Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Everything and Nothing

Two years.  730 days.  17,520 hours. 1,050,200 minutes.  It feels like a long time and it feels like nothing at all.  Sometimes I think I overuse that particular sentence but it seems to nicely peg a lot of things going on in my life.  Many things are nothing and everything at once.  My mom being here and not....it means everything.  And nothing. My mom is gone and she isn't.  That woman is with me every moment of every day; when I need her and when I desperately wish she would go the fuck away.  She is everything I am and everything I'm not.  She is all of the things I want to be and many of the things I work very hard not to be. She is things that I see on a daily basis that are too crazy to be believed. She is Disney and Christmas and Expecto Patronum.  She is the force behind every single intelligently hilarious thing that Aidan says.  She is Livi's adorably accurate foul mouth and Gracie's indignant anger at anything she deems unacceptable.  She is Erin's disorganization and his amazing spirit of helping those who need it.  She is the reason that Shawna is more like my sister than my friend and Nate is more like my son than my son's best friend.  She is the reason that I love with my whole heart and the reason you won't understand that until I let you get to know me.  She is the best of my parenting and on rare occasion the worst of it.  Everything and nothing.

Occasionally people, even people who know me well, are shocked by my faith.  I have issues with organized religion, I am not a Christian, my beliefs lean towards the pagan but... my faith is central to who I am.  I have faith and faith will get you through a lot if you let it.  Sometimes, it's exhausting...the getting through; the fighting to keep going.  Sometimes I want to curl up and stay hidden under my covers.  Today I'd like to stay under the covers.  I'd like to curl up with my head in my mom's lap like I did when I had a broken heart and cry and let her make it better.  The Pink song that I posted at the top of this post makes me cry like a baby.  I miss my mom and the lyrics....are perfect.  "Let me be lighter, I'm tired of being a fighter."  I feel that way a lot.   I am one of those people who just gets through stuff.  I just figure it out, move through the pain and get on with it.  This dead parent thing; it doesn't work like that.  Some days are good, more than not, but you don't get through it.  You learn to navigate in it.  Most days I do okay, some days I excel, but....once in a while, I struggle.  This week has been a struggle. Next week will be better.  The reason I am a fighter, the reason I get through, the reason I don't give up....is because I am Cheli's daughter; it isn't how we were built.  Everything and nothing. 

It has been two years, it is starting to feel real, to feel like a permanent absence.  Additionally, I'm going through some things in my personal life that are right in Cheli's wheel house.  They are just the kind of things that only she would understand.  My mom could be too much, she could be annoying she could be a know it all and she could be a little bit self righteous but she could also be perfect (Again with the everything and nothing).  She could be breathtakingly perfect in doling out advice.  And one of the things I miss most about her is her particular ability to remove herself as my mom and give me the advice she would give a friend...not the advice she would want to give her daughter whom, of course, she wanted to live pain free and happily ever after.*  She had the ability to step out of the situation and separate; it is the trait of hers I have worked hardest to cultivate in my own parenting.**  I can tell you, so far, it is incredibly hard to do, I wish she was still here to learn from.  I just wish she was still here.  Everything and nothing.

Today, it is two years.  My family and I will lunch at Hamburger Heaven in Elmhurst, we will eat double cheeseburgers with extra sauce cut in half, and french fries and we will drink root beer with NO ICE.  We will write her notes on balloons and we will release them to the skies and we will watch them until they are gone from our sight.  We do it twice a year, on her birthday and on the anniversary of her death.  In the big scheme of things it is nothing; I don't need to write my mom a note on a balloon, I am one hundred percent certain that she knows, that she is with me, that she's felt it before my pen has touched down.  But it is everything too; symbols are important, making sure my two youngest remember my mom is important.  Giving Aidan a moment to grieve for his beloved Grandma is important.  Spending some time with Erin remembering our shared childhood is important.  Taking the time is important.  If you still have your parents, do me a favor; finish reading this post, pick up the phone and tell them you love them.  Everything and nothing.

 *She was the first person to tell me that happily ever after is just a giant load of bullshit.
**Second is the illusion that I actually know everything my kids are thinking an doing, I am rocking that one, thank you very much.


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