You’d hate this post. My whole life you taught me not to get mired in the muck. Man, did we have muck. But, you didn’t allow dwelling there. Instead you pushed me to see the blue skies and silver linings.
Sure my dad, your husband, was gone, but we had each other, this big, chaotic clan. We had each other and our loss made us strong and resilient. Wasn’t that enough?
When you died, a day I had prepared my heart for years before, I went about the business of living like you taught me-dwelling in the positive. And it mostly works.
Except when it doesn’t.
Except right now, when my husband’s out of work again and we’re close to out of money again and I sit here powerless and defeated because I’ve slowly morphed into this full-time domestic with this part-time fledgling business that doesn’t bring in enough to support us and I’m not sure how to fix it. Did you catch all that?
You would have gotten it. You’ve been here, in this particular kind of muck. Married to a headstrong, passionate, pain in the ass, beautiful man, whose morals and standards are so much higher than many that he sometimes loses jobs because of it.
You’ve been here with a house full of little kids and no paycheck.
You would probably just tell me to quit whining and suck it up and support him, because as modern as you were, this was your answer to every spat of ours: “Support him, he’s good to you and he’ll be a great father. So, love him and it will all work out.”
You were right of course, but you’re not here, so you can’t yell at me. You can’t frustrate me with your turned head and tsk-tsking my weakness.
Funny, all I want is to be yelled at by you again. Because it made me mad, and motivated. It reminded me I was strong, and resilient and really pretty lucky after all.
You’re not here to push me toward the light and by myself I just want to stay in the dark today. I don’t want to dwell in the positive. I just want to wallow in all that I’ve lost.
I want to think about how you don’t know my boys and you barely met my girl. I want to be sad about how they don’t know you, even though The Baby talks about his Grandma like you two are old friends. I want to scream that it’s unfair you’ll never bring The Chair to any of little league games or see Her sing in all the school plays, like her mom was never brave enough to do. I hate that my Girl and those boys will never feel the absolute inner glow that comes from a rare and hard-won Toni pat on the back.
I want you to see how much better they are than I could have ever been. I want to be proud of the job I’m doing…in front of you.
I want to get stuck in the memory that as soon as things seemed better last time, He got a new job, you were feeling well, we found our new place, just when I relaxed and began to trust that maybe everything would be alright, you died. I want to sit there and coddle myself about how it happened again. No one has died, but just when I started to move forward, away from the mistakes and the missteps, seeing only our bright future, the rug got ripped out from under me-again.
I don’t want to think about how moving away, to this place that I love, where I have bloomed, was so much easier because you weren’t there anymore, so it wasn’t home anymore. Instead, I want to cry over you never getting to meet my friends here and about how I’ll never show you my beach. I want to wallow in my failure to prove to you that I could chase down a dream while you were still here to see it.
I want to cry over all the Broadway plays I’ll never take you to and how you’ll never know people actually read my writing now and I’m trying to do some good in the world, just like you told me I could, if I really wanted.
I want to be mad, that until this (and maybe in spite of) our current situation, we’re doing pretty well and you’ll never get to see that. I want to share that no matter how well we do, we’re still so damn scared every day that we’re messing it all up. Maybe I wish you’d yell at me about that last part too.
I know it’s your birthday and you would want me to look around and notice all that is good. I swear, mom, I usually do. Really, I do.
But not today. I don’t want to today.
I’m sorry, but all I seem able to do today, is want my mom.