You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2015.

The truth is, I don’t feel like most of the time I have a busy life.  (The roar of laughter you hear is my husband)

I work, I work out, and I do my parts of keeping the house moving forward.  I have one TV show I follow, and I’m currently 4 weeks behind.  I don’t read recreationally, or knit, and for the last few months I struggle to even care about cooking.

My son goes to bed about two hours after we all get home, and those hours feel short.  I go to bed a couple of hours after that and the best I can describe what I do in that time is “putter”.  It feels like adult life.

When the holidays come around, and for arguments sake we’ll go ahead and start at about Oct 20th here and move through the middle of January, my expectations of my life and what things *feeeEEEeeel* like comes completely unmoored.  And here we are in mid-November and I’ve hit the thick of it.  It is easy to approach the idea of what the end of the year can be and about how I want my son to feeeEEEeeel, the memories I want him to have – but I’m not doing that.

How I want to feeeEEEeeel – my Christmas list.

  1.  I want to feeEEEeeel connected to my family by sharing time together.  I want to feeeEEEeeel like I know them well enough to get a delightful gift for them instead of something that costs $25 at Target.
  2. I want to feeeEEEeeel connected to my family by sharing time together.  I want quiet conversation about how we can take over the world, or make it through the next days, and about the shining and amazing parts of them that I see and I adore.  Also, totally delightful gifts for them – not clutter and burden but useful and easy and uniquely them.
  3. I want to feeeEEEeeel like the people in my home can relax someplace just a little more lovely, through both decoration and general vibe.  That there is hurry surrounding us outside but that this space is a haven made lovely by intention.
  4. I want to feeeEEEeeel like the dogs will chill out, or not eat the tree, or stop waking me up at 4:45 by putting a delicate paw on my ass.
  5. I want to feeeEEEeeel seen.  That I have shared enough of my heart with the people around me that when they see something that would delight me they feel ok about it.  Even if their wallet says “take a picture and send a note like she does”.
  6. I want to see beautiful decorations with a calm enough heart that I can just sigh and enjoy them.
  7. I want to hear music that compels me to sing.
  8. I want to bake and cook even when the only reason to do it is to give it away (because I don’t really want to eat the cookies, or the soups, I just want the house to be warm and smell good).

I don’t need Santa’s reindeer shitting glitter while James Earl Jones reads The Night Before Christmas to 100 orphans that I have brought together.  I just want to be intentional and calm this year (while not defining calm as not-taking-action).

The Christmas I was seven I got a bracelet, I think it had a dancer charm on it to start with.  For the next 20 years or so dad gave me a new charm every Christmas – it had something to do with my year.  Drama masks.  Softball.  Track.  French Horn.  For a long time it was the only thing I got that was just from him.  For years I didn’t wear the bracelet because it was woman sized and I was varying degrees of girl sized.

Then I didn’t wear the bracelet because it was the most precious thing I ever owned.

The year I was 23 I got a charm that had two interlocking hearts (one rose gold, one yellow gold).  I opened a box from my fiancé and there was a bracelet with the same charm on it from him.  I cried for hours.  For a few years after that I got a charm for something related to my year.  A house.  Palm trees for Barbados.  A medical snake for my job at FU.

I didn’t wear that one often.  I don’t even know why.

I’ve collected 4 Pandora-style beads since August, three of them for my 50-mile months, and a 13.1 mile bead for my first half marathon (the first of The Dad Series Runs).  I had been wearing them on a necklace but about a week ago I looked for bracelets that would hold them.  I impulse bought one.

About a day later I thought – well of course it is supposed to be a bracelet.  A bracelet to hold my running charms related to The Dad Series (Chattanooga, Cincinnati, MCM and maybe a race in Coronado at this point).

This week I will sing a dedication at the Athens Symphony to remember the creator / long-time director of the Symphony.  The dress rehearsal and performance will sandwich the Free to Breathe 5k to raise money for lung cancer research.  I am bringing donuts / snacks to the departments of the women I was meeting with on 11/11 last year – the women who were near me when mom called to tell me dad had died.  I am hosting a caregiver support group.

Mainly, I am feeling the way through a new thing.  Wednesday is one year since dad died.  I’m sad and fragile.  I’d buy anything you wanted to sell me.  I’m slightly irritated that you aren’t magical and excellent with ESP.

