Somebody.

I have been told, on multiple occasions, that things get better at the two year mark after losing a spouse.  Really?  Because I am headed that direction.  It’s getting to that time of year where the ugly memories start coming back every time time the calendar flips a page.  So what is the significance of today?  Why will July 27 be embedded into my memory when I can’t even remember to call in a prescription refill?  Because, two years ago tonight, I said yes to my husband for the very last time.  I blogged about it last year.  It’s probably one of my best posts ever.  I know I have a couple of new readers but it’s mostly just me so I won’t cut and paste. 

I am going to maintain that one of the reasons that I got married was so that I could get out of the dating pool.  I have a strong dislike for the act of dating.  I did go on a date.  One. Date.  And it was a fail, by all accounts.  The date wasn’t.  It was actually okay and kind of fun.  But… I wasn’t ready.  And he?  Clearly was.  Ready for everything. 

Also, I will officially say that this is the longest, ahem, dry spell in my adult life.  You know, since that fateful day in November of 1993.  Part of me doesn’t care (and that would be the heavily medicated part) and another, smaller part, really is too tired to care.  And then I start to care for a while, a little too much.  Then comes the self-depreciating comment or two.  And the cycle starts all over again.

Somebody used to call me beautiful.

Somebody used to care what underwear I wore on a given day.

Somebody used to rub my back, my legs, my hair.

Somebody used to watch me sleep.

Somebody used to tell me to go to bed once the news was done, with a twinkle and a wink.

Somebody used to jump in the shower with me at random.

Somebody used to hold my hand at the movies.

Somebody used to love me.

Somebody used to be my whole life.

And now?

Somebody sleeps alone.

Somebody hears good news and has nobody to share it with.

Somebody does all the chores and pays all the bills.

Somebody is counting out two years.

Somebody is drying the tears of frightened children.

Somebody makes supper when nobody is eating.

Somebody dreams of slow dances and pre-dawn murmurs; plans made in the purple and blue lights of night.

Somebody is trying to move on.

                   Wanting to run.

                    Wanting to cling.

                       Wanting to sleep.

                          Wanting to wake from what used to be a nightmare and now is unending, unsettling.

Somebody reaches out. 

                           And finds…nobody.

Seventh year.

Two summers ago, in between chemo treatments, Stephen and I (and Amelia since she was only 10 months old and, thusly, still nursing) went to Des Moines, two hours away.  He was even feeling good enough to drive some.  We got a hotel room.  Wandered the mall.  Ate.  And ate.  And ate some more.

It was our fifth anniversary.  Today?  Is our seventh.

Last year I was reeling.  The tears came in fits and starts.  Somebody, anonymously, sent me flowers.  The kids were a wreck.  My house was wreck.  At one point in the morning I locked myself in my room and cried.  And then cried some more.  I sent the girls off to Robyn’s house for the day.  I cleaned and took a nap.  I cried alone.  I blogged and told our story.

I look at that wedding photo all the time.  I remember his fingertips on my chin, lifting it to meet his lips.  I’d have that moment all over again, a million times over.

And then this thought creeps in:  knowing what I know now, if I could go back, would I do it all over again?  Really?  Would I?

It’s no use trying to answer that question.  It’s like asking if you should have taken a coffee break instead of cutting off your finger at the band saw.  Why in the world would a person subject themselves to that kind of pain?  Would anyone, knowing the outcome?

I know, I know.  I have these two beautiful, funny, smart and creative little girls.  They make me laugh every day.  You know, when I let go from the thought that I just have so much to do.  And that there’s no end.  It’s like a really bad movie and you think it’s over and then it just keeps freaking going.  Story. Over.  Roll the credits.

There have been moments, right before I fall asleep, where I imagine what it felt like being held by him.  Like leaned up against the kitchen sink, moment of sanity in the domestic chaos kind of holding.  What his neck smelled like after a day at work.  How he would shower at night and then come to bed, still practically dripping with his boxers sticking to his ass.  And then had the nerve to try and touch! me! 

