Home Sweet ……

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…… apartment.
Nah. It’s really Home Sweet Home.
Finally.

I’m in New York.
And so is my stuff.
The movers arrived Monday, at around 11:30 a.m. It took them approximately 2-3 hours to bring in all of the boxes/stuff.
And then I got down to business.
For the next 10 hours.

The next two days I unpacked/put away/discarded things for 16 hours. Each day.
Yesterday I got up and worked about 3 hours and finished.
All boxes had been unpacked, flattened and recycled.
Everything had been put away where it belongs …… or stuffed somewhere to be attended to at a later date.
Today was that later date.

I went through every junk drawer/basket/file, you name it …… I went through it, cleaned it out, organized it and purged.

The apartment is finally …… and totally …… done.
It.
Is.
Home.

And I feel happier than I’ve felt in almost 11 1/2 years.
I feel content.
Settled.
Accepted.
Alive.
Vibrant.
Joyful.

I am where I’m supposed to be.
It’s not where I thought I’d be 11 years ago.
But time passes.
And it sometimes changes things.
And people.
I am definitely changed.
And happy.

Yes, I still miss Jim.
Every day.
But I’m living my life.
Not our life.
And though I wish it were different ……
It’s not.
And I’m okay with that.
Because to not be okay with it would mean that I would be miserable.
He, nor I, would want that.

My kids are all good.
They’re healthy, happy, secure, successful …… and loved.
I couldn’t ask for more.

The road from there to here was long, dark, excruciatingly difficult, painful, lonely and full of potholes, unexpected detours, closures and some amazing views.

I don’t know what the future holds for me.
And that’s a good thing.
I don’t want to know.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to know.
I just want to live this life …… this full, active, busy, sometimes sad, most times good, challenging, never dull, always interesting and full of love life one day at a time.
That’s all.
And that’s a lot.

I’m home.
At last.

Life Moves ……

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…… on.

I’m not saying that people move on, or better yet, people who are grieving move on. Because we don’t.
But we do move forward.

Life. It’s life …… that moves on.
At this point in my life, I can say that that’s not necessarily a negative thing.
At first it is. It hurts. A lot. And it’s hard to accept and adjust to.
But after 11 years, it is what it is.

And while I’ll never move on from being Jim’s widow, my life is definitely moving that way.

I’m back in Waco. I’ve been here for a little over a month. It’s time for me to sell my house here and to move to NYC full time.
I. Can. Not. Wait.

Don’t get me wrong. I like being here. I love being around my grandkids and being closer to most of my kids. And my parents.
I also love my house and will really miss it.
But my non-Gigi heart is in NYC. Thankfully, all of my kids know this and are more than okay with it.
Even Daughter #2, who lives here with the two boys. I know that she has mixed feelings about me leaving.
She loves NYC, as do all of my kids.
And she loves me and knows that it’s my happy place.
She also knows that I will probably be in Waco just as often as I am now. I can’t stay away from those boys for too long.

But it’s time for my life to move on from here. I need to be there full time so that I can fully live my life. I want to volunteer in a few areas and it’s difficult to do that when you don’t live there all of the time.
I have many friends there and I miss them when I’m not there.
And …… there’s still SO much for me to do, learn and experience in NYC.
And I can’t wait.

So …… I’ve been getting my house ready to be put on the market.
Which means that I’ve been purging like crazy. There are very few things that will move to NY with me, so I’ve got to get rid of a whole lotta things.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time with D2 and the boys. In fact, I took care of them this week while she went to a conference in Vegas.
At least, that was her story.

It was a wild week.
Grandson #1 is now 4 years old.
And goes to a Montessori school.
Grandson #2 is a year and a half.
And goes to daycare.
Unless Gigi is watching him and wants to keep him home.
Which I did.
(I was also annoyed with the daycare because I took him there on Monday and they decided that he has pink eye. With no pink eye.
Seriously?
I tried to tell them that you can’t have pink eye if it’s not pink.
Or itchy.
He has allergies.
But whatever.)
So he and I had some great time together this week.

Grandson #1 is a hoot.
And a strong willed, vocal, and stubborn young man.
All good (yet sometimes not) qualities.
I had some flashbacks this week when the school called.
He had a couple of rough days.
I hate flashbacks.

But all in all he had a good week.
D2 got home at around 1:00 a.m. this morning.
I immediately got in my car and went home.
I was eager to sleep in today.
And to give Gracie some down time.

She had dental surgery this week. I took her in expecting her to have a tooth extracted.
She had four removed.
W.T.H?!

Evidently her jaw bones are on the crappy side and seem to be disappearing, which loosens her teeth and causes infections.
And the need for extractions.
Fun times.

