Today has been a learning day as you will see if you read to the end.
After dropping my daughter off at soccer camp I went for my first run in six weeks. It was raining and I was in a crappy mood. My hip hurt and it was cold. I decided to scrap it and head home for a hot shower and a cup of tea.
As I sat with my tea, surfing Facebook, a boatload of posts popped up from friends on vacation in California, Arizona and Hawaii. I made some comments about being jealous and dreamt of August when I would fly to San Diego. It seems so far away.
Grabbing my gortex I head out to do the grocery shopping. It’s been a while so I need to do a major shop. The cart is full and as the checker finishes and tells me how much the total bill is I can’t help but gasp a little.
Leaving the grocery store I think about dinner. Should I make chicken or pasta? I hate having to decide what to make for dinner. Ugh why did I park so far away from the store.
A young man was sitting on the sidewalk as I headed down the street. A sign next to him asked for spare change so he could buy food. It was raining and he was soaking wet. Beside him a small backpack and blanket.
I sat in my car and thought…..I am an idiot.
Is it odd to say that I’ve only just realized that I’m a grown up?
It’s not about my age. I know how old I am physically…..on the outside and on the inside. I may be fifty two but my body is still in it’s thirties. My physiotherapist has his own opinion on that subject but that’s his problem.
No, this has to do with my relatively new found ability to deal with pretty much any situation I may find myself in. The ability to be thrown into a scenario and not only respond but, dare I say, revel.
To rise to the occasion and not give a crap what anybody thinks of me outside of my ability.
To not care if I’m impressing or fitting in other than making sure that I’m getting the job done.
And to do all of this with a certain calmness that could only be a direct result of having to deal with some serious shit in the past twenty years.
Wow, it’s really true…..with age comes wisdom
“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein
Most evenings after my daughter is in bed and I have some time to read, watch tv or surf the net. It’s during this time that I seem to come up with all sorts of great ideas for stuff I need to get done or want to do.
Clean out the garage. Start my own business. Paint the bathroom.
The problem is that when the next day comes my lofty goals seem to vanish.
Once my daughter is off to school and I’ve cleaned up breakfast it would be a great time to get started on one of these projects. However, I tend to make myself a cup of tea, sit down in the kitchen and BAM it’s suddenly 2:30 and I need to get it the school for pick up.
That’s close to five hours that sometimes just….disappears.
Is there some kind of space time continuum that holds these hours hostage? Is it run by the socks that go missing in the dryer?
The Best Thing in Life would be a good day planner…..and a little more focus.
PS this isn’t every day….just in case you thought I was totally lazy.
As I was having tea with my dad this morning he casually mentioned that he was going out to lunch today with a friend. My mom died a little over two months ago so I was glad that he was staying busy and being social. What I didn’t realize (at first) was that his lunch date was with a woman.
“What? With who? Where? Today? What?”
Okay, so I may have over reacted just a tad.
Turns out his “lunch date” was with a dear friend who lost her husband a few years ago. She’s a very sweet lady whom I chatted with at my parents summer party this past June. She has a grand daughter the same age as my daughter and we hoped maybe they could meet up one day.
Still, it felt a bit odd.
Would I want my spouse to be going out for lunch with another woman that soon after I died? I don’t know. I like to think that I would be. Really, it’s just a casual lunch right? Why shouldn’t he enjoy the rest of his life?
As I drive home I thought….”I bet they spend the whole time talking about how much they miss their spouses.”
I always look forward to the day I get my hair cut. I think subconsciously I chose my hair dresser for the sole reason of her salon’s location. I get to go to that special place where hip people go. Downtown.
It’s like a teeny mini very small cool vacation.
I always try to wear something that might be considered fashionable and definitely make sure that my hair looks good. Which really makes no sense as it’s just going to be washed and cut anyway. I never want my hairdresser to see that my hair occasional looks like crap. Even though it does pretty much every day except his one.
Why my hairdressers opinion is important I am not sure.
I have also decided to go back to coloring my hair. Going grey is cool and all but I’m just not quite ready to be the lady with the grey hair. Plus I saw some pictures from over the holidays and I didn’t really match the rest if my family.
I’m just now realizing how shallow my day was.
