The post that is not the post, but is about the post that is supposed to be posted.

I’ve been attempting for a couple of days to post about our experiences with prom dress shopping this year; how shopping for a senior prom dress differs from shopping for a junior prom dress, how we were disappointed to discover the boutique we loved so much last year has undergone some managerial changes, how strange it was to be shopping without my mom…

I’m struggling with that post.

For one thing, I can’t get my photos to load.  There actually are not a lot of photos to load; I didn’t take as many this year as last, in part because she didn’t try on as many dresses, and in part because I wasn’t sending them to my mother for opinions, and, therefore, only took pics of the best dresses, only took the pictures Hayden requested.  The post needs the pics, but the damn computer won’t load the pics, so the post won’t flow.

My mother, though only physically here twice, has always been a part of our dress shopping: homecomings, winter balls, graduations, proms: all of them, all of the dresses, all of the shopping, we have included her either through texted photos or FaceTime.

And, she always bought the shoes.

It was bittersweet to be there without her.  I worked overtime to stay in the moment, and to enjoy the time with Hayden, but I missed my Mom–both in real time and in future losses.  She won’t be there when we shop for Anna’s dresses, and she won’t be there when we shop for wedding dresses.

Yet, she was there.  I know she was there.  We are all adjusting to a new manner of her being there, but she was, she is.  And, I know she loves this year’s dress.

And then there’s this

There has been a lot of stress and sadness in our home since I was last able to write anything here.

At the end of October we had to have our beloved Jules, our eleven year old Golden Retriever, put down.  It was heartbreaking, as those things always are, but it was even more than heartbreaking, if that is possible, because both girls insisted on coming with me to say our final goodbyes to her and to hold and pet her as she took her last breath.  We remained in that little veterinary office for over forty five minutes holding the remains of that sweet dog, crying, and attempting to get ourselves together enough to emerge from the room with some dignity.

Immediately following the election…waaaaaay back in November…in fact, as I was watching the election returns at ungodly hours of the night, I started having panic attacks.  Mini panic attacks.  Itty bitty heart racing panic attacks.  So small that on that great big scale of panic attacks hidden away in therapist offices everywhere they may not have even registered, but I was very aware of them, and even though I could control them fairly easily by excusing myself from a conversation or turning off the computer or grabbing one of my kids for an unsolicited hug, they scared me.

This fall, Hayden applied to several colleges (yay!  The possibilities are endless!  Her future is so bright!) and, as the acceptances began rolling in from every school she applied to, so did the panic. (Oh, my God!  She’s leaving me!  How are we going to pay for this?  She’s leaving me!)  This is an ongoing stress as she tries to decide where she wants to attend college, how far away she will be from us, etc.  It’s the proverbial parenting dilemma: I’m so excited for her and can’t wait to see who she becomes, what she does with her one magnificent life–while, all the while, feeling a tremendous sense of loss for the little girl she was; she used to hold my hand for everything, and now she runs ahead of me.

My mom passed away on January 29th of this year.  Four and a half weeks ago.  On my sister’s fortieth birthday.  She had undergone a major surgery on the twentieth, and although there were small ups and downs in the time between the surgery and her passing, she had done remarkably well.  She was ready to be discharged from the hospital on the twenty-ninth, literally dressed and ready to go, when she suffered a pulmonary embolism.  Despite a large contingency of doctors and nurses and the such, they were unable to save her.

That Sunday morning I was just getting in the shower to go to the hospital in Albany, NY when I received the first text that something was wrong, that something was happening.  I was on the road, almost to Hartford, CT when my Dad called to tell me she had not survived what he thought at the time was a heart attack.  I continued to drive towards Albany making a couple of phone calls–the first to Steve and the second to my friend Suzanne.  Twice I had to pull over on the Mass Pike/NY throughway to vomit.  It was the worst morning of the worst day of my life.

I have much I want to say about my mother, but I’m not ready today, so I will just leave this here.  For now.