Poor baby.
I had to board her at the vet the night before because I couldn’t get her there on time the next morning and get Grandson #1 to school on time.
She had never been boarded before.
I’m not sure who suffered more, her or me.
Wait …… that’s not true.
I know who suffered more.
Any person and/or animal that had to listen to her whine, cry and screech all night.
I was surprised they didn’t charge me extra for that.

Anyway …… she was pretty pathetic when I picked her up and she stayed that way all night. I let her stay in her sling that I wore most of the night. Yes, I have a sling for her. It makes life MUCH easier in NY and in airports. And she loves it.
So, yeah. She was miserable but pretty drugged up all night.

The next morning she was back to her normal, hyper, obnoxious, cute self.
Must’ve been great drugs.

Back to D2 getting back this morning.
She took the boys to school/daycare and went to work.
Then she picked them up early this afternoon and headed to Austin to go on a retreat for single foster moms.
Daughter #3 and her hubby will be taking care of the boys.
She asked me if I wanted to go.

…… bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!
It’s not that I don’t love visiting my Austin kids, because I do.
But yeah …… no.
I need some down time to re-charge.
Yes, I love and adore those boys.
But ……
I’m too old for this stuff.
And I have no idea how I mothered 6 kids.
None.
Other than the fact that I wasn’t 50-something.

So I went to the grocery store today to stock up on essentials …… coffee and creamer. And bagels and cream cheese.
And I got 4 movies from a Redbox.
BTW, it was snowing here in Waco at that time.
I kid you not.

My plan this weekend?
To veg out, drink coffee, eat bagels and watch some movies.
And hang with Gracie without having to chase down the fastest crawler on earth before he eats dog food, gets into dog litter, grabs a glass of “night time coffee”* (Don’t ask. I haven’t told D2 about that yet.), or tries to dive down some stairs.
Did I mention that I’m too old for this?
And exhausted?

It’s going to be a good weekend.

*night time coffee is what D2 told Grandson #1 is the name for wine.
She’s brilliant.

Eleven ……

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…… seems to be a word that stands on its own. It’s big enough to just let it sit there.
Eleven.

Eleven years since I’ve seen his face, held his hand, kissed his lips.
Eleven.

I no longer disbelieve that he’s not here.
I no longer think about calling him when something big happens.
I no longer cry when I look at his picture.

Eleven will do that to you.

I really don’t have anything new to say.
Life is good.
Our kids are good.
All six of them.
Most of you know just how huge that sentence is.
Our kids are good.

It’s been a good year full of travel, grandkids and New York.
I can’t complain.
Even when I do.

Life is good.
Even when it isn’t.

I will always miss him, just as I will always, always love him.

Eleven.
It’s so much better than one.

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I Seem to Have a Love/Hate Relationship……

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…… with a freakin’ tv show.

Give me a break.

In case you haven’t seen this new series on NBC, it’s about a group of passengers whose plane disappeared for 5 1/2 years and then suddenly returned. Out of nowhere. But here’s the kicker: the passengers think they were gone 3 hours. They didn’t change, age, notice anything different (other than some crazy turbulence). They felt and thought that they were landing on time and in the right place. Back to their normal.
But what they came back to is a world that has aged 5 years. A twin who was 8 when he left and came back now has a twin who’s almost 14. Talk about weird.

So anyway, that’s all I’m going to give you.
Now on with my point.
Maybe.

This show reminds me of some dreams I’ve had over the past 10 years. Dreams where Jim comes back. Sometimes, most times, he acts like nothing’s happened. And I’m torn between screaming for joy, love, relief, etc. and screaming because I am beyond pissed at him. Kind of like those feelings you get when you find your lost child who had wandered away and hid.

I don’t enjoy those dreams. Of course I always get past the being pissed part.
But still.

Back to the show ……
I think I like it because it hits so close to home. The pain that that passengers feel when they realize that life has moved forward 5 years, without them.
The joy of their family and friends when they discover their loved one(s) has come back from the dead.
And the frustration, confusion and problems that follow.

I hate this show because I wish that it could be a true story. I hate that these people get to have their loved ones back.
And I don’t.
Even if it took over 5 years.
In spite of all of the problems that would follow.
Mostly.

This is the part I hate most ……
Part of me (a very small part, but still ……) wonders if I’d really want him to come back after all this time.
I’m crying as I’m writing this because it’s difficult to admit.

It’s not that I love someone else.
It’s not that I’ve become a terrible person.
It’s not that I don’t love him anymore.

I guess it’s mostly just that life has gone on.
And nothing would be the same.

Our world is different.
Our country is (too) different.
Our family is different. Hugely different.
I’m different.

I don’t write this flippantly.
I apologize to any of you who are in the club and can’t even fathom what I’m saying.
Those of you who’d want them back this instant.
I’m sorry if reading this causes you pain.

Of course I’d love to have him back.
Wouldn’t I?
Maybe my tears mean …… “mostly”.