So that’s what I miss.  That’s what I am missing this week.  The upping of the meds (a Godsend, let me just put that out there) has left any residual, um, scratch?  That needed itching?  Yeah, that’s gone.  God bless Lexapro.  Took care of that nuisance.  I’m sure that next week it will be something else.

Oh, and I also miss having someone appreciate my meals.  These kids are killing me.  I try something truly delicious tonight and they picked at it.  I suppose if I could have found a way to either bread it and fry it or turn it into a sandwich they would have gobbled it up.  Or not.  Whatever.  It was still good.  And I’ll be eating the leftovers for a week.  (hint:  It’s good cold too)

No tears today.  No poorly handled moments.  Just our usual Monday: playing, chores, Library, visiting friends.  Any other day.

But I do miss him.  Ella is a negotiator by nature (not sure where she got that) and I think she’s been negotiating with God.  She’s been asking for just one day.  One hour.  Trading possessions for her dad.

I know how she feels.

Would I do it again?  Knowing what I know now?

Is it bad if I can’t answer that?  Definitively?  With any kind of conviction?  Without any what ifs? 

Because I can’t.  Answer.

So to speak.

The best part about being married is not dating.  I’m not one for the hunt.  I’m not one for stalking, pouncing, gutting, cleaning and *then* consuming.  So to speak.  I’d like mine brought to me in bed like eggs over easy, wheat toast and orange juice.  And a rose on the side.  Not that it ever happened that way.  I do feel like Stephen was just handed to me.  It was too easy.  And it’s not supposed to be difficult, right?

I have spent the day thinking about the hunt.  And thinking about how, one year ago today was the last time we had sex.  Not that anyone wanted to know that.  I was at a friend’s house this afternoon and happened to mention it in a passing, smarting off kind of way.  Her husband said “How can you remember that?  I couldn’t tell you the last time I took a dump!”  I remember it because I remember thinking that our times together like that were numbered.  I didn’t know it would be the last time of course.  But I remember thinking that it wouldn’t be long before I was on my own.  So to speak.

It is soon to be 10 months without him.  And all I can think about today is how it’s been one year since I have been touched.  So to speak.  And I think about how it’s the longest I’ve ever gone without some kind of nookie since that fateful day in November of 1993 in the all-girls dorm with my very first (and, really, only other) love, hoping to God that my lame-ass roommate didn’t show up and ruin our loft-romp. 

And then it makes me wonder about all the “could’ve beens” and “wonder what would happen ifs”.  It makes me wonder if there’s someone out there wondering whatever happened to me.  Someone that someday I will run into again on Facebook or at a class reunion or at church or at the YMCA (which, I totally intend to join this fall).  It could happen, right?  Or not.

I was so happy to get engaged.  I was so happy to be out of the shallow end of the dating pool.  It was like holding in a fart on a long car trip and finally getting to open air.  Long, noisy and fragrant.  So to speak. 

And to think that I almost turned him down, one year ago tonight.  I was tired and edgy.  My guts hurt from the gallstones that I didn’t know that I had.  And I almost said no.  Like I did on countless other nights.  (Which isn’t to say that I never said yes…it just wasn’t often that I was the initiator.)  So, if you are reading this and you aren’t me…if you have the means and the opportunity…say yes.  For me.

Come What May

Six years ago today, I married my best friend.  I was 20 weeks pregnant with Will.  We were supposed to get married in Belize but apparently you can’t get a malaria shot when you are pregnant unless it’s an emergency.  So we ended up getting married at home.  It was a quiet day.  My sister stood up for me, his brother for him.  I had one of my students play the guitar and sing.  My friend’s husband (they were newly dating at the time) was the photographer.  There were probably 50 people there, mostly from my family.

I cried through the vows.  Not because of what I was saying but because I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to be saying them to him.  Luck isn’t the right word.  Fortunate?  That’s better.  He was everything I ever wanted in a husband.  We were truly in love.  I am still very much in love with him.  I do want that one more day.  I wish that “till death do us part” had come later in our marriage. 