It is ok.  It is awful.  It is just a day.  The world stops for no loss because it would have to stop for each of them.

He was loved.  As am I.  As are you.


It has been dreary here for weeks, raining most of the time and humid the rest.  It has been claustrophobic.  The time change added insult to soggy injury and this morning instead of getting up and running in the pouring rain … again … I recognized that this was the last weekend between now and 2016 that I didn’t have a major plan.

Time to move furniture.

The bedroom revision has been rolling around in my mind for years.  About six months ago I realized that the “Get This Shit Done” fairy was actually me and Dave.  I’ve picked stuff out and moved it around and he has been dutifully lifting whatever random thing I needed him to.

One of the things that had become (sort of) invisible to me was the large flat cardboard moving box we brought back from LLV 2.5 years ago.  I popped it open this morning and the memories of the 26 year old I actually was smiled back at me.

While I was not dancing until dawn at 26 I was gleefully buying 16×24 picture frames with collage mats in them.  I remember being that woman and knowing that even as things changed the days and memories I was capturing deserved special treatment.  The collages (two) of the first 5 or so years with John, including a copy of the wedding invitation.  That includes one of the 5 best pictures ever taken of me.  The stacked photos of the manic joy of being alive while filled with grief and laughing big and wild with the Friday Friends that I don’t know anymore.

Twenty six year old me was right, and she did a great job with the pictures.  They tell stories that I don’t remember all the time and we were all so beautiful and willing.  Still, I don’t have infinite wall space, that was 15 years ago, and I don’t know most of those people anymore.  So I smiled and lingered but the work of the day calls and I smiled some more while I pushed them (lovingly) under the bed.

They are who I was, what made me who I am, and I need the wall space for where I am going – even when I don’t know where that is.

The year I was … let’s say 26-ish … was a really good year.

I was doing work I liked in a place where I was being taught how to Adult At Work better and I was working with my best friend (BONUS!).

My husband was making the kind of money that makes you giggle when you think of it because you’re just so damn surprised that somebody would pay you THAT.

Our Friday nights had a plan that involved people we really enjoyed, getting smarter about beer, heavily geek conversations, and the occasional bon fire or other extension of the evening.

All the parents were around and in good order.  Life was super good.  I don’t want to distract from my ACTUAL LIFE at all.

But in having that life there was another one that I didn’t have.

There are people who have memories of being in their late 20s, going out to the bars with their friends, staying up super late and putting attractive young men further into credit card debt while they flirted.  There was dancing while holding glass glasses and wearing cute shoes.  In theory – these same women are able to sleep off unbelievable hangovers all day on Sunday.  Or threw on a Bears jersey, sweats, and a pony tail to go shout at a football game.

I didn’t live that life (and the Brandy / Goo Goo Dolls / Smash Mouth music of the year might have made the dancing tough) but sometimes while I listen to the radio and the amazing conglomeration of danceable pop songs out right now I kind of wish I could stay up past 9:30, drink more than two, tolerate hella loud noises, dress to be flirted with, and see drinks paid for with cash.

There are some things that will always be true about me.  I will always be a person with a masters degree.  I will always be a person with two marriages.  I will always be a person who likes sleep.  Some things will never be true.  I will never stay up all night dancing when I’m 26.  I will never be in the military.  I am highly unlikely to actually study theatre at this point (although community theatre is still on the table). It is ok – but something about being 42 points out the Still Possible from the Not Anymore.

I have the odd truth of having November 2 be a super meaningful day for me.

In 1996 I was married on November 2.  It was fun, in part, because it was my great-grandmother’s birthday and she was able to attend that day.  John and I got married in the morning and had a lunch reception.  We ordered Italian delivery for dinner while we tore open envelopes.

In 2014 I saw my dad alive for the last time on November 2.  I watched him shine and talk with my son from his hospice bed in a beautiful home in a residential neighborhood.  Most of the rest is a blur.  He had 9 days left, which I’m grateful also included time with my brother.

This November 2 I’m spending with my son (who has the day off of school).  He wants to make a schedule and put it in his computer so he knows how the day will go.

I wish I knew too.  I have been fragile recently, prone to tears, ready to spend money, unwilling to sit and I don’t know quite how long it will last.  I miss dad.  I miss John.  I miss my great grandma.  Part of being in your 40s is an elongating list of people you don’t see anymore – just the truth of things.  This weekend, it is a bit heavy.