Robin Egg Blue

My grandmother died when I was 14 years old.

It was the spring of 1997 and she had suffered from colon cancer and lost her battle.

She was my mom’s mom, and she was the grandparent I felt closest to.  Before she got sick, she was delightfully squishy and smelled like mothballs, cheap lipstick, and brown sugar.  I can still hear her voice in my head (that warm, Midwestern accent where the vowels go on for miles), and sometimes, her voice comes out of my own mouth when I least expect it.  Usually when I am giddy and happy.

She was the first person I’d known to pass away, the first funeral I’d been to.

Her casket was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.  It was this robin egg blue that was sparkly and gleaming.  Her body rested on this baby blue satin that looked so smooth and shiny and comfortable.

I remember wanting to get out my camera and take a picture of it before it was covered by earth forever, but instinctively I knew that people might not like that, so I didn’t.

Looking back, I kinda wished I had.  I like being able to remember all things – the good and the sad.

I still remember, even without that picture.


I first wrote the above post on April 1, 2013. I never posted it, until now. Not quite sure why…maybe because it’s about death? Maybe for the same reason I didn’t take that picture?

And now, all these years later, my daughter’s middle name is hers. My grandma’s. They are both feisty and warm and gooey and delicious. They both smell like brown sugar (among other things). I love them and they are mine.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it would never be able to capture all that.


nanopoblano2019

Guess what.

Gentle, please. Remember to be gentle.

Chew and swallow.

We’re late, we gotta hurry!

SWALLOW. IT!

Sock and shoes! Pee in the potty! JACKET!

Ok, get in the car. Quick like a bunny!

GET IN YOUR CARSEAT. WE. ARE. LATE.

Guess what?! I LOVE YOU!!

I am busy, you will have to wait.

Lean over please!

Good job leaning over!

Remember to chew!

CHEW YOUR FOOD.

Nope, sorry, you gotta wait.

Sit down. We do not stand on the couch.

Please be patient! I am BUSY. You will have to WAIT.

YOU JUST HAD A SNACK!!!!!!!

SIT DOWN! FOR THE LOVE.

Gen-tle, please. I want you to be kind.

Lie down please. It is time for a rest.

Guess what?! (whispered) i love you.

Hand! Hold my hand please.

We are LATE!

Quick like a bunny!

HAND.

No, we don’t have time for that.

I said NO!

GENTLE!

Leanoverchewandswallow. Please just EAT.

Take off your clothes! I said TAKE THEM OFF!

Pee in the potty please! For the love, please watch your aim!

Goodnight, my loves.

Guess what.

I love you.

nanopoblano2019

 

Replace it with love

This has been a tough week.

I mean, the day to day stuff has been pretty normal. But the news. The Kavanaugh confirmation. It’s been a huge blow, to say the least.

I’m finding it hard not to remain cynical and bitter and very, very angry. Rageful. This is the world we live in now?! Women aren’t believed. Too many men care about nothing other than keeping the power and privilege that were handed to them at birth. Women live in fear – a fear so ingrained that many of us hardly notice the daily steps we take to prevent becoming victims of violence again. Lies are ignored. Justice is buried. The truth is twisted.

I can’t accept that.

I worry deeply about the damage this corrupt presidential administration has done and will do to international relations, the environment, the economy, our democracy, my husband’s job stability, my daughter’s human rights, the example set for my son.

I feel so powerless. I’m busy, I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed. I vote, but even that didn’t matter. I share things on social media…to my friends…who usually feel similarly anyway.

As a country, we seem to have crossed a line where decency doesn’t matter, human rights don’t matter, democracy doesn’t matter. I worry that there’s no coming back from this. I worry that some sort of pandora’s box filled with the darkest timeline of human evils has been opened and can’t ever be fully closed.

I know there are decent, good, loving, rational, respectful citizens out there. The majority, actually. But that doesn’t matter if evil keeps being handed more power.

I’m not even sure what I am trying to say here. I’m trying to find hope, moving forward. I’m trying to focus my rage – but on what? I plan to vote in November. And to march in January (Third annual Women’s March is 1/19/19). Is that enough? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

And one more thing.

Today, I played hide and seek with my kids. Well, it was kindof a mish-mash of hide and seek and tag with added screaming. It was really fun, and my kids were delighted. We laughed and hugged and chased and tickled. I stopped when they said stop. I reminded them about personal space boundaries. Because, you see, my kids are already learning about consent, respecting others, personal boundaries, honesty, and love.

I hope they grow up to vote. And march, if needed. But most of all, they are going to grow up and be kind. Respectful. Decent. Loving.

Together, let’s burn the fucking patriarchy to the ground.

And replace it with love.

 


Tell me: how do you plan to fight back??

The beauty of this place

We hiked five miles today, just the two of us.

This was where we met, where we worked together for several summers, where we fell in love, and where he proposed.

It was great to be back. I missed the beauty of this place.

