!” We have been friends ever since.
- Wendy’s 1984 ish? My friend Mel and I at our first job, in the cooler getting stuff to stock the salad bar. The fruit was grapes and I bet her I could fit 50 grapes in my mouth…she said B.S….so I started putting them in my mouth. Well we must have been in there awhile because the Manager Dave opened the door and yelled, “What are you two doing?” I busted out laughing and about 30 grapes came flying out of my mouth all over him. Um we were never assigned together in the same “area” again
- Winter 2002 ish? Taking Dad to see Merle Haggard, one of his favorites, at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC – Just being with him seeing The Hag, singing along and watching my father enjoy every minute of the show.
- 1985 – Paris – PLM St. Jaques 5pm or so – discovering I had the chicken pox – calling the hotel Dr who would be “to your room in an hour” – waiting for the chaperones to arrive. One hour later, knock at the door…Sonja grabs person…pulls him in, starts frantically saying “pox du poulet” The man looks confused, so I remove my shirt (had a bra on) repeating – “Pox du poulet” (my phrase for chicken pox) and the man saying in his VERY best english – “Zee Doc-tore izzz goi-ing to be late”
- September 1986 – Albany NY – first night in an apartment on my own and with my new roommates – We went to our first college party……….it would be the first of many….Oh what a night……..I love those ladies to this day!
- September 2006, just a few days before my niece Maddison’s first day of school. While her sister napped in the afternoon, I sat with her on the couch and taught her how to tie her shoes. The look on her face the first time she did it on her own….Priceless.
- September 1973 – My first day of school – per my request my maternal grandmother took a Greyhound bus from Plattsburgh, NY to Glens Falls, NY (she couldn’t drive) and walked me to school my very first day.
- April 3, 1978 – sitting on same grandmothers lap crying about my new sister and her incessant crying asking if we could send her back and her explaining to me in that gentle way she had No but it would be ok and someday, my brother, my sister and I would be best friends. Oh how wise that woman was.
- 1975 – 3rd grade – Mrs. Prindl my favorite teacher ever calmed me as I cried because I couldn’t find a book to read in the library, handed me a book about Helen Keller. I became fascinated. She instilled a lifelong love of reading and learning.
- June 1986 – I had invited Mrs. Prindl to my graduation party at my house. She came and I was OVER THE MOON happy. The picture of her and I on my porch is one of my favorites.
- March 13, 2018 – Starting at Eckerd Connects. One of those life changing moments when I realized this is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be doing the work I’m supposed to be doing.
- Halloween 2007 ish? My nephew Mason dressed up like Batman in a mask way too big…falls off these stairs as my sister and I gasp = you hear him say “shit!” and before we could laugh or think of it – he jumps up – puts his arms above his head and yells, “I’M OK” #nailedit
- September 1994 – Getting a call from my mother saying I needed to get home and watch my sister. My father had been in an accident. He would be brain injured and come home, literally not knowing who we were. It was a dark road for a couple years as he made his way back and took a toll on all of us, especially my mother.
- March 2011? Dad’s 2nd quadruple bypass with a pig valve replacement. My brother, sister and I in the CICU waiting room at Roper Hospital in downtown Charleston playing rummy….my brother spots a rummy in the pile, his turn…stands up as he slaps the table and LOUDLY SCREAMS RUMMY!!!! My sister and I laugh hysterically, my mother DOES NOT – hushing us and this guy about my brothers age walks across the room and says – Can I join this game? The three of us looked at him like he was crazy but let him. We made a new friend – All 3 Randall children together = A LOT TO TAKE! He was a brave soul.
- Running in the morning at 4:30am – just my thoughts and the sound of my feet hitting the ground……….my therapy………..when my mind clears.
- March 2017 – Parris Island – starting the run – taking a salt pill hugging my friend Catherine saying I’ll be back as I ran away and hearing my friend Maureen’s voice. Giving her a big hug and off I went…..I smiled all three miles of that leg of it…..knowing with every step I was almost at the finish and that it was the day I, ME, I was going to become a triathlete.
- 1991 – living in Watertown, MA – Mom, sister, sister in law (then roommate) and her sister walking home from where bus dropped us off after an afternoon in Harvard Sq. My mother (WHO never says the “F” word) bent over a car very confused…repeating over and over – “F” -ing groovin? “F” -ing groovin? “F” -ing groovin? My sister and I are shocked, laughing at my mother repeatedly saying this word when I walk back to see what she is looking at – one of those stick figure bumper stickers and it was on a bicycle – and I hysterically say to her, MOM – that says farfegnugen……..Um she claims it was because she didn’t have her glasses on. I didn’t believe her then but uh as I approach 50 – I realize it can happen LOL LOL
- September 17, 1993 – With my friend Gina – my belated birthday gift. We go to the Boston Garden to see Billy Joel (the last musical artist there before they tore it down btw!) He plays for three hours! 2nd encore – he comes out, spotlight, piano. Plays the first 8 notes of Piano Man – the ENTIRE Boston Garden stands up and sings the song TO HIM -he just sat and played piano.
- November 2014 – James Island Connector run – My very first 5k. I got passed by a girl on crutches funny yes but the best part was getting to the last 1/4 mile, tired mad at myself for walking parts of it but determined to finish….I see my friend Kate….she had finished EONS before me but had been part of my training group and I had tears in my eyes as she came up to me and ran with me cheering me on, delivering me to the finish line. Oh how I love my NOBO people!!!!
- Parris Island again – My friend Kayla – a literal mermaid says – I will be done before you get in the pool and I will be there to cheer you on and get you thru it. Knowing then, same as now, I SUCK at swimming unlike her and was INCREDIBLY nervous. And true to her word, as I doggie paddled, floated on my back and kicked, got kicked by the 86 yr old man multiple times, swam over and attempted front crawl for every meter of that 500 meters….there she was kneeling on the deck at the end of each full lap cheering me on. I love my tribe.