Life Is Good ……

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….. right?

I mean, it’s mostly good.
And I try to focus on that.

So why am I sitting here, crying because I miss him?
Again.

I hate this.
I really, really hate this.

This shitty wave that comes out of the blue and smacks me upside the head, knocking me to my knees.
Again.

It’s been ten damn years.
There should be no more waves.
Right?

Ten. Freakin’. Years.

I just got back from a trip to Hawaii with Son #1, Daughter #2 and grandsons 1 and 2 (2 is a foster grandson but I love him all the same).
We had a great trip.
It was kind of exhausting, but it was good.

I have a great life.
But in the midst of this great life there is a shadow that seems to hang just behind me, over my right shoulder.
Where he should be, I guess.

That shadow is always there.
Always.
I don’t always acknowledge it.
Or actively look for it.
Or even see it …… sometimes.
But it’s there.

But every once in a while …… it comes over me …… and reminds me of the life I had.
And of the life I should be having.
And of the life I’m missing.
The man I’m missing.

Damnit to hell.

There Is ……

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…… Love.

Something kind of cool just happened to me.
Well, more than kind of.

I was listening to one of my Pandora stations and a song came on that I don’t remember hearing for 35 years.
Thirty five years and 3 months, to be more precise.
At my wedding.

I stopped what I was doing and just stood there.
And listened.
And remembered.
And (here’s the cool part)…… just smiled.

I love this song. Still.
It was really over used in the 80’s at weddings.
Which is what is bound to happen if you title a song, “The Wedding Song”.
But I still loved it and wanted it sung at our wedding.

The memory of that day brings very mixed emotions.
There were a lot of “family issues” going on at that time.
It wasn’t a particularly joyful day …… for me.
That is until the two of us got in the car and left the reception.
At that moment I felt like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.
And I knew that I had made the best decision of my life.
I married Jim.

It’s still the best decision I ever made.

For those of you who used this song at your wedding …… I hope it makes you smile.

Life Can Be ……

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…… amazing.
And heartbreaking.
And thrilling.
And sucky.
And heartbreaking.
Beyond heartbreaking.
And …… surprising.
Surprising in very good …… and very bad ways.

We know the very bad.
If you’re reading this then you probably know the very bad.
At least in my life.

But there is also the very good.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six years ago …… I wouldn’t have been able to see the very good.
I had seen the good. And experienced the good. At times.
But not the very good.
And I probably wouldn’t have been able to say that the “very good” was possible.
Then.

But life, ten years out, can be very good.
Mixed in with the very bad.

It’s interesting.
Beyond interesting, really.

I just came back from a week in Bermuda.
I visited a friend who I met 27 years ago.
She was one of the very first friends I made when we moved to Texas.
I remember exactly where I met her.
In the local library.
At a toddler reading time.
She was there with her 3 sons, the oldest was around three years old and she had twin toddlers.
I was there with my 6 year old, twin 4 year olds and a one year old.
I immediately zoned in on her.
Because she had twins.
And I asked her if there was was a “mother of twins/multiple club” in the area.
And the rest is history.

We became fast friends.
I loved spending time with her and letting our children play together.
I had Son #2. And she was very supportive.
I had Son #3. And she gave me a shower.
She was a good friend.

When Son #2 was 5 months old he was hospitalized with pneumonia.
She was the first person to come to the hospital.
She was more than a friend.
She was a nurse.
And she was there when they were trying to insert an IV into my little 5 month old baby.
She went into the room while I waited outside, and helped those nurses insert an IV into his head.
I was so glad that she was there.

Not long after Son #3 was born, her husband was transferred to Bermuda.
Not a bad gig, right?
But I, of course, missed her.
Son #3 and I went to visit her when he was around 8 months old (and refused to take a bottle).
That was the last time that we spent a significant amount of time together.
That was 23 years ago.

We kept in touch.
For a while.
And then we didn’t.

Luckily, I was able to track one of her sons down earlier this year.
And so we found each other again.
Twenty three years later.

I went to Bermuda last week.
And we picked up right where we left off.
I love friendships like that.
No awkwardness.
No long silences.
No uncomfortable pauses.

Only love.
And catching up.
And then feeling like time had stood still.
But also had not.

She hadn’t known that Jim had died.
We had a lot of catching up to do.
And as I spent time with her and her husband …… I missed Jim.
Of course.
I always miss him.
But I miss him even more when I spend time with couples.
That’s not a bad thing.
It is what it is.

I miss that man.
Every day.
Still.
Forever.

But life moves forward.
I can sit around missing him, and refuse to participate in life ……
Or I can move forward, too.
And enjoy what he’s not here to enjoy.
For him.
For both of us.

It’s been a great summer.
I’ve been to Ireland, Colorado, and Bermuda