Her absence was palpable at her home. There sat her husband, her daughter and her grandson – and it was Christmas Day. The one (me) who usually takes far too many photos on Christmas Day had an urgent need for SOMEONE to capture the three of us on film just sitting … the looks on our faces missing the magic that IS Christmas. And the quiet and awkward moment of us all missing her at once!! Because that picture would have captured the fierce, overwhelming importance of how we felt without her. And all I wanted for Christmas is for her to SEE how much she was. How much she means.
The Night Before Christmas:
I removed my arse from my comfort zone and RSVP’d via my son to attend Christmas Eve at his girlfriends home. I wasn’t feeling festive, I wasn’t feeling social, (well, I never really feel social lol) BUT, but, I wanted my son and his girlfriend Chelsea to see that I love what they have and was willing to be ‘part of.’
So I went.
I had the best time. My son’s girlfriend’s parents were lovely – and welcoming and so down to earth.
We had thought about riding, ok, I had mentioned I would love to. (I grew up riding and Chels has horses.) But it was SO cold!
We did visit the horses though, and in an attempt to kiss her moms horse on the nose, I ended up in a nostril. Handsome moved. Lol.
We chatted, hung out, ate an amazing homemade lasagna and then presents. Nic made out like a bandit.
And, I received a gift from both Chelsea, and her parents.
The gift from Chels?
It’s burning right now – I love it so much.
I’m also so socially awkward that I’m ‘That Girl’ that makes friends with the pets. No exception here.
No, they weren’t sequestered outside, this is just a good shot of them there.
The larger pup made the cutest sound and the little one, found on the side of the road, had the most adorable underbite. I couldn’t get over his teeth! I was obsessed! I was almost POE obsessed with those teeth (Berenice reference to those who haven’t read Poe.)
Dad called Mum. We all got to talk to her – it was amazing.
I was in tears after mum shared that Nannie can’t speak anymore. She tries, she tries! But, mum can’t understand it.
Yet, Christmas Eve, she said ‘clear as a bell’ “How is Amanda?”
I lost it. I absolutely lost it. How is that fucking possible?????? I love her so much.
And I didn’t even ask what mums answer was.
Then, in the most quiet, delicate way, tears ran down my cheeks (I didn’t want her upset, but I knew and she knew, we were both crying.) I found Nic upstairs for his turn to speak to his grandma.
Grandma asked if the tree was decorated. He said “Yes.” I could hear both sides as I sat on the bed he lay upon. “Who did it?” Nic said “Mom.” “Awwwwwww!” Came from the other end and I was cutting Nic with my eyeballs at the lie and loving him at the same time for doing it.
He wanted his grandma to imagine we were taking care of one another and celebrating – he wanted her to feel like Christmas was happening, because she loves us so much.
Meanwhile, she was in her new fleece P.J’s and had chocolate. (THANK YOU ENGLISH FRIENDS YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!)
SO! We’re done chatting and finally my dad get’s to see Star Wars. It’s Nic and I’s second time.
Nic was sure that George showed up lol!
After the movie, we had an AMAZING Christmas dinner … But, I felt awful for the people working.
Then I kinda didn’t. I thought about how after the presents are open … It’s such a downer. Which is why I love Christmas Eve so much. ANTICIPATION. So, if you get to work for double time, then come home and do a holiday? “MONEY! THAT’S SO MONEY!” (Sorry, watching “Swingers” right now)
I thought back to yesterday.
It’s ‘Boxing Day’ to us Brits.
The day we usually spend at my mums having prime rib and an open house.
The day we let loose and love everyone.
Everyone is invited. I’m not going explain ‘Boxing Day’ – Google it. Lol.
I miss her.
I have a new perspective.
I know I’ve GOT to get life insurance. Sorry to be a downer, but ya know, we’re ALL dying. And last check, just to be cremated and put in a ziplock cost $2,000!!!!!!!! (Wait, that DOES come with some death certificates.) I don’t want to lumber my son or any of my family with this. And I’d love to be a tree.
They have a thing where you can be a tree! Lol.
And now I finally get to share the conversation that’s been on my fridge a while (we have a dry erase board and I recorded the moment)
Me: You can take my ashes and do whatever
Nic: You’ll either be a tree or there’s this ocean thing …
Me: I’ll take the tree
Nic: I’ll make you a ficus
Me: I’ll only kill it.
LOL! Because I have SUCH a …. Um, NOT green thumb. He’s just gonna have to sprinkle me or keep me or do whatever he wants.
And I’m probably NOT going to know what he does – because, um, I’ll be dead.
The ‘after’ shite is for the living.
I just hope all of you remember me. I DO want to make a mark. Even if it’s silly. You look at something inanimate with a face THINK OF ME!
TA-DA! Life fulfilled!
Oh, and there was nothing under the tree for me this year … But this meant the WORLD;
I held the plank last night.
In correct position, and with my arms shaking – I held on.
And when I got home, I started to get undressed when I noticed that the work I’ve put into my body these past weeks, is showing results.
I originally took a photo of my stomach for myself. When I looked at the picture after I took it – I noticed my arm. I was shocked. And excited. And I was sharing that!
I posted it to my Facebook wall, completely ecstatic that my goal of achieving tone was being realized.
I have other goals.
And what I tried to convey in my last post – was that I am trying to allow myself to want those things.
I found myself feeling on the precipices of a breakthrough – of starting to feel like a woman – in my prime – of wanting more for her.
At the same time, feeling very much confined to my hamster wheel and with no resources for even a change of cedar chips.
I needed to talk it out with someone.
So I did what I am only now learning how to do, I spoke up and reached out.