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NaBloPoMo Day 27

My Happy Thought

Robin Williams died on my son’s due date.

I loved this guy.  I loved his work.  I went through the stages of grief when I found out – starting with disbelief, of course.  I was (and still am) so sad that depression took this very talented human being from us.

After Robin’s death, in watching all the memorials on the news and daytime TV, and in seeing all the clips strung together on Facebook, I started counting all of his movies that touched me, that I grew up with.  It’s a lot.  His movies were so emotional; I’ve long known that his were the ones I went to when I needed to tweak my mood – which usually meant inducing tears and reconfirming my faith in the human spirit.

In going through my movie collection, I realized I didn’t own one of my absolute favorite Robin Williams movies – Hook – so I bought it and ended up watching it soon after my son was born.

I absolutely adore the story of Peter Pan.  There isn’t a more fabulous story that captures the sheer joy and adventure it is to be young and to remind us that we can always go back to Neverland in our hearts (second star to the right and straight on til morning) whenever we want.

In re-watching Hook, I was prepared to feel that joy and excitement that comes with the story, and I was also prepared to feel sad that the person I was watching who was once so full of life and youthful glee was now gone.

What I wasn’t prepared for was my new reaction to the story now that I am a parent.

Remember the scene where Captain Hook starts teaching Pan’s kids about how parents hate their children?  He very eloquently describes how kids’ whining and demands (“He took my toy! She hit my bear! I want a potty! I want a cookie! I want to stay up! I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…”) drive their parents crazy.  Maggie (fun fact – it was her character I played on the playground with my friends when this movie first came out) points out that her parents read to her, “because they love me very much!”  And Hook retorts back that parents read to their children to shut them up.

In to end the lesson, Hook gave Maggie an F (to which she freaks out…probably why I was suited to play her character) and then declared that her parents were happier before she was born.

This scene struck a new chord, one that hadn’t been struck before.

Holy shit – Captain Hook was right.

There I was, hopelessly sleep deprived with a wee infant attached to my boob and tears running down my face because I got it – but not the it I was expecting to get.  This movie was supposed to remind me how joyful life was!  Instinctively I knew I wasn’t supposed to be listening to the words of this dark and sinister man, but for the first time in watching this film, my eyes were opened.  The guy had a point.  In my very short career as the parent of a newborn, I already knew I’d do things I previously said I’d never do if it meant my kid would sleep.  I wished for my old life back on a daily basis.  I fought with my husband about nothing and everything.  Some days, I was kind of miserable.

I considered growing a beard and joining the crew of the Jolly Roger.

Thankfully, the movie continued and we came to the scene in the Lost Boys’ tree house where Peter was desperately trying to find his happy thought.  He picked up his old teddy bear and had a flashback to a hospital room where his wife was handing him his brand new baby son, saying, “Peter, you’re a daddy!”

That was it.  This is why I wanted to watch the movie in the first place.  He was flying again, and so was I.

I was bedridden for the first 12 hours of Dylan’s life due to some minor complications, so when we were in the recovery room at the hospital, Brian started changing his first diapers and rocking and soothing and being a daddy.  It was amazing for me to watch, and it had reminded me of that same hospital scene in Hook.  Through tears in my eyes, I shared my thoughts with Brian and my heart was bursting.

Hook really got it right in more ways than I first realized.  It fascinates me how quickly and profoundly popping a baby out of me has changed my perspective on the whole world, let alone this movie.  Before, I had thought that the story was more about “always being a little boy and having fun,” and now I see this whole new layer about the love (“It’s the L-word, Captain!”) and struggle between parents and their children.  Yes, it’s about learning how to stay young, but it’s also about learning how to grow up.  And most importantly, it’s about finding (and keeping) that happy thought that keeps us all going.

Well, Dylan is our happy thought.  Our poopy, screamy, cuddly little happy thought.

There are so many great lines to quote and parallels to make about this movie and life in general, but the best is at the very end, where I don’t feel like Robin Williams was really having to act much at all.

He said,  “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us, Robin.  I am so very glad that you’re not in pain anymore.

 

 

Today is my due date

I’m due today.

Holy crap

Well, actually, you’re due.

To come out.

Little Duck

We really can’t wait to meet you

Even though I feel like I know you already

You dance and hiccup and kick

And squirm your way up under my ribcage on the right side

Ouch.

You test the boundaries of your squishy little world

I can’t wait to show you my world

Little Duck

 

We’ve had our bags packed for weeks

We pretend to be ready, but we’re really not

Don’t worry, though, cuz we can’t wait to love you

and squish you

and pinch your little fat rolls

and sing you to sleep.

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen

And that’s pretty scary for me

So if you know, please tell me

Otherwise, we’ll just figure things out

together

as we go.

 

So get here soon

If you only knew the joy that is waiting for you

But then again, maybe you do

because how could you not?

So what are you waiting for

Little Duck

 

Come on out

So I can love you more

Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap

A Corrective Experience

Last Thursday, Brian and I got to have a mini wedding redo, and it was pretty amazing.