He loved me too.  You can see it in his eyes.  I saw it every day.  Every.  Day.  We had a really great life together.  That’s what we wanted.  The life together.  We didn’t want the big wedding.  It wasn’t about that, to us.  It was just one day.  One day out of the mere 2400 or so that we were fortunate enough to spend together.  One day.

We had a great marriage.  We never fought.  We never deliberately hurt the other person with our words.  We negotiated.  We worked together.  We created three new lives.  We watched one of them leave us and buried him in a little white box.  He was a great dad, as I knew he would be even when we were dating.  There were so many things he wanted his kids to experience and so many things he wanted to teach them. 

One good thing that I can say is that we always loved each other.  We never took the other one for granted.  So I cannot say that there was single day wasted of the relative few we had together.

Our wedding song was “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge.  Appropriate, yes?  Here are the lyrics, borrowed from a fan site:

Never knew I could feel like this
Like I’ve never seen the sky before
I want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I Love You more and more

Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing
Telling me to give you everything
Seasons may change, winter to spring
But I Love You, until the end of time

Come what may
Come what may
I will Love You
Until my dying day

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn’t seem such a waste
It all revolves around you

And there’s no mountain too high
No river too wide
Sing out this song,
I’ll be there by your side

Storm clouds may gather
And stars may collide
But I Love You, I Love You,
Until the end of time

Oh, come what may, come what may
I will Love You, until my dying day
Oh come what may, come what may
I will Love You, I will Love You

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place

Come what may
Come what may
I will Love You
Until my dying day

Don’t ask me to be a bridesmaid.

35 years ago today, my parents got married in a round church.  My mother’s colors were mint green and yellow.  The bridesmaids had big, floppy hats.  My dad had ruffles down his tux shirt (the tux was brown) and at his cuffs.  He appears, in the pictures, annoyed.  (He kept that “look” in pictures for over 20 years…he just recently learned to smile for the camera.)  The reception, complete with cake and mints, was in the church fellowship hall.  My mother opened presents at the reception.  They honeymooned at the Black Hills and saw Mount Rushmore for the first (and I think the only) time.  It was 1973.  They were both 19 years old.

Weddings sure have changed.  It would be in bad taste to open gifts at the reception.  And the receptions are not just cake and punch anymore.  Even the honeymoon was not all the elaborate.  But they spent a bundle on what counted: photos.  There is a metric ton of photos of my parent’s wedding day.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really enjoyed any wedding that I was an integral part of, including my own.  My own wedding day was hot, hot, hot, really hot.  Surface of the sun hot.  I was 21-ish weeks pregnant with Will.  Stephen had proposed at Halloween (by carving “Will you Marry Me” into a pumpkin) and I got pregnant on Valentine’s Day.  We were supposed to get married on the beach in Belize with only his brother and my sister present (inspired by the movie Blow of all things…Johnny Depp looking all dirty-hot in his pre-pirate days).  Since I had lacked the foresight to get myself all pregnant, I couldn’t get the recommended malaria shot for Belizean travel, it being June and all.  So we settled for a family affair at Stephen’s church.  Which did not become OUR church.  It was just a building and a minister to make it all official. 

Lest anyone think I am a total hag for not being pleased at my own wedding, I did cry through the vows (hormones most likely) and cried through the guitar solo (“Come what may” from Moulin Rouge).  It was fine.  It was memorable.  But if only it were 1973 instead of 2002.  Things that were so very simple could have been more socially acceptable.  Stephen once asked me if I wished we had done a big wedding.  I always told him no. 

But I do wish that we could have done the Belize thing.  I wish we could have traveled more than we did.  It was something that we really enjoyed doing together.  And maybe a little bit of me wishes for the thousand dollar dress, the Hummer limo, the champagne toast and the tropical honeymoon.  But just a little bit.  And just now.  Just today.

FIL took some of Stephen’s things home with him.  Not as much as I would have liked.  There was one sentimental shirt.  And some of his high school things but not all.  And some Christmas ornaments.  So not much.  And it was hard to dig through the one tote of his clothing.  Back when we moved I gave 5 garbage bags of his clothes to goodwill and kept one tote. I don’t know why.  I don’t know why I still have it months later.  His smell is gone from the box.  Even in clean shirts, they always still smelled like him.  I’m kind of glad that the box didn’t smell like anything.  I’m pretty sure it would have done me in and I would not have been able to continue.