I had the most amazing conversation with one of my best friends.
I miss her.
This is the friend who wore a ball gown one casual Friday.
The friend who smeared cake on her own face just so she could turn around at the right moment and say “What cake?”
The friend I danced to P!nk with – and swooned over Dave Matthews with while we sipped Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.
The friend who was there for me during a devastating chapter in my life.
I love her.
She fought cancer and won. If that wasn’t enough to make her my hero, she’s bold and authentic, funny and smart, balanced, human and oh so loving.
She also happens to have the maiden name of my mother. First, middle and last. The odds of that are bonkers.
So I told her early this week, “I need to talk. I need a friend.”
We had a time planned, but then another friend needed me. The thing about true friends, is that there is no explaining, no awkwardness, just ‘can we talk another time?’
Yes we could. This weekend.
So I called her with tonight with “Are you home yet? What about now? What about now?”
No. She wasn’t home. But now was a good time.
She then proceeded to blow my ever so ‘undeserving’ mind with:
“It doesn’t mean you’re not grateful. It’s okay to acknowledge that you obviously have needs on many levels that are not being met.”
The thing about getting older, is that the window of opportunity for any significant life change gets smaller.
The older we get, the more likely we may become ill – become lonely – become someone we didn’t plan to be – and there are only so many do overs.
That is reality.
But so many times, ‘reality’ becomes an excuse for not trying.
As she said “We have to candy coat reality a little bit at least. To make life less bitter. We have to be able to dream, to want things for ourselves.”
This is true.
I can think of a million reasons why I can’t take a big step and make the little girl I used to be proud and excited again.
But all it takes is believing anything is possible and allowing myself to want something for myself. And that is NOT selfish.
I don’t know if I’m brave enough yet.
I don’t know if I believe enough in myself yet.
But I’m getting there.
If I can just hold on … even while I’m shaking.
I feel like an overstimulated toddler … overly tired, mind racing – having spent another day learning and trying such a variety of new things!
It’s a good feeling.
My new position has definitely kept my mind from wandering to any places it shouldn’t be right now.
The most bizarre thing happened today.
I was multi-tasking, and standing at the front desk while touching my thumb to my index and middle finger – when I felt ‘wet’.
I glanced at my hand … blood.
Enough blood that the ‘wet’ was not just a ‘sticky’ or ‘tacky’ feeling – but as if I had too much lotion on my hand.
I glanced around my body … where???
My right wrist was bleeding – and I had one hand in the air and my wrist before me as a customer walked in.
I sought out the agent she had come for while trying to think what in the world I could have done to cut my wrist and not know it, and getting a band-aid from her well stocked drawer. (She seriously has everything in that drawer.)
THIS is how occupied my mind has been. Forgetting I’m hungry until my stomach loudly growls, forgetting to go to the bathroom until my bladder cries out – and I LOVE it.
I am definitely a person who thrives on variety and the opportunity to learn!
I’m also the kind of person who can’t ‘clock out’ in my head.
On the drive home I was preparing a power point presentation in my head, reminding myself to follow-up with someone I’ve asked to instruct a class and having conversations with people I won’t talk to until tomorrow.
I need to find a solution for that. Meditation? That’s almost begging for disaster.
I can’t sit still.
Not for a movie, not for a conversation – I pause half-hour TV shows for crying out loud!
Then there’s the fact that I think too much. Just typing that sentence I recalled several examples, listened to part of a commercial and wondered about the validity of the product and noticed my dog wants to go outside.
If I could break the barrier of my mind – and be still, it could work.
I’ll just have to be sure to wear armor so as not to incur any unexplained cuts!
My heart grew today. I know it.
I was so completely aware of how amazing my son is.
For me, the measure of my success as a mother is the fact that he not only wants to spend time with me – but that he’s such a pleasure to be around.
We laughed so much, we always do – we waxed philosophical and we worked side by side.
He took me along to feed and water his girlfriend’s horses – with care and diligence for the animals and the task.
While there, he showed me his ‘fort’, which was actually an amazing puzzle of branches in the most photogenic wooden criss-cross of brush.
“Put your foot there – the other one there … sit here, on the trunk. Lay back, look up. Isn’t the sky beautiful through the branches?”
When did he become such a good driver?? I found myself not watching the road.
We spoke while he drove … of the moon, whether sperm have souls, road rules and safe sex.
“I want to teach you what I can before my time runs out – before you stop needing me.”
“I still need to learn how to ‘adult'”
My thought pattern stuttered and tripped over itself. The sentiment behind those words wasn’t lost on me. I was still needed. I recovered with a “Me too.”
We’ve become this team – unbreakable.
On one of the drives home I made a distracted sound.
“Having so many thoughts right now, I couldn’t even pin one down for you under my thumb to look at – not even by a wing.”
“I’m definitely growing up weirder than most …”
“That’s a good thing – don’t let your weird go.”
toothday Tuesday. The mysterious chipping of my front tooth has been remedied, but the mystery of how it happened may never be known.
If I run into Scooby Doo, I don’t even think it’s worth putting him on the case. I have other mysteries he can put those meddling kids on.
I love my dentist! And his assistant Laura.
We always have the nicest chats “Hi friend!” She says as I enter ‘the’ room.
Worst part of the whole procedure was what I called ‘the sandpaper shoelace’ They called it floss. They didn’t have it in between their teeth. I’m pretty sure my identification of the item was the correct one.
Still numb, but couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Do not be afraid – GO to your dentist. Do it. And if you already do – then go hug your dentist.
“Here’s smiling at you kids” (yes, I said that in my head with a Humphrey Bogart Casablanca voice as I typed)