So I am experiencing that familiar bottled-up, tense, need to purge. I can’t really pinpoint what it is, and I feel like it is a multitude of things, so while I am in the mood and have the backup fortitude of my ‘old days’ Pandora channel and our old favorite drink, I’m going to fall back on my old friend stream-of-consciousness. Nothing quite helps like a good longwinded unedited writing session.
I can feel it.
The rigidity is increasing in my bones, tendons and emotions pulled taut, cords of muscle and tempers pulling a little tighter each day as everything braces in anticipation of what is to come.
Every year it is the same. I know it will come and I know I will survive it. I know that the weeks and days leading up to it will be worse than the actual thing itself, but that doesn’t change it.
You would think that by now I would be used to this ride. The hold-your-breath, clench-everything, pit-in-your-stomach ascent to the pinnacle of the roller coaster. And while I do know now to double check my seat belt and clutch the bar a little tighter, I still can’t seem to calm the butterflies in my stomach or stop from closing my eyes.
Pretty soon we’ll be teetering on the edge…and then we’ll plunge down.
It has been a super busy summer!
After returning home from my whirlwind trip around the world, I had just a couple weeks home with the kiddo before I whisked away yet again. This time I took my Little Man with me, a quick jaunt up to Virginia to film a PSA and family profile for the nonprofit I work with, the EODWF (I’ll share once it is finished). Little Man was so excited to take a plane trip! He has flown many times in his young life but all between the ages of 8 months and 2.5 years, so he doesn’t really remember much about it. He was so stoked to pack his suitcase and have his own seat next to the window where he could wear his own headphones and listen to his own music. Such a big boy.
He was so well-behaved and soaked in everything, talking nonstop with excited questions and observations. Such a big difference from his first flight, a few days shy of 9 months old, when he cried in his carseat and squirmed through the cutting of his very first two teeth on the the three longest flights of both our lives, the flights that took us to Dover, DE to greet his father’s body. Sitting next to him this time I couldn’t help but think of those flights, the little bits I can remember through the numb shock in which I rotely operated. What a stark difference: this happy little boy, so tall and smart, so excited to be filmed and talk about his daddy… Almost 5 years ago, sitting next to the crying baby with everything so very very bleak, I couldn’t have possibly pictured our lives now, how we have not only survived but thrived. And as we told our story that weekend and remembered our hero, I stopped to smile often. The Hubs would be so proud.
Then, just two days after returning home, with just enough time to unpack, do laundry, and toss it all back into our suitcases, Little Man and I took off yet again! This time, we snagged my mom, packed up the car, and hit the road south to one of our happy places: Indian Rocks Beach, FL. It has become a summer tradition for us to spend a couple weeks away together; napping and swimming and reading during the days, walking the beach with ice cream as we watch the sunset each night. It is a special time I feel so blessed to share with my mom and my child, our little trio of generations with a bond I’ll treasure forever. And we got a special treat this year — we got to witness a nest of sea turtle hatchlings make their way to ocean! So amazing.
And as if two whole weeks of beach and relaxing (and eating…the food, oh the food!) wasn’t excellent enough, I got an awesome surprise on one of our last days there. Two mamas from my Moms Group (a kickass group of ladies I’ve known since we all met online in 2008 when pregnant with our kiddos) happened to also be in the area, so we met up! It was so lovely to finally meet these ladies and their kiddos in person. We’ve all been there for each other for 6 years, starting with our struggles to get pregnant and lasting through births and deaths, first steps and potty training, pains and joys. It was truly icing on the cake (ice cream?) of the vacation.
But for everything there is a season, so now we’re back home and trying to switch gears, getting back into the daily routine as we prepare for the start of school. Starting Monday, Little Man is going to be a kindergartner! I can’t believe it. It doesn’t feel as shocking as it could, I suppose, since he will be continuing on at the same private school he has attended for preschool and pre-k the past two years. He will even have the same teacher he had last year, since it is Montessori school with combined classes where students work on individual levels. He is excited to return and show off his reading skills and maybe join the basketball team now that he’s a big kindergartner :)
I feel like I still have so much to catch up on but, as I said in one of my last entries, every time I sit myself down to write the words just don’t come out. I had a visit with my therapist on Tuesday, my first since May, and she said something that really resonated with me: Perhaps I just don’t need this outlet in the same way I used to. Not that I don’t want to write any more, or that I won’t continue to write…and not that I am ‘over’ my grief, or ‘over’ my need for this kind of outlet to process it…but perhaps that need isn’t quite the same anymore…and THAT’S OKAY. I’ve become so used to approaching writing solely from that angle, that now when I don’t have an immediate pain to analyze, I often find myself crippled by writer’s block. Like my writing won’t be as ‘raw’ or ‘real’ or ‘rich’ if it isn’t filled with pain…like my gift of words was only born out of my darkest moments.
I think I need to relearn how to write from joy. Maybe I need a fun project, something to write about that is pure fluff to shake the dust out of my head and get my groove back. Maybe I need a new blog, or a new design, or a new planner to write down ideas. Or maybe, I just need to shut up and stop expecting things of myself. I’m sure it’s easier than I’m making it: don’t write if I don’t feel like it, write when I do. Kinda like right now. :)
The night air was chilly, my skin prickling against the breeze as I wrapped my thin sweater a little closer. The damp earth beneath the blanket we were perched on was beginning to soak into my bones, but I didn’t feel the cold. I leaned back and stretched my legs out in front of me, propping myself up on one hand behind me while the other brought my glass of red wine to my lips. I lifted my face to the sky and closed my eyes, savoring the moment.
Reality check. You are sitting on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. You’ve just uttered those three treasured words to the most amazing man. You’ve found it, you’re ‘there’. Finally. This is real life. Let yourself have this. You really are the same woman whose heart was surely broken beyond repair just a few short years ago, and this really is the same guy you knew back then who cried tears of pain over the same loss. I don’t know how we missed each other all this time, or how I’m worthy of this, but this is the moment. This is real. This is it.
Cheers of excitement suddenly burst all around, cutting through my brief reverie. I opened my eyes.
In front of me, through the rustling tree branches that framed our little place, the Eiffel Tower was sparkling. Thousands of twinkling lights glimmered and shone from the edges of the massive structure, dancing in the midnight light as if giggling with the knowledge of magical things not yet revealed.
I turned to my left and found him smiling at me.
Stretched out in a nearly identical pose, he radiated the same happiness and love I was feeling through that grin I loved, the one that reached all the way to his eyes. I stared for a few seconds, memorizing him. I never wanted to forget the way he looked, the way I felt, the place we shared in that perfect moment. I hoped the way I was feeling was just as transparent.
Wordlessly, I leaned in with a whisper of a kiss.
My Chapter Two, my unexpected blessing I’m so thankful for.
He bought me another sparkle.
This post is a response to the weekly Writer’s Workshop over at Mama’s Losin’ It!. Learn more about the ‘pretty much famous’ weekly prompts here. This week I chose: “Share a top favorite photo from June, and give us the back story.”
It’s been 10 days since I returned home from the most amazing journey. It’s taken me this long to put together my thoughts enough to begin writing about it, and honestly as soon as I just started typing I realized I’m not even sure I quite have the words yet.
So, here’s a little infographic for you while I get my crap together. I’ll be back soon with a full recap and pictures!