Happy 35 years, Mom and Dad.  Not that you can read this because you still don’t have internet but it’s out there.  Here’s to 35 more. 

The mirror at the salon.

I got out today and got my hair cut and highlighted (highlit?  What’s the past tense of “highlight?).  I also dropped of 2 boxes at UPS, returned cans and bottles, went to the meat market to pick up a quarter side of beef that a friend and I are splitting and went to friend’s house to divvy the bounty that is yummy, yummy steak.  I spent alot of time not being touched by grimy little hands, looking at myself in the salon mirror and about 85 miles in the car.  Needless to say, there was some self reflection going on (get it? snort.).  Oh, and I’m growing grey hairs like gangbusters.  How does that happen?  When did I get to the point of asking my stylist to please nip one after another silver sproing-y hair sticking straight up from my head?

First and foremost, I need more sleep.  I don’t know how I’m going to get it.  I went to bed at a reasonable time last night and still laid there for more than an hour, waiting to drop off.  I can’t have that.  Because if I’m not asleep in 10 minutes or less, my thoughts get the better of me.  And then I might as well get up and pour a bowl of Lucky Charms because I’m really up for a while. 

Second, I’m going to start the “process” to get a breast reduction.  I don’t know what the process is but I would like to get the ball rolling.  The twins out front need a nip and tuck.  Or..whatever they do.  I don’t really want to know.  But I think I would feel alot better about myself if I could bend over to shave below my knees and not have to wipe shaving cream off my nipple.  Or fit into a real shirt that isn’t so boxy.  To be honest, I’m scared to have surgery again.  I had my gallbladder out and, as I told the anestesiologist, I was grateful for the nap (the surgery was the same day that they found Stephen’s brain tumors).  I know that surgery is pretty safe these days.  It’s not often that you hear of someone as healthy as I am dying on the table.  And yet, it’s elective.  And I have two little girls that are missing a father.  Wouldn’t it be a real tragedy if they lost a mother as well?  Especially if the surgery was just so she could wear a haltertop dress that didn’t look like a maternity dress?  So that she could jog without giving herself a black eye?  So that she wouldn’t be scared to get properly measured for a bra?  To buy a bra with only one letter?  Do or don’t do?  It depends on the day but today, looking at my head in foils, I didn’t like that my arms can’t go all the way to my side.  They stick out a bit because of the ample boobs.  Ample boobs.  Heh.  Sounds like a trashy romance novel.

And third, the radio played at least half of what we called the “White Album” while I was driving.

Back down memory lane, it was early summer 2001.  Our friendship had gone from “just friends” to “completely smitten” in a matter of weeks (we had known each other for well over a year at this point and he was recently divorced from a woman who worked in my building).  I had already planned a trip back to Nebraska for a week with the family.  Being newly in love, I didn’t want to go but did.  We spoke only 3 times the whole week and I couldn’t get back to Iowa fast enough.  While I was gone, he got together with a buddy and they cruised Napster (back when it didn’t cost a buck a song or whatever it is these days) and picked out music for a mix CD for us.  He titled it “A Place in My Heart” and the date was July 15, 2001 (exactly 3 years later, Ella was born).  The blank disc had a white, write on label thus, “The White Album.”  It had some classic Guns N Roses, Matchbox 20, Candlebox, Fleetwood Mac, Counting Crowes.  Alot of it was what was on the radio at the moment.  Others were jukebox songs from the bar where we went after softball games.  He had a copy and I had a copy.  I still have his but mine is long scratched and worn out.  Out of the 14 songs on the disc, 6 were played on the radio this afternoon while I was driving around, doing my errands.  When things like that happen, I have to think that he has a hand in it.  It makes me think that he approves of my haircut and lighter highlights.  It makes me think that he’s happy with how the girls and I are doing.  Maybe.  Or maybe the station DJ was feeling a little 2001 today.

