Posts Tagged With: joy and sadness

International Week of the Birthday ~ day four

Well, today isn’t super celebratory.
Thing 2 decided not to come this week. I am disappointed. I am sad. My feelings are hurt. But, what really strikes me is that I’m not terribly surprised. I’m not sure how I’m going to process this. Only, I do know that I can’t let it ruin Birthday Birthday week. I’m going to take time to be sad and then I’ll go back to celebrating myself.
(I may be writing a bit more optimistically than I feel.)

Oh my golly!
The UPS guy brought my first pressie!
This precious little hand carved duck from my friend and mentor Jessica!

Isn’t this the sweetest thing?
It comes from dcuk, The Duck Company in England. How precious!

I kind of love that this little boy duck is rocking the pink polka dotted wellies.

Breakfast for dinner will make this day complete. Breakfast foods are my all time favorites, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate myself this week!

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my mom

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Mommie died. I’ve been thinking of her so much lately. I miss her in ways that sneak up on me and hit me upside the head like a baseball bat. I’m momentarily stunned and then I feel sad. Or I laugh uncontrollably. Or I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Or I get so angry I grunt and stamp my foot. I firmly believe that all daughters feel these things about their mothers.

I’ve written about my mom before, But I’m not going to talk about our unpacked baggage, or our love of robin birds, or the gift of silly memories. I’m just going to share my mom.

I love this photo!
This is my mom when she was sassy AF. I think she’s so beautiful. This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. I think my mom stopped being sassy when her mother died. She looks different in any photo taken after 1969, like something’s just a bit off…or something. Now, this is just my theory…but I do know that death of her mother changed her greatly.
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This was taken at our house on Barton Street in Arlington. I suspect my dad took it. It was before I was living in that house, but I don’t know how long after they were married this was taken. Some time in 1970.
I think she’s beautiful in this photo too, but she looks different.
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This photo was taken in April of 1971. The month before I was born. I think she looks tired. But I’ve been that far along in a pregnancy twice in my life and I remember feeling tired.
I’m so glad that the middle part went away for a long time…does it really look good on anyone?
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So, my parents were pretty freaking strange. And quite possibly they shouldn’t have been allowed to bring me home from the hospital. I’m the weird little alien looking baby. My mother is holding me inside my father’s boot (he was a motorcycle cop) as he takes the photograph.
Obviously, I wasn’t a very cute baby…though in my defense, I’m kind of crammed into a big leather boot. That makes for some uncomfortable faces. Summertime 1971.
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I went through years and years of photographs trying to find some of me with my mom. There are tons of photos of me with my dad (before he left) and even more of me with Grandaddy. But few with my mom. She was always behind the camera.
Being behind the lens is something that must run in our blood. I’m a photographer. Thing 2 is a photographer. Thing 1 is kind of a photographer too. Luckily, there are other people with cameras who’ve taken photos of me with my girls, even though I’m almost always behind the lens of my camera.

This is Grandaddy and Mommie and me. I’m not sure why Mommie and I are dressed up and Grandaddy is wearing a sweatshirt. Maybe we girls were going somewhere just the two of us? I don’t know.
I was probably in sixth grade so that would make it 1982…maybe?
(note my awful middle part)
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I did find this one of us working a WETA telethon. (taken before we were actually on the air) I had this mad skill of sticking out my tongue just as the shutter clicked. And our hair is really terrible. This was the next year or so. My mom hated my long hair and cut it all off one afternoon under the guise of giving me a “trim”. Circa 1983?
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This one was taken in November of 2000 by Thing 1. We went to see “Grandmommy” for Thanksgiving. This photo was taken sixteen years ago this same month. I love this photo because we look happy to be together. I recently removed it from the album and put it in a frame.
Positive reinforcement of love.
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Five years ago this day, my mother’s life ended. She died the Monday before Thanksgiving. The girls and I drove down to see her body (before it was cremated) on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
The little bit of my mother’s ashes that belong to me are in a tiny enamel heart shaped container.
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Sometimes I take it out of the blue velvet box and hold it in my hand. Sometimes I hold that heart to my own heart and imagine that we can feel each other’s love.