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But first – a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to everyone who read my Freshly Pressed post, new followers (henceforth called Psychos), and especially everyone who left a supportive comment.  It really meant a lot to know that I wasn’t alone in my post-wedding grief.

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During our wedding, as soon as my photographer realized how sick I was, she told me not to worry, that we would come back and take pictures at some later date, and I am so thankful she told me that right away, because then I could focus on just getting through the wedding knowing we’d (Brian and I) have a bit of a second chance.

I took a few hours off work so that I could get myself all pretty and ready for the photo shoot.  Soon after the wedding, I had chopped all my hair off, and it was fun for me to play around with my new ‘do and get all dolled up.

I pinned the same ivory lace that had been in my hair for the wedding up under my curls so that it peeked out.  I wore the same pearl earrings my parents gave me for Christmas.  I affixed the same fake eyelashes, with some difficulty and perhaps a few swear words.

I was worried about how I would feel once I got my dress back on.  First of all, I was a tiny bit worried that my dress wouldn’t zip – it was tight to begin with and I didn’t hold back on those cruise buffets and dessert menus – but mostly I was worried that I would just burst into tears and cry my eyelashes off.

The whole process of getting ready was actually very sweet.  Brian and I didn’t see each other on our wedding day until I was actually walking down the aisle, and for this redo we got to be with each other and help each other get ready.  Brian had to help me step into my dress and hook me up in the back, and while this was the reverse of what our wedding night should have been, I enjoyed the experience.

And don’t worry, cuz the dress fit just fine, and I didn’t burst into tears.  I was actually…excited.  I was happy to get to wear my dress again, I was happy to get my picture taken again, and I was so relieved that it was just going to be us.  No family, no vendors, no pressure, no distractions.

We drove back out into the country to the wedding venue, and we commented on how much we love those surroundings, and how freaking beautiful our wedding venue is.  My dress was stuffed into the car all around me, and we had the AC blasting up my skirt.  It was like sitting on a fluffy, scratchy, but beautiful cloud.

We had a lot of fun during the quick photo shoot.  We got driven to the hilltop in a red convertible Cadillac and had our picture taken under the oak tree as the sun grazed the top of the surrounding hills.  We brought ice cream and sprinkles in a cooler and had the photographer get shots of us feeding each other ice cream.  We were just going to dance to our first dance song playing on my iphone when a staff person offered to plug it into their sound system.  As soon as “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones came on, tears filled my eyes.  Those few moments we twirled around in circles really meant a lot to me, and to Brian.  That song was the first song to which we ever danced, back on our 3rd date 10 years ago.

After the shoot was finished, we decided to continue our mini celebration and we went out for drinks in a local restaurant.  Between the car and the restaurant, we heard no fewer than 10 cries of “Congratulations!” yelled from cars, passers by, and other diners.  That recognition and joy made me feel so good.  It reminded me how captivated I am by weddings in general, that I can’t help but stop and stare when I see two people starting the rest of their lives with such love, joy, and hope for the future.  I wonder if these people felt the same way towards us?

We ordered our drinks and sat down outside near the live band that was playing, and we just chatted and took in the scenery, beaming at each other like…two kids in love with alcohol in their systems.

The band was awesome, by the way.  They played some current covers, and some originals, and they played all the music to Super Mario Bros on electric guitar.  FTW.  And then I heard the beginnings of “At Last,” and the lead singer said, “This one’s for you two” looking straight at us.  We did what any normal, intoxicated, in-love couple would do and we got up and danced.  It was so lovely, I can’t even describe it.  I do remember whispering to Brian, “This is what therapists call a corrective experience!” and he laughed because I am a huge nerd…and he’s stuck with me now.

After a while, we got up to leave – it was a school night, after all – and after we made our way between all the tables, applause broke out amongst most of the restaurant-goers.  I broke into a smile and gave a curtsy before we left and headed to the car.

I am very, very thankful we got to have that little redo.  It did wonders for my mood and how I feel about the wedding overall.  It gave me some closure and now we get to move on to much more important and happier things.

Hey Brian, you might want to read this one…

Ten years ago today, I was nervous.  I was excited.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.

Ten years ago today, it was a Saturday.  I had just asked you out the day before and today was the day – our first date.

Ten years ago today, we had ice cream together.  We walked and talked and I didn’t want the night to end, and neither did you, so I guess it really never did.

I can’t believe how fast these ten years have flown by.  We’ve grown up together, and I can’t imagine my life without you.  It’s like that lyric from that one Jewel song: you make the world make sense.

One week from today, we’re going to get married!

One week from today, we’re going to pledge to keep walking and talking because we don’t want this awesomeness to end…ever.

One week from today, I’m probably going to be nervous.  I’ll be excited!  And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

But whatever happens, I wanna be there with you.  Eating ice cream.

2003

2003

2013

2013