I had said before that I was too tired to move into being angry but I think I’m there.  It’s not a violent anger that I expected.  But I’m angry that cancer took my future away too.  I’m angry that our lives are forever with a hole because of what happened.  I’m angry that I have to be scared of everything.  And I’m angry that I have to make all these decisions alone. 

I’m sure there are lots of people in the world that would like to go back to the care free, pre-war days of July 2001.  I know I do.  I also know that, despite everything, I still would have loved him.  I still would have married him.  Even if I had known.  6 years with him wasn’t enough, that’s for sure.  But I’m glad I had them.

I found a card that I had given him when we were dating.  It was one of those “just because” cards.  He had kept it in his journal all this time.  The “greeting” on the inside said “I know I wasn’t your first love but I’m glad that I am your last love.” 

Sunday afternoon, redesigned.

Step away from the Cadbury Mini Eggs and nobody gets hurt. I swear, I gain about 10 pounds during lent. I can take or leave the food at any other holiday but there is something about Easter candy that leaves me wanting more and more.

My mom says that it’s because I was born during Holy Week (Tuesday so nothing too special) and that my dad brought her a bag of Brach’s Fiesta Eggs when she was in the hospital so it was in my first milk. Yeah. That’s got to be it.

When I’m in an low-level emotional crisis, I eat. I cage around until I find something maybe suitable and then move on to the next thing if it’s not just right. Tonight it started with nutty bars (my staple and usually scratches the itch) and moved on to homemade chocolate chip cookies. Then a fruit by the foot (changing tactics, wondering if that was it). And then I found the bag of Easter candy that I have been hoarding, I was hoping, until my drive back to Omaha scheduled for this weekend. Half a bag later (because one or two is never enough, oh no) and I might have met my match. I’m going to have to make a cup of tea or drink a ton of water to stave off what will probably be a chocolate hangover in the morning.

It’s not like anything truely awful happened today. I quit eating all together when that happens. I think I’m coming down off of what was a really great week. And now we’re home. And looking forward to company and looking forward to our trip next weekend. I’m not looking forward to the work or being separated from my kids for 10 days (other than the 10 minutes that it will take us to get to daycare). I’m not looking forward to, essentially, weaning. Even though she’s just down to nap time, bedtime and crisis times which aren’t often. (I’m weaning her directly to chocolate milk…any port in the storm)

There is just so much to do this week and I’ve all but wasted today and yesterday, pacing around, not wanting to do any of it. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and couldn’t do it because my tiny tornados get in between me and what I’m doing.

I’ve been attempting to mop my kitchen for 2 days. I manage to sweep it and then something happens.

These two think the fridge has a revolving door. They claim to be hungry, I get what they want and then they eat 2 or 3 bits and claim to be done. Until 30 minutes later. Repeat. All. Day. It’s really frustrating and I feel like I’ve thrown out more food today than they have actually consumed. And it’s both of them. Usually Ella is the culprit. They snack and graze. They ignore actual meals. And it annoys me.

I need to clean the toy room. I need to clean the bathroom. I need to de-clutter my counters and the buffet (have I mentioned that I should not be allowed flat surfaces?) and the top of the entertainment center and the top of the fridge. All are repositories for all things taken away from little fingers. The messy, the expensive, the broken and nearly broken, the pretty, the forbidden, the potentially deadly and the irreplacable. Oh, and the mail. Oy, the mail! I still don’t have a good place for that.

All of this? Requires little hands and feet far, far away from me for more than 6.5 minutes which is all the time I’ve had alone today (a shower). Amelia is needy. It’s like she knows that I’m almost done with the na-na. And she wants to do all the Ella is doing and she can’t. I don’t trust her with markers or play-doh and it makes her mad. Ella loves to make her sister laugh which is cute. But she is often breaking house rules when she does it. And the laughter eggs her on even more. Or, worse, Amelia does something that Ella knows is wrong ( like spitting…only for the bathtub around here) or dropping food on the floor and Ella laughs hysterically. It’s a terrible cycle.

