Dancing With The Stars

Orion. What I would give to go visit.

Rachael got out our telescope tonight. This thing is enormous. I don’t know the specifications of this beast, but the 8 x 50 on the little lens on top gave me a clue that the bigger one must be darn powerful. We fooled around with it quite a bit before getting it to work, and were treated to dazzling views of the stars in Orion’s belt.

She started to bounce around the deck, babbling on about the Pleiades, Castor and Pollux, Venus, Mars and both of the Ursas. I watched this kid, delighting in her delight, and felt the wonder again of the gift of parenthood.

The Pleiades. I wonder who lives there?

The Bible says that “Children are a gift of the Lord”, a crown” a “grace” and all kinds of other complimentary things.  Mine are rocketing toward adulthood, heading for unknown galaxies far, far away. It’s just the coolest thing to watch.

I’m grateful for you people, because I feel the lack of a partner acutely in times like this.  Chris was as much into parenting as I am, and sometimes we would just look at each other and shake our heads. What a riot, what an amazement this whole gig has turned out to be.

I mean, four kids? What the hell were we thinking? Actually, I wanted to adopt a fifth, but someone was too chickenhearted to take the plunge. (You listening up there, honey?)

Those of you who started with me know their stories, and I know  you are all holding your breath a bit too, wondering how this is going to play out. Traumatized children can easily go bananas, and I was warned. They were so brave during Chris’s ordeal, treating him with love while watching him undergo this horrifying transformation.

When he died, everyone I respected warned me, as gently as they could, that they would probably crater in some way or another. While I have found that too be true to a limited degree, the bomb really hasn’t blasted us apart.

The past six months have been very intense for us on many levels, mainly because the girls are going to college. Gracious, certain words are just giant buttons for me now : applications, early decisions, roommate, Ivy, financial aid, FAFSA (Oh, just writing that one incites an inner desire for violence) and lastly, tuition. ARGH!

The Lierheimer ship is beginning to right itself now, though. Abigail is four for 4 on her first choices, the most exciting of which is admission to Boston University School of Fine Arts. Imagine this, people, forty four THOUSAND young people applied for thirty nine HUNDRED  freshman spots. Abi got one of them! Isn’t that fabulous? The kid’s a rock star.

Both of them got into DU, with a sizeable basket of merit scholarship cash handed to them, thank God. Both of them have worked so hard, they deserve every penny, and I’m grateful.

So, here we are. Part of me is dancing for joy for these kids. I am thoroughly delighted to see them gathering the fruits of their labor, particularly given the events of the past two years.

Part of me though, the part that walks down my father’s driveway alone, the part that scuffs the crack in the pavement and misses my mother, part of me is very sad.

She’d be thrilled, the poor coal miner’s daughter from Pennsylvania. The only one in her family who went to college. I so wish I could tell her.

I wish I could go with them, I wish I could learn about medicine with Faith, about art with Abi, and understand the Swahili that Christopher speaks in Fluid Dynamics, whatever that is.

But it is not to be. The tendrils of family stretch tight, and farther than I thought possible. They will always be my kids, these wonderful young adults, but they’re not children anymore.

It’s all good though. Sickness and death have taken a reprieve from our household, and the possibilities are endless. Just like God, the universe for them seems eternal. They are dancing among the stars, and I get to clap. How great is that!

Much love,



7 thoughts on “Dancing With The Stars

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