A small stuffed robin bird sits atop the blue velvet box. The blue velvet is on a small cedar box filled with memories. The small cedar box is on my bookshelf below my collection of journals. This is the side of the shelves that face my work tables and comfy reading chair. So I can see it whenever I want.
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In some ways, five years is the blink of an eye. In others, it’s a long, dark eternity.
I’ll always have a complicated relationship with my mother. It wasn’t sorted before she died, but that’s because of who she was. And I guess that’s OK too.
I know she loved me. I know I loved her.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

goodbye, Why Not?

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Sundance texted me Tuesday evening: I’m going into mourning. Why Not? is closing.
My response: Oh NO! Saddest face.
Sundance: I just saw it on the news! We need to go check it out.
Me: I’m wide open Friday. Can you go then?
Sundance: I believe so.
Me: Sold!
Sundance: Boo yah!

So I picked her up this morning and we headed into Old Town Alexandria.
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Why Not? Is a toy store on the corner of King and Lee Streets that we have been shopping at for more than twenty years.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve taken any number of our four kids into the store to climb the steep and narrow stairs to the all important Groovy Girls/Playmobil/book section.
Thing 2 and Girlie Thing had so many pairs of adorably patterned tights from Why Not?
We’ve bought more books from Why Not? than from Amazon in the last twenty years.

Why Not? has been there on the corner for more than 50 years!
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It is heart breaking to know that an independent toy shop just can’t keep up in the day and age of Amazon and Target, etc. Not to mention, it’s probably time for the owner to retire.

I am filled with sadness this afternoon. But I am also flooded with the happiest memories of being in that shop with my girls. Of sneaking down to Old Town when the girls were at school to do a little Christmas or Birthday shopping. Of piling into the car to see the windows decorated for the holidays.

Sundance has been coveting this little dolly for almost two years. It’s made in France and she saw it for over $100.00 at another toy shop. It was $74.00 at Why Not? and everything in the store was 30% off.
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That little brown haired dolly had a red haired sister!
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We decided we needed them desperately…but not enough to actually buy them. Our grown-up brains overrode our dolly needing little girl brains.
‘It was just Christmas. I don’t have a job. Blah blah blah.’
We discussed how my Mommie would have convinced us there is always money for a new dolly. Made us miss her. Sundance talked to her mom after I dropped her off at home, she told her we should have bought the dollies. So much for us being grown-ups.

I did purchase a children’s book.
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It’s about girl power, I absolutely couldn’t pass it up!

Sundance bought two little teeny angel dollies. One for me and one for her.
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I LOOOOOOOVE her!

My sadness runs deeper than I expected. It feels like a part of all the Things childhood has died. Luckily, they’re big kids now. They have happy memories, and hopefully no sadness.
How lucky are we that Why Not? was in our lives for so long!?!

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

blowing a kiss

I find myself missing my mom today.
I don’t know if it’s simply “that time of year” with my birthday rapidly approaching. Or if it’s that I’ve seen so many robin birds in the last two weeks. Or if it’s because it’s gray and cold today.
Maybe I just miss her.
It’s actually kind of strange because I honestly feel like I miss the idea of her more than I the physicality of her. That probably has to do with the fact that we lived so far apart and didn’t see each other that often.
Maybe it’s just knowing she was there was enough.

At the end of her life, she and I were not speaking often, I was wrapped up in my dad being very sick and burning miles back and forth between VA and SC. But learning how sick she was for so long before she actually died, I’ve figured out that it wasn’t just that I wasn’t reaching out to her, it was that she had stopped communication. She was keeping her illness a secret.
I wonder why she did that. She loved to play the martyr, but not seeking treatment when you’re as sick as she was…well that’s just ridiculous if you ask me.
It wasn’t my choice though. I can’t say how I would choose to behave if I was that sick, diagnosed or not…though I’m pretty sure I’d fight the good fight and do what I could to be well. I can assure you I wouldn’t keep it a secret.
I’m not quick to volunteer information, but I sure as hell don’t hide it.

