Within an hour last Friday, I called my mom to let her know I was going to be a father and found myself staring at the desk of a college employee who passed away earlier in the week. Those minutes, so close together, give a real perspective on the circle of life.
I met Amy (aka Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em) through the crazy world of roller derby. A smart, beautiful lady who can converse on science and literature one moment and lay out opposing blockers the next, she and I dated for a while last year, broke up, grew up and got back together. We’ve communicated better the second go-round and generally have been much happier. (While I work in and teach communication for a living, I don’t always use this ability in my personal life.) Then, Thursday evening, she came over with a bit of news to share.
“We’re going to have a baby!” she said, before I could even close the door after letting her in. I could have thought a thousand things at that moment, but joy was the first emotion to leap forward. Many others have shared that joy, including family members. My mother, who may have wondered why both her twin sons took until this year to have children, was pleasantly surprised and thrilled at the news when I called, and giving her a grandchild in October is one of the best parts of this experience. Plus the child will have a whole family of crazy derby aunts and uncles who can’t wait to spoil the future derby girl or ref, depending on gender.
Lots of challenges await all of us on this road, but as I walk around in this daze, I am happy.
I didn’t know Tracy beyond that she would smile and say hello to whomever passed and that she worked in my building. We were all stunned to learn she passed away last week, way too suddenly and way too young. I wrote an In Memoriam piece to email faculty and staff, and talked to one of her Student Accounts co-workers and friends, Debbie. “She was such a giving person,” Debbie said of Tracy. “She was always asking if there was any way she could help. She will really be missed.”
Debbie took me into Tracy’s office area, marked by a tidy and organized desk surrounded by photos of her family. She shied away from public recognition, remaining an unsung hero. And, from talking to Debbie and looking at a desk Tracy would never revisit, the clear picture formed someone who focused on her children and grandchildren. In a world where way too many people obsess over fairly meaningless stats like number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers or Klout scores, here was someone who placed her priorities on a very logical and loving place: her family.
I have a feeling I’m going to start understanding that much more in the days ahead.
Sorry if there’s no profound lesson in social media or the web or management to take away from this entry. Only things like: Life is precious. Life is unpredictable. Life is a gift to be enjoyed and celebrated every day.