about their experiences. Shawna was the only one who used her hands, she said dumping seemed rude and she feels she has become closer to my mom than she ever intended. My mom loved Shawna, I remember when it used to bug the crap out of me how much she loved her; I was certain it was way more than she loved me. I was 15, I was an idiot. What I know now is that she loved Shawna because of how tightly I held to her and how much I loved her. She loved her because she loved me and Shawna was willing to have it, I usually threw it back in her face. Shawna was to my mom what Nate is to me, her bonus child and you can never mother too many people. My mom thought Shawna was the best thing that ever happened to me and even I wouldn't argue her that.
Our Mt. Rushmore adventure ended in comedy as most things in my family do; my mom would have loved every second of it. I wanted to take a picture of all six of us so I tried to climb over a split rail fence into a forbidden area to frame a photo and start the timer and take our picture. I made it half way over the fence, one leg on either side and I twisted my ankle on a piece of granite...yes, I know, it's a granite mountain. I fell down on the forbidden side of the fence in complete slow motion...ask anyone who was there. I could feel the ridiculous slow motion faces I was making. I could see both Shawna's and Erin's faces clearly, it was fantastic....I crumpled to the ground in grand theatric style. By the time I landed ,which I'm pretty sure took 15 minutes, I was laughing so hard I couldn't stand up or I would wet my pants. So I layed on the ground under the fence laughing so hard I couldn't breathe and the five people I love so much laughed
|Shawna was kind enough to capture it on film|
Until my mom died Thanksgiving was my very favorite holiday, it was always filled with laughter and Hagan food drama; I truly dread it now. Until she was gone it was the only holiday that made us feel like a big family, now it just makes Erin and I feel like orphans and that has been hard. My husband's family always includes both of us, but it's not the same and sometimes being around someone else's entire family makes you feel more alone. This year it's a little better, and being out of town is a welcome distraction, there are lots of kids and everyone is having a ball. Erin is here and he is the only person left who remembers all of the same traditions and memories that I do, I couldn't do Thanksgiving without him. Tomorrow he turns 40 and, as ever, I am incredibly grateful that he is my brother and my friend. I remember my mom saying to me on my 40th birthday, "You can't imagine how strange it is to have a 40 year old child." And I want so badly for her to be able to say that to Erin over his cake. Tomorrow we will go out for dinner with Shawna and Chad and gamble in Deadwood, I hope I can distract him, birthdays without your mom are hard.
This year I am incredibly grateful for my chosen family, I have had friends help me in ways that I can't even explain in words- and that is saying something. Friends have moved me, they've kept and loved and entertained my kids, they've cooked. They've gifted my children life-sized tiger stuffed animals. They've held me up...even one I didn't get to meet in person until this very week. They've kept my chickens and my dogs, they've given me and my kids a place to stay while all of our house drama was going on. I am incredibly thankful. I am grateful to my mom who taught me how to be a good friend; it pays off in my life over and over again. So while I am missing her today a little more than usual, I am so thankful for so much of what she taught me, for the traditions she left in my care. If you are my friend and I haven't told you lately how much I love you....I love you. And I am incredibly thankful to have you.