I miss being able to talk to her whenever I want. To pick up the phone with any big or little thing that runs through my head. To send and receive mail on a whim. We were the quick to send each other any old thing from the crazy post card I found at Tower Records a million years ago, to trinkets like little redhaired Kelly doll or a new color book and box of crayons. She would have adored and fed my (and the Things) love of MLP.

I’m tickled to find myself choosing little trinkets to send to Thing 1 or Thing 2. Carrying on the tradition as it were. It’s as meaningful to them as it is to me. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail? But more than that, isn’t it lovely to know someone is thinking of you with affection enough to send you a little something?
Thing 2 just got a little box of yellow smiley face gumballs from me. Randomly, because I saw them and they made me giggle. She was so happy to receive them, not only does she know she’s loved, the gumballs were yummy, too!

I suspect when the day comes that I get grandbabies I’ll do the same for them. Just a little love wrapped up with postage affixed waiting in the mailbox. How perfect is that?

It seems absolute crap that I’ll never get to talk to my mom again. Never hear her voice. Laugh with her. Get frustrated or angry with her.

There is so much unresolved baggage between my mom and me. Here’s the thing though, even if she was still here it wouldn’t get sorted. That’s simply not who she was. I’ve come to accept that.
I’d just like to hear her call me baby or tell me that she loves me.
I’d like to tell her I love her.
When I was little and we spoke on the phone, we would always blow a kiss before we hung up. Literally, “mwah, pfff” (kiss sound, blow sound).
I have the very last card she sent me on my magnet board above my desk. It’s a Mother’s Day card. It’s kind of funky like me, kind of sappy like her. She wrote, “I love you, Mommie” just like she signed every other card she ever gave me. But this was the last time she ever wrote it. She died almost exactly six months later.

The robin birds are out in force. I have a strong desire to call her to report the news.
Maybe she knows.
The pragmatic part of me knows it’s not the case but it seems kind of sweet somehow to think it.

I’m not sad. I’m…what? Thoughtful? Yes. Thoughtful. I’m in the positive place of memories and I’m filled with love.
As Sirius told Harry,”The ones that love us never really leave us…and you can always find them in here.”
For good and bad, my mom is in my heart. She always has been and will always be.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

tidings of comfort and joy (and donuts)

I got up early this morning to take friends to the airport. I left YBW and his two Things at home fast asleep.
My student (who’s mother died in March) and his daddy are going “home” for Christmas.
Their little family and mine have become so close that we are now truly a part of each other’s families. The little boy calls Thing 2 his daughter. He heard me say it once and then took her all around the school and said to anyone who would listen, “This my daughter, Thing 2.” He also says, “Thing G my favorite.” Mostly he says, “I go you house Robynbird?”
So Thing 2’s three year old “dad”, D has become a ‘nephew’ to YBW and me and his daddy, S feels to me like a ‘younger brother’. This morning I was their big sister/aunt and packed them up and drove them to the airport, left them with hugs and kisses and promises to let me know when they arrived safely.

A song that I always associate with Thing 2 began to play and I was flooded with equal feelings of joy and sadness. My initial concern about starting my day poorly with sadness faded as the song went on and joy overwhelmed my sadness. I’m relieved to realize I can feel sad about missing her but those feelings don’t consume me. The feelings of joy, the memories of driving too fast with the windows down blasting this song and singing it at the tops of our voices are too good to hand over to the sadness of missing my girl.

I drove home as the sky lightened with the idea to stop and get donuts to bring home to the boys…I know what each of them likes so it was pretty easy to choose a dozen and grab a cappuccino on the way home.
So here I sit, with my take out coffee waiting for three boys to wake up. The little Christmas tree lighted, the menorah waiting for it’s last few nights of candles, the stockings hung by the chimney with care and my heart filled with comfort and joy.
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I do wish these boys would get on up though, I’m hungry!

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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