- The fun I had the day my sister got dragged around by (3) of her friends making her do incredibly embarrassing things to get clues about her birthday trip we were going on. Then finally talking to her on the phone as she pieced together and the sound in her voice (she had had a REALLY BAD YEAR and I was taking her on vacation she knew but I let her believe it was a cruise) when she found out we were going to Europe. A trip she would have NEVER thought to do because she was a mother of 3 small kids and it was not practical.
- Every minute my sister and I shared together in Amsterdam, Belgium, Rome and Paris on that trip. Seeing her get to see my favorite places and explore new ones with her was the trip of a lifetime. We have done it twice now and I can’t wait to go again.
- Early May 1996, maternal grandmother is in the hospital and I drive to Plattsburgh to be with her. Slide into the room after 10pm at night, she was sleeping. Got a blanket from the nurses station….got in the recliner chair and next to her bed went to sleep. Heard her stir and woke up, as I looked at her, she grabbed my hand and said, I knew you’d be here when I woke up. We had a connection like that….we had a great talk that next day, I knew it would be our last. She said she would be at my brothers wedding in spirit and told me to go find my life in SC and be happy. I’m so glad I had that time. She passed 4 days after my brother’s wedding and I had just gotten to SC – I couldn’t afford to go back to NY at that point. But I had had 28 beautiful years of moments with my Mimere that I cherish – especially this one.
- Finding out my niece Abby was going to go to Paris for the first time, I was so excited, I told her about different things she was going to get to see and how it was my MOST favorite place on earth and how I had also gone in high school. When she got home, I had the BEST time talking to her about the trip and all that she saw. I hope for all of my nieces and nephews that they will have at least a small sense of wanderlust and want to see new places and learn new things all their lives.
- Being 5 to 7 yrs old (1974 to 1977-ish) at my paternal grandparents camp. My grandfather, in hindsight BRILLIANT to get kids to be quiet, would have us sit perfectly still on the ground in front of him at their lake house on Fern Lake. People don’t believe me but there are plenty of witnesses, he was like the chipmunk whisperer. They would come up to him and go around his neck and get peanuts out of his shirt pocket. He’d fill a beer cap with beer and put a peanut in it and we’d quietly squeel with glee to watch the chipmunk eat the peanut and pick up the cap like a glass and drink the beer. He was right because many a time, when we sat still long enough, they would come into our laps and eat the peanuts. Amazing….as a child the COOLEST thing ever too!! He had peace and quiet with multiple kids waiting on chipmunks sitting perfectly still and quiet…..again BRILLIANT! LOL
- Rainy Sundays on the couch – watching The Godfather ALL DAY
- Flying to Boston with Paige for the weekend because when your favorite member of Fleetwood Mac (Christine McVie) decides to tour again…You GO SEE THEM!! What an awesome night and weekend of good eating and showing her a pieces of my past before I met her.
- The tip tip tap sound of my girl Darby’s feet on the floor…two years after she was rescued from that puppy mill and she has learned to trust again. She is such a happy gentle dog………I love that sound.
- The joy Bella gets chasing her ball as she barrels down a hallway and literally JUMPS in the air over the door threshold……..pure happiness.
- Triangle meetings with Dana and Christine and the literal laughing until we cry over cold beer and food.
- The last email I ever sent at Verizon, I cried the whole time I wrote it. I wanted to pass on some advice, let her know how important our time had been together and let her know how amazing I KNEW she was. Mudiwa and I met at a very difficult time in both of our careers in Hanover, Md and for 7 years she reported to me and worked with me often on a team just the two of us. We learned a lot together, went through a lot together…I took her to Mexico for D&D…long story. Anyways, I had called a bunch of folks that week and those were tough as were the live goodbyes at the building but I couldn’t call her. Luckily, we have remained friends and I still cherish the time I get to talk to Mudiwa live or on IG!!
- Taking naps on a Sunday afternoon. My Sundays are sacred to me for years now….They are the day I do nothing and most of the time completely check out, turning off my cell phone.
- Saturday afternoon and summer days as a kid/pre-teen and walking with other neighborhood friends and kids to Butterfield’s to get candy.
- July 1984 – My 16th birthday had my party at Skateland with my friends. I loved Garfield and always wanted a fun cake. Bonnie Holz – god rest her soul, my friend Heidi’s Mom made me a Garfield cake. It was AWESOME! I still have the picture of me blowing out the candles and you can see the joy on my face.
- A significant amount of Thursday nights in the late 90’s and early 2000’s spent having cold beers and laughs with Paul, Mike Kenny and his now wife Chrissie – Oh the times we had!
- My niece Cydney, a little Red Sox fan sitting on my lap, probably 5 yrs old at the most…and I told her I was going to put in NY Yankee grass all the way to their pool so that her little feet would burn as she ran out there. Kid never missed a beat and said, “That’s fine Son Son….where do you think Bugsy (their dog at the time) goes to the bathroom?” I laughed hysterically….love that kids wicked sense of humor like some other family members I know!
- Summer 2004 – The three week bus trip Stacy and I took to Europe on our crazy 7 country, I don’t even remember how many cities at this point trip. Oh the fun we had and the friends we made LITERALLY from all over the world. Too many moments to mention as she, Jodi, Jodi’s mother and I ventured out every stop exploring off the beaten path a very much NOT guided tour. It was amazing
More laughs than tears, more ups than down. Four days until I turn 50. Here’s to the first 5 decades and hopes for many more decades and memories to come.
Until next time friends,
Peace, love and black coffee