This is my second favorite day of the year. The first is the Tuesday after Labor Day when the kids go back to school. Two weeks is a looooooong time to spend with a nine year old when it’s cold and snowy out. I mean really, how many games on Uno can one play?
When I dropped her off at the curb I gave her a quick air kiss and with great glee realized that I had the next six hours to do whatever I wanted. You know, fun stuff like groceries, laundry and cleaning the bathrooms.
Back at home I got into a tense conversation with my twenty year old son over the fact that he had not paid us for his portion of the cell phone bill for six months. The resulting accumulated payment was not well received.
“I didn’t expect to have to pay out that much money today.”
“Well I didn’t expect to find a two inch layer of scum in your bathroom so I guess we’re both disappointed with today.”
Life is hard people and that is just a cold hard, slightly scummy fact.
We haven’t spoken since that conversation. According to the “books” it is actually a good thing if your kid is mad at you occasionally. Apparently it means that you are doing your job.
All of a sudden I am counting down the minutes until I can pick up my daughter from school. On days like this the Best Thing in Life is having two kids.
Again I am cozy in my warm bed but have committed to an early morning outdoor activity. So (again) I pull myself out of bed and put on my long johns to head out into the cold. Is it possible that it is colder than yesterday?
There is one thing I know to be true. NOTHING is better than a two hour hike in the snow with friends to balance you and put you in the right head space to face a new year of challenges
With topics ranging from work ethic to hair color to parenting to life motivation, nothing is off limits out there. Frustrations are vented and there is no judgement. I heard myself saying many times .
“I know just how you feel.”
In the afternoon I had the misfortune of attending a gathering to honor the mom of another friend who had died on, of all days, Christmas Day. I am now officially in the generation of people with old parents who are dying and it sucks.
Having just lost my mom a couple of months ago it was all very fresh for me. As I hugged my friend I quietly said.
“I know just how you feel.”
The Best Thing in Life is knowing that so long as you have your friends, you are not in this alone.
If I had my way I would stay in my cozy warm bed all day. But no , I had promised my daughter that we would go skiing today so I dragged my sorry butt out of bed and put on my long johns. Damn it’s cold.
For me, the worry on days like this is that your child will….
A. Be miserable and a fair amount of money will be wasted
B. Spend every moment on the chairlift asking when we are going to the lodge for hot chocolate.
C. Have something catastrophic happen and the rest of the day will be shot.
But amazingly, it was all good. Lots of successful runs. A few laughs. Hot chocolate and cookies. More runs.
Walking back to the parking lot I fall down a small snow bank on my face onto my skis. Blood. First aid hut.
Rest of day is spent in bed, trying to keep warm and realizing that I am old and uncoordinated.
Best Thing in Life? Realizing that I didn’t need to worry about something catastrophic happening to her because it was, in fact, me that was the only mishap.
Tonight it hit me. Tonight the tears fell.
It’s been three days since my mom died.
I finally realized why I haven’t gone through my photos to find the perfect picture for the reception. Why I haven’t decided on a caterer. Why I have told people it was “for the best” that she wasn’t suffering anymore. Why I have gone to work and kept busy.
It was because I didn’t want it not be true. I didn’t want it to be real.
I didn’t want my mom to be dead.
But she is. My sweet, feisty, occasionally inappropriate, mom is dead. Not passed away. She hated that expression. She always used to say.
“People don’t pass away. They die.”
The first time I walked into the apartment after she died I was shocked to find that she wasn’t there. Where was she? Why wasn’t she sitting at her desk? Why didn’t I hear her voice? Why was I only making one cup of tea with honey?
I have lost my comfort person. The person I call when life sucks. The person who always picks up and knows that something is wrong before you even speak. And right now I need my comfort person. Because right now life sucks.
She was so brave in these last weeks. She tolerated the imaginable and still kept her sense of humor.
At one point my brother, bless his heart, was trying to get her to take a sip of water from a straw. On the fourth attempt I could see the exasperation in his face. He really wanted….needed her to take some water. She was having none of it. Without even opening her eyes she put her hand up and said “Piss off”. Classic mom.
I know that she is still here with me in her own special way. Telling me that it’s going to be okay. Maybe she’s right. She usually was.
The Best Thing in Life is that I will have eighty four years of memories to keep me company. But tonight, the tears will continue to fall.