Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mama,

Summer is here.  School is officially out, and I now have a 5th grader and 9th grader in my house.  Seriously?!?!  I can't believe how big they are getting, and it's happening right here underneath my nose every day.  David was in 5th grade when you died, so I think that's why it's so hard to comprehend that now Madalyn is going into the 5th grade.  It's been so long since I last saw you and talked to you.  You wouldn't recognize the kids... well, I'm sure you would, but you would be shocked.  David is maturing, and Madalyn is shooting up tall as a sunflower.

I was so ready for summer this year, more than usual, I will admit.  4th grade got the better of me.  It's the first teacher that I just could not connect with.  Could not.  I guess because as Madalyn shifted to the intermediate school, there comes along with it a greater divide between parent and school.  They expect them to be a little more independent, and I get that.  But I only got to attend one class party, the one at Christmas.  And I got tired of signing every single sheet of paper that came home.  And I'm just glad 4th grade is over.

8th grade was no less challenging, just in different ways.  David started the year off well, and then after Christmas break just struggled with some test grades.  And in the middle of that was golf, which was so difficult this season for him.  He was trying new techniques, he messed up his back, and then he just never got the zeal for it again once he could return.  I don't know if it was pure discouragement or if it was fear he would hurt himself again.  Whatever it was, he just stepped back from it.  We had him set up for weekly lessons, but he wasn't showing any desire to practice or put in the time, so we called it off.  We'll see what his future holds.  Right now, he's all into his four wheeler and learning how to do different things to it.  He's good with his hands when he wants to be.

I picked up reading my Jesus Calling again.  It's been months since I sat down with it.  When I get in a funk, it's hard to read it because it just reminds me of you and all of our struggles as you fought cancer. It's amazing, though, how much better I feel when I read it and focus my mind on the things that matter.  I've been a bit of a mess lately, I will be honest.  It's like I keep looking and waiting for someone, something that can fill your spot, desperately wanting someone to love me the way you did.  In the past few months, I've started to realize that I will never have that again.  No one will ever love me the way you did... it's just not possible.  You were my Mama, but you were so much more because you were you.  I'm even more convinced now than ever that our souls knew from the minute we met that we would not have an entire life span together, and that is what helped create our unusual bond.  It's not that our relationship was perfect... I drove you crazy, and you got on my nerves, and we had the normal ups and downs any parent/child relationship has.  But we didn't have the big issues, the screaming and fighting and other things like that which bring about deep regret.  I don't have any regrets, and I am confident to say you didn't either.  And that's a gift.  I think it eases my plight with grief a little, and then it adds in something that not many others can understand.  My hole is larger than most in daughters that have lost their mothers because our relationship was so much broader and deeper than the typical mother and daughter relationship.  It's something to be grateful for, and yet it is what makes me ache ever more.

I'm getting this.  I'm recognizing that I can't look to anyone else to take your place.  I can't put that pressure on anyone because it is an impossible task.  But to think about it and realize makes me so angry.  So very angry.  I've got to stop expecting people around me to nurture me like my Mama once did and get back in the Word.  That's all there is to it.  And it makes me mad to admit that, because inside I feel like a five year old little girl that wants to crawl into her mother's lap and read a book.

I remember sitting in your lap one Saturday morning.  You had your coffee cup beside you.  I don't think anyone else was awake yet, and you sang your original musical masterpiece, The Saturday Song. It's just a little snippet of a memory, like a clip of a movie immortalized in one of my brain cells.  That's where I would like to be.  In a Saturday, a safe Saturday, in a world where you still exist.  But that is not to be, is it?  So, here I am.  Learning to live without you is more painful than I ever dreamed it would be.  Learning to let my assuredness bubble up from the inside.  Learning to love myself.  Learning to stand on my own two feet without you beside me or behind me or wherever I need you to be.  But I am learning, Mama.  I am trying.  And that's the best I can do.

I love you dearly.  Always will.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mama,

If you were still alive, I would call you this morning, or you would call me, and only minutes into the conversation you would ask me what was wrong, say that I sound down.  Because I am, and you could always tell by the tone in my voice.  I could hide my feelings from anyone but you.  And I totally get that now that my kids are getting older.  I can tell if something is wrong with them by their body language or how they talk.  I know them that well.  You knew me that well, too.

I would have to confess that I am down, not about any one particular thing, but more or less a lot of little things that I'm allowing to weigh on me more than I should.  We have an abundance of minor repairs that need to be done around the house.  There's a freaking dead tree beside my driveway that's been dead for almost a year now that I would chop down myself if I were physically able.  The pool is a total disaster with liner issues and the salt generator needs replacing.  The septic tank is acting up, and that's just a nightmare in and of itself.  And I just sit here in the middle of it with no clue as to where to even begin.  I guess the pool is the least of my worries.  We know how much the generator will cost, so it will have to wait a month or so.  I can control the chlorine levels myself in the traditional way.  I need to do a walk around the house and make a list of things that need to be done, one of what I can do myself and another for things that we will have to pay to have done.  And the septic tank, well I have modified my washing schedule, and we will try to wait until the fall so the yard won't be a mess all summer long.

Honestly, it's not all these little things that bother me so.  I feel so damn lonesome, completely disconnected.  And no one around me really has a clue.  I know it's because of the time of year... the anniversary of your death just passed, and now Mother's Day is next weekend.  I know I get this way, but I still don't know what to do with it all.  Where do I put the grief?  I can't lay it down and go about my day.  I carry it with me.  I smile and make jokes and fix lunches and scrub toilets with it all on my shoulders or balanced precariously atop my head.  It's at its heaviest right now, and even though I know in a couple of weeks it will be lighter, I won't feel the relief until then.

I just miss you so much right now.  I'd love to rewind time, not to be younger but to be able to have a Saturday with you.  I would drive down with the kids, and we could go to Dairy Queen.  And what a pleasure it would be to go sit in my grandparents' living room with you again, to talk and eat pound cake and drink sweet tea out of those brown plastic cups.  And then we could just go back to your house and sit and talk either on the couch or outside on the back deck.  It's the simplest things I miss the most, the casual conversation and just being with you.  I miss the way you loved me, the way it felt to be your daughter.

I guess I am finally beginning to accept that it is gone.  People love to throw those cliche phrases out at me... she will always be with you!  She's forever in your heart!  But it's all crap.  I mean, seriously?  You're dead.  You aren't with me.  You are woven permanently in my spirit, but it's not an experience anymore, only memories.  And while memories are wonderful, they are not the real thing.  So now I have to accept that my mama is gone.  I will live the rest of my life missing our relationship.  And to be honest, that really sucks.  It hurts and makes me mad at the same time.

I guess I've had a pity party this morning.  Time to pull up my boot straps again and get moving.  I'm about to go out back and vacuum the pool and get it treated with some chlorine.  Then off to Publix, and I desperately need to run by the little vacuum cleaner place to get some bags for my vacuum.  And I may run to Lowe's and pick up a few things there.  David has friends coming over today, and I'm sure they will stay the night.  It's just business as usual around here, but I do it all with a big hole in my heart.

Missing you much today, and loving you always.