And then there are the errands. The chasing down of the child. The random things in the cart. The whining. The feet in my seat back. The Elmo (or Tom and Jerry or Curious George) DVD on constant play mode because, heaven forbid, we go 8 blocks without being entertained.

I don’t know how I do it. I really don’t. I’m tired of it. The worst part is that I don’t have anyone to really commiserate with me. I’m pretty sure my friends are sick of it and, honestly, every one else has their own family things to deal with and they want somebody to listen to them. Why, for one minute, can it just not be about me? Why can’t I have the energy to cry and feel sorry for myself. Why do I feel the need to cater to my children when it clearly is wearing on my spirit?

It was all I could do not to check myself into a hotel today and call someone to check on my kids. But I wasn’t willing to commit a felony to do it. That, and then we’re back to “what if something happens to one of them.” I don’t even like to go downstairs and switch out the laundry when they are running around. My luck, one of them would choke in the 4 minutes I was away or be bleeding out their eyeballs from running with a contraband pencil or something equally traumatic. Good thing they can’t get into the knives or the laxitives or the bleach. Yet. Something else to worry about now.

Things aren’t a world of suck. There isn’t even anything specific except that I have heavy heart at the moment. I miss the company. I miss the chilly Sunday afternoon non-routines. I miss having someone make me laugh. I miss the “babies are napping” boom-boom on the couch. That totally would have happened today too. I just know it. I’m tired of eating kid food all day, every day. They don’t like what I like and won’t eat what I make so why bother.

I guess that’s the general feeling today. Why bother. How very Eeyore of me.

I have husband envy.

What do you get when you leave the house at 9am to go to playgroup and come home at 4pm in a loaner car with $800 less in the bank?It’s not a joke.

The right rear wheel on the van locked up out of nowhere. It literally wouldn’t budge. Think crappy grocery cart.

We never made it to playgroup. I, instead, chose to go right to the shop where, oddly enough, they got us in right away. Turns out, they remember working on Stephen’s car (94 Civic) on several occasions and knew that I was about to drop some bucks apparently. After 2 hours in a small waiting room with 2 unruly children who thought they were going to play and POed that I, once again, lied to them, they granted me a loaner car. Not even a fun one. They must have been tipped off by the mounds of random mittens, french fries, fruit snack wrappers, CDs, bucket of recycling that needed to go in, like, 3 weeks ago, umbrella stroller, christmas trim and assorted junk mail. Maybe they didn’t want their loaner car to look like the van that we have managed to trash in a matter of months.

I paid for said repair and drove away only to discover that the exact problem was still a problem. Not. Fixed. At. All.

Seriously?? Could you, maybe, manage to drive it around the block to A) diagnose problem and B) check your work you community college dropout f’tard. Seriously. Like I have time for this. So what got fixed? Who the hell knows. All I know is that if they come up with something different that ultimately was the problem, I’m putting a stop payment on the check I wrote today. $800??

The upside is that Dave Ramsey saved my big white butt this time. I had my $1000 in the bank and felt comfortable writing a check because I knew I could do a transfer. That just means that I have to start over and get my emergency fund back up. But it was there and Citicard can kiss my feet. Not this time, yo! You will not get me this time.

It’s the coldest night in, what, 12 years? And in 4 days I get to fly off to sunny Texas for a week. I can’t wait. I’m literally salivating at the thought of a nap by the pool. Granted, we’re going to a retirement community (trailer park) but at least I’ll be the hottest one there, right? I have to get a new swimming suit while I’m there. Oddly enough, they are hard to come by around here and it’s really hard to try on swimsuits with a toddler crawling under the door and the 3 year old taking off her own clothes because she thinks we are going swimming right this red hot second.

I am guilty of husband envy. I don’t want to elaborate because it’s really hard even to admit. But I have husband envy. For all the same reasons that I want my mail-order Russian husband. But I really just want *my* husband. I’m not about to be a homewrecker but I watch other families and couples and I just about double over in pain.

