Today I learned some important things: (1) we live in a small community, (2) my son is a professional, (3) I can be a dingbat at times. Now, I already know these things. I have certainly had plenty of confirmation of at least the third thing, but reminders and new experiences of them are reinforcing.
This morning I experienced small community in the gathering of some of our congregation to paint our fiesta booths a bright yellow and red for next year's fiesta. We put on an annual fiesta, open to all from near and far, as a fundraiser for Old Mission, our church. By the time we were done, the front of all the booths were painted, and the backs of some of us were painted (accidentally) by the spray gun wielded by a certain John, who supposedly knew how to use the thing. We shared breakfast before we began and lunch partway through. Fr. Ed helped out the entire time, and we were "community."
Then came Mass, after which Donnie and I headed into a nearby small city with a supermarket (we have only a country store) to get some groceries. On the way right in front of us, a car dove off the road into a tree, seemingly as if planned. Very strange, we thought, and called 911. The dispatcher took the information and asked some questions about location specifics which we were able to answer. He told us that he had already dispatched, as he had been speaking, the local sheriff and an ambulance in case there was a medical reason for the accident. (They showed up nearly instantly; after hanging up, I got out of the car, found the tree-stopped driver who was by then out of his car, too, and determined that he was okay just as the sheriff walked up to us.) Before hanging up, the dispatcher added, "by the way, you are talking to your son." Oh, my! I had not recognized Shane's voice. He sounded so professional that I never thought of the connection with Shane, with the fact that he is now back with California Highway Patrol and now doing dispatch for the two local counties. In spite of the "goofy mother" syndrome, it was quite pleasant to hear what a professional and calm response he had to someone calling in. One does not always get an opportunity in life to see what a good worker one's child is.
Similarly, years ago when Lemony was pregnant with Nathaniel, a friend, already a grandmother, told me that being a grandparent is better than being a parent because you can enjoy the kids without being responsible for them. Over the years, I have come to agree that being a grandparent is very special and perhaps even better than being a parent but for a different reason than my friend had given: the best part of being a grandparent is watching your child be a good parent. The traumas that Shane and Lemony have managed competently and calmly with Nathaniel and especially with Nikolina have been rewarding to observe (and, of course, to help with).