Posted by: Kate | June 29, 2009

Old, Older, Oldest

This weekend was a significantly ageing sort of experience.

In a good way, mind you; it wasn’t like the 30 years of gravity that immediately gallumphed about my head and shoulders when I realized that there are people willing to ruin a much-beloved grandfather’s memorial for the sake of being righteous and imperious.  This was, instead, more like the heartbreak that happens when your baby takes his first woozy, velociraptor-stance steps, or when you watch that school bus roll away with your daughter inside it for the first time.

I watched my youngest sister graduate high school – this poor, tiny, small, weak, muscular-dystrophy-laden being whom we were told to expect would never walk or talk.  This sweet, helpless infant that people treated as though her IQ probably resembles that of a mango, because how could someone possibly have an imperfect muscular structure and a keen, sharp brain at the same time?


Yeah, whatever.  This is a kid who has kicked ass from the moment she started swinging those legs, and has caused great delight as we’ve watched her plow through one negative assumption after another.  What’s that?  I’ll never be able to walk?  How’s about I go ahead and join the marching band, how’s that for not walking?  Oh, right, I’ll never be able to succeed in school because the brain is just another muscle, weak and small and unreliable, right?  Or, instead, I could just go ahead and graduate with honors, and continue with my plans to go away to school, to live in the dorms and function on my own.  Got any more doubts and hesitations for me to brush aside before I find some better way of spending my time?


Decidedly a bittersweet and maudlin sort of experience for me, watching the ceremony. Mary has just always lived with such a serene, graceful dignity over this soul of hardcore determination, and at the same time she’s just a cool kid.  Witty, and smart, and quick – someone I can actually, genuinely like, on top of the whole family-so-I-have-to-love-her kind of thing.

So, that added several years onto my weekend, to start.  On top of that,we realized that Emily – my baby, barely 9 years old, practically an infant – will be the next person in our family to graduate high school.  And that Willem is, since the death of Norman, now the oldest male in his direct family line; a patriarch at 33.

Scary, scary stuff, and proof that life does indeed keep rolling along, ready or not.


  1. Congratulations Mary!!

  2. Hooray for Mary!!!!! Congratulations, and with honors, wooooo hooooo!!! She needs to keep those doctors on their toes (they will need to back to school themselves- she is rewriting the book on MD,) I LOVE IT!

  3. Congrats Mary!

  4. mazel tov Mary! Keep on kickin’ ass!

    The generational shift, as we call it around here, is a doozy.

  5. Congratulations, Mary!! I know you are proud of her accomplishments – and I hope she is too!

  6. Congratulations to Mary. I have no doubt that she will continue to kick butt and take names as she makes her own way in this big old world!

  7. Well done Mary! I wish her all the best in the future at uni (or college or whatever you guys call it)
    It’s ALWAYS fun to prove people wrong, isn’t it?!

  8. Congratulations Mary!! I am amazed every time I “hear” you talk about her, and it has been fun, and exciting “watching” her grow the last 5 years.

  9. Congrats and admiration to Mary. You made the obstacles seem easier and proved that determination is a major factor in success. HOORAY!!!!

    Kate~don’t borrow trouble. Emily has years to go and you have many things to keep you busy right now. I keep you in my heart and I am delighted with your new endeavor!!!! ❤

  10. Congratulations to Mary, no mean thing finally making it through. I know how Willem feels. We have this Christmas tradition where presents are opened in an orderly fashion from youngest to oldest . .guess who’s the oldest! GAH!

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