I have ceased to think of my children as being traumatized because they are fatherless. One is because they are too little to get it. And two is because they have lots and lots of good, adult influences. I’m a firm believer that a kid can never have too many adults who care for them and look after them. That’s why I love small town living (and don’t ask why I don’t live in a small town…that’s complicated). I am, instead, thinking of myself without a partner. Without a best friend. Without somebody to talk to into the wee hours or at the crack of dawn.

And I am sad. And achey. And tired of all the mommy-ness (yes, that’s a word I just made up). I want to be me.

But I’m not sure that, if the occasion arose, I would know what to do. I’d probably just read that newspaper. Or google people I used to know. Or sit here and type out the absurd things that happen in my day. Like lotioning Ella down after her bath and finding a tumor on her neck. I knew it was coming. She has the genetic condition he had. It’s probably been there her whole life and I just found it today.

And she just thought I was trying to tickle her. I’ll just let her think that as long as I can.

I usually don’t respond to comments but just so everybody knows what we’re dealing with here’s a linky.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/neurofibromatosis-nf1/symptoms.html

In the vast majority of people, it’s not a big deal. There are issues, of course, but none that I can’t deal with. Except for the one that I already did.

Thestrals

Why am I not asleep? I do this. I go 2 or 3 nights in a row of good, easy sleep and then this. Awake. It takes a long time to get to sleep and I’m up early. I’ve taken myself off the Ambien and off the xanax but I may have to call and see if I can get some more. I have my days…or nights rather.

Days are easy, relatively. Stephen used to get up and go to work before his lazy wife or children even stirred for the day. But it gets to about 4 or so and I expect that phone to ring. I expect it to me him, telling me that he’s on his way home. Isn’t that funny. He’s 10 minutes away and he still called every day. So I can pretend that he’s just at work. This is how our days used to go before he got sick. And then when he was sick and hanging out around the house, I was quick to want him to go back to work; quick to want things to be normal again. Too quick. It’s easy to pretend.

But nights are something else. I lay in bed like a human pacifier (man, am I ready for her to sleep alone…) with these images burned into my head. Time is healing the day to day but the nights are haunting. Remember in Harry Potter the thestrals? The beasts that pulled the carraiges up to Hogwarts and how you could only see them if you’ve seen death. That’s how I feel. I feel like I see things that not very many other people have seen. I know that sounds bad. It’s really hard to explain.

I have had so many people, mostly from church, come up to me to try to commiserate the season with me. Know what? I don’t want to hear it. Nobody has the same experience. Not one of us. Nobody else saw what I saw in the same way that I saw it. And I didn’t see what you saw (this is the royal “you” btw). Lots and lots of people die from cancer.

There is a boy right in my town that has the identical condition that Stephen had right down to the genetic condition that caused it. He has all the tumors in all the same places. But this boy is only 14. He’s been sick for years and now he’s not doing so well. What are the chances? This form of cancer is really, really rare. I mean really rare. And 2 in the same town, the same year? I want to call this boy’s mom. She’s the one I want to be with. But I’m afraid. I’m afraid that my story will crush her hope. I’m sure she’s heard the same tale from the same doctors but there is always hope. Hope for better days. The picture of the boy is spooky how much he looks like Stephen did in the last months. Even where the tumors are in this boy’s body. Spooky.

http://www.wcfcourier.com/articles/2007/12/22/news/top_story/c0da129518dd4b1e862573b9001e30a5.txt

That could just as easily be one of my girls. They have the same genetic condition. Although most people with it have totally normal lives. It’s a relative few that have such dire outcomes. But it could happen.

See? I’m damaged. Who thinks of this so late? Woman, just go to bed already.

On a lighter note, the Child Formerly Known as Brat did really well today. The kids all played nice and took naps when they were supposed to and my house looked just like it does at the end of every day. So babysitting karma should be headed my way. Wait a minute…if the mom paid me does that mean that I still get karma? I wasn’t going to take money from her but it turns out I needed groceries so I did. Oh well. Girls gots to eat.

