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‘Cause There’s a Million Things To Be

March 5, 2016

File this one in the Wow, They Sure Do Grow Up category.

Darlene and I went together this afternoon to Sharon’s house for a celebration of Sharon’s mom’s life. Mostly it was Sharon’s family who had come in from all over, and it was lovely. While I only met her mom once or twice, I’d heard a lot about her over the years, and enjoyed the stories and slides. Sharon clearly gets a lot of her smarts, talents and generosity from her mom.

But what really got me today was spending a little time with her sons: Eli–who was, for most of Peter’s earliest years, one of his closest buddies–and Jem, a couple of years older.

Here are Eli and Jem, in that order.

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Eli’s rockin’ the sports coat and jeans, and Gem’s rockin’ the glasses and beard. Very men-like!

As I sit in my office this evening, typing this blog, I’m looking at a giant photo montage–the kind you assemble when your kid is Student of the Week in elementary school. It takes up massive wall space high above my desk. Among the photos depicting (at the time) Peter’s life, there’s a sweet picture of Eli and Peter looking very silly together. I’m taken back to that time in Eli and Peter’s life when school, birthday parties, Little League, trips together to Yosemite and the snow, playdates, a million other things, were the center of our universe. There was a multi-year span when Sharon, Darlene, Jim and I would to go out every Friday night with our boys (Eli, Jacob and Peter, and sometimes the older Jem). We talked and laughed over many dinners and many glasses of wine about [many things, but especially] our sons–what they were doing and where they might be going. As you do.

It is just wild to be in this place, now…. their last year in high school, college ahead (and I suppose a lot more beyond that, right?). They are nice young men who have all found their passions and tribes. We’re almost to the where they might be going part.

Yeow.

At the memorial, I had an opportunity for a long, deep, floaty reflection. Eli and his musician pals played a couple of pieces by Antonín Dvořák, in honor of his grandma; I think one was the  American, Op. 96 for string quartets, but don’t quote me on that.  For about twenty transporting minutes, I closed my eyes and was carried back by the music to those years. Time traveled back and forth, looking at their seven-year-old selves and their seventeen-year-old selves, and other selves in-between. It was just such a precious moment.

Darlene took this photo:

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Returning home, I spent a good part of this rainy afternoon lost in an immense rabbit hole of photos… I found lots of Eli and Peter over the years, but wanted one of all three of them. So here are Jacob, Eli and Peter.. it was Peter’s 10th Birthday.

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The title of the blog refers to the song they closed the program with this afternoon. Eli picked Cat Stevens’, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” (from Harold and Maude) and led everyone through a clumsy but joyful sing-along. It was quite moving.

Here are the lyrics, which were meant to represent Sylvia’s life, but also seem so fitting for the day:

Well if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity’s on
And if you find a new way
Well you can do it today

Well you can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see, ah ah ah, it’s easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say, “Yes”
And if you want to say no, say, “No”
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
‘Cause there’s a million things to do
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity’s on
And if you find a new way
Well you can do it today

Well you can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see, ah ah ah, it’s easy, ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are

 

 

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