It was a frantic race to cram everything in this week with the deadline of Memorial Day weekend as the finish line. Projects to wrap up, proposals to submit and of course, events. Parties to check in with, dinners and luncheons to attend, and future events to discuss.
Like everyone else, I plotted how to make an early escape from New York on Friday. Early morning boxing with Brent could not be missed even though I was fatigued from a long workweek, exacerbated by going to the midnight showing of Terminator Salvation (followed by a second viewing 20 hours later.) I could blame my son for that, but he would shrug and just blame me. (We have waited interminably for this movie!)
With good intentions, I packed my bag with every ignored yet important folder on my desk, a stack of to-do lists and every magazine and periodical in the unread pile. Amazing that I was able to carry it all home. The final conference call of the week would take place in transit.
At long last, a weekend in the country, at our quaint house where we had not spent a family weekend since Labor Day. A quick trip to the supermarket and I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, a reunion with dear neighbors.
Memorial Weekend. What was I not remembering?
That the toilet in the main bathroom did not flush. The dishwasher that wasn't working in September still did not work. The outdoor faucet still leaked. And most significantly, at 60 degrees, the fridge was useless. It didn't matter.
That my three teenagers were dragged up under protest was insignificant. They had almost 9 months of city weekends - a fair trade. I was desperate to sleep with windows wide open, wake up in the country, and enjoy going outdoors without taking an elevator.
I am outrageously fortunate to have an escape hatch, even with sulking children and rebellious appliances. It is Memorial Day Weekend and the gaiety of the holiday weekend and the desire to throw oneself into self-indulgent activities is fine, but I find myself looking for meaning in the act of remembrance.
My thoughts go to two events we had at the Plaza. The first was for the National Audubon Society; Women in Conservation, an awards ceremony honoring women who are making a difference in the world and bringing positive change to our environment through their actions. And though the gathering is set in elegant ladies luncheon environment, the call to action makes you want to jump into rugged work clothes, plant a field, clean the planet, scale a mountain... in short, remember that each of us can make a change in the world. (http://www.womeninconservation.org/).
This years awardees had powerful messages. Dr. Sylvia Earle, an extraordinary scientist, oceanographer, writer and conservationist summarized the urgency of the plight of our oceans. "No blue, no green," she said linking the importance of healthy oceans to a healthy planet. She is deeply concerned about fish life, stating that "Fish are not a commodity" - and the entrée was chicken, not fish (not a coincidence!) (http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/audubon-rachel-carson-awards-47051905). Remember our place in the world; remember our obligation to our planet and to each other.
The other event was the KiDS of NYU Hospital gala dinner, where the emphasis was naturally, on children. KiDS focus is on the unique needs of children and their families while funding research into childhood illnesses. These advocates for children who struggle with illness are passionate and remarkably sensitive (http://www.kidsofnyu.org/). Honoree Dr. Joseph Levy acknowledged his award with memorable style. As Director of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Program, he described each step the affiliated services play in the course of treatment, and proceeded to introduce a member of each department to join him on stage. Within several minutes, over 10 cooperative practices were on the stage (never mind that 9 of the 10 were brilliant, accomplished women).
An honoree who not only remembered to thank his co-workers, but shared the spotlight with them. A very memorable moment.
Memorial Day - official kick off to the summer; a long weekend for weary workers; a day of bar-b-q's and indulgences, and above all, a day of remembrance and time to think about the men and women who have sacrificed life and limb for our country. It is sobering, in spite of all our political differences and in the midst of our individual preoccupations and economic worries.
The soldiers who we honor and remember share this stage and enable us to enjoy our way of life. They are honorees who are often overlooked, but not today. We pause today and express our heartfelt thanks for their service and are in awe of their sacrifices. And we appreciate this day for reminding us of the importance of honoring the people who teach us values and fight our battles on so many fronts (health, education, environment to name a few) every day.
The weekend is now almost done. One by one, the children are escaping back to the city and I have not opened a single file though I still fully intend to.