So I’m listening to lots of Allison Krauss and Sarah McLaughin (Do what you have to do, I will remember you) and Fleetwood Mac and Norah Jones. Random, I know. That’s the beauty of the ipod. I never thought I would love something so much. An object, I mean. I love my ipod (a little orange shuffle…they don’t even make orange anymore poor thing) almost as much as I love my Bernina. It’s that deep. Oh, and the podcast of This American Life. Can’t get enough of it. People are fascinating.

5 days left in 2007. I think I’m going to start a new journal in 2008. Maybe a really real public blog. Or not. There’s safety among divas. But I am going to start a new chapter anyway. I just have to think about what to call it.

Every day is a story. And I’m going to tell it even if it is just to myself. I’ve come a long way. Even from a month ago. I’ve been writing for 2 months. And it helps to get it all out. It helps to tell someone about my day. Because my days are still happening. I still have do get up and do this. I have to be everything to those girls. I want to do it. I want somebody to tell, to conspire, to bounce ideas off of. So, it’s the black blinking cursor that hears it all. It’s what keeps me talking. It’s what keeps me sane and gives me something to look forward to. Because that phone call? Will never come. The key jingle? Lost only to my dreams.

I used to be an apple. Now I’m an ice cream cone.

Note to self: take a nap more often.

The end of DST has screwed up my kids sleeping schedules. I think Ella has quite possibly been awake for 2 days. She woke up (at 6:15) in a snit. And it didn’t quit until late morning when I declared it to be nap time. She hasn’t napped during the day, voluntarily, in weeks. Today, we all slept for 2 hours. We should do this every day. I know that I was more functional with a nap. Less productive but functional.

I paid the funeral home today. Nearly $7K. And that’s for a cremation. But that’s everything…the church, the cemetary, the obit…everything. But that’s still the largest check I’ve ever written. At least that’s done. Really done. Really, really done. Now all I have to do is go and pick out a stone. They won’t be able to lay it until spring (ask me how I know) so I’m not in a huge hurry. That’s not something I can do with toddlers in tow.

I have this friend who is my token trailer park friend. Although she just moved into a house so I guess technically, she’s not my trailer park friend anymore. Her extended family is very trailer park material. Like textbook, stereotypical material. The kind that ends up on SNL sketches and sitcoms. Her thinking is, “when you know better, you do better”. She had a kid at 16 and now has 2 more little ones and another little one on the way. She also BF, Cosleeps, CD…the whole deal. I really like talking to her and I like that we have quite a bit in common. She doesn’t sew but she appreciates what I have made. Her kids always get homemade gifts from me.

I like her. But she and her dh are mean to each other and fight over the dumbest things. Like who’s going to change a diaper or how much the other spent on gas or groceries. It makes me sad. Stephen and I never talked to each other that way. Not even to other people. We never said anything that would hurt the other person. Ever. If he did, and I dont’ think that he did, I never heard about it.

Why do we, as humans, do that? Does everybody pick on the people that we love? The people that we are closest to? I keep thinking that what if something happened to HER dh. How would she cope with 3 kids and pg with the 4th? Would she be happier if he were always gone? Forever?

I don’t know the point of this. I just see it alot. My sister and BIL are kind of like that too. In fact, almost everyone I know is like that with their spouse. But we never were. I mean, nobody has the perfect marriage. There were many times when I was upset or angry because of labor division around the house or worried about how we were spending our money or when he was late coming home from work and didn’t call. But most of the time that I was upset, I was so because I wanted to be with him and not doing what I was doing. I don’t know. Maybe this is all hindsight because he isn’t here.

My house is finally quiet. It’s as quiet as it’s been in days it seems. I got some flannel PJ pants at Old Navy today and washed them up. They are very soft. I’ve been wearing the same PJ pants for years. And, I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last 6 months so I’ve had to get some new stuff. I like the print and they are comfy but the rise isn’t high enough. I don’t have any hips (never have had any) but I have a baby belly still. I can’t seem to cinch them tight enough to keep them from falling off my body when I walk. Maybe I should have gotten a medium? But who wears a XXL on top and a medium on the bottom? I used to be an apple. Now I’m an ice cream cone.

Mmmm…Ice cream. There’s mint chip in the freezer.