 

 

 

 

 

These Days

Steve is working on the bathroom remodel; there’s crashing and banging and sawing and drilling and hammering and swearing filling the house.  Hayden is doing her nails and otherwise prepping for homecoming while her music volume constantly increases to cover the crashing and banging filling the house.  Anna is drawing a “Welcome October” picture for me in my bullet journal.  I told her a simple sketch would be sufficient, but she is an artist, and nothing for her is ever sufficient; it must be perfect.  And, I am researching a new book idea.  There are two dogs at my feet; one because she is always at my feet when I am in my office, and the other because she is terrified by the banging and crashing filling the house.  It’s raining.  That will ruin the homecoming pictures.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty perfect Saturday in the fall.  There’s spaghetti sauce in the crock pot, simmering away, filling the house.

Steve and I just celebrated our ninetieth wedding anniversary, and I wonder, so often, how it is that we got here, to this place, these weekends, that I so dearly love.  Sometimes it feels like such a long ride, and other times I think we are still at the beginning.  We are the among the lucky ones, I know this.  We’ve had plenty of bumps and bruises along this journey, we’ve suffered some great losses, but we have never faltered, we have never doubted our love for one another.  Many of our friends have divorced or almost divorced, a few of those divorces quite shocking, and each time we wonder how it is that a marriage can get to that point, each time we are so thankful that we don’t know the answer.

I know I sound a little, or maybe even a lot, self-righteous.  But, I truly know that our success so far has as much to do with luck as it does with our hard work.  I know that it could all fall apart tomorrow, that some unforeseen event could shake us, some minute shift in the universe could rock us to our core.  I know how blessed we are to have these moments, this family, these Saturdays.  I take none of it for granted, and I do, I honestly do, wonder how we got her so relatively unscathed.

Because these days?

These days are the days that sustain me.  These little days with my little family.  I am such a lucky woman.

 

 

 

 

 

A Joyful Noise

So, this week is Spirit Week at the high school; five days of dress up and mayhem leading up to Homecoming on Saturday.  Tuesday was holiday day, and the Seniors dressed for New Years Eve, and ran throughout the building at 12:00 in the afternoon blowing noise makers and yelling, “Happy New Year.”  This perk of being a Senior is apparently quit startling to some of the underclassmen, freshmen especially, but is a tradition everyone in the know greatly anticipates and joyously awaits.

It got me thinking.

Why can’t we be so joyful about every milestone in our lives?  Forget sweating the small stuff…why don’t we celebrate with complete abandon?  I want to run through the halls of my home and scream and praise my family for everything we do!  Made the volleyball team?  Yay, you!  Suffered through the pain of getting your braces tightened?  Hip hip hooray!  Got an A on that AP Psych test you studied for all week?  That’s awesome!  Congratulations!

Okay, sure, I already do that, I already praise those things each day, but I’m talking bigger and better.  I want my kids to more than hear our praise, I want them to understand that every single day is a gift, and that they should be proud of what they accomplish in that day, in the manner in which they celebrate that gift.  There’s too much stress in the world.  I want them to focus on the goodness they see and they create.

And, I want them to do it with noise makers.

 

Eighth Grade

This girl started her eighth grade year last week.img_3305

Because I am a bad mom, and because she was completely impatient not nearly as patient as her sister, I only got a couple of photos.  Actually, I only got this one because the other one is not very good and I have been forbidden to post it.  Even though I already posted it on Facebook.

Like this:

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I think they are both good.  Oh, well.  I’m just the mother.

I am praying HARD that Anna has a better year this year than last year, and I know she  is a little nervous too, but I am so proud of how she handles herself–how she works through her fears.  She is excited for eighth grade.  It’s going to be a good year.

Senior Year

This beautiful girl started her Senior year of high school last week.

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She was very patient while I took several photos of her before she drove herself to school for the first time ever, oh my heart!

Mom!  Stoooop!  I’m gonna be late!

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So, I stopped.

For a minute.

Then I chased her down the driveway.

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And, so, it begins.  My baby girl’s Senior year of high school.  So many milestones coming up this year, and I want her to enjoy every single minute.  I’ll try not to let her see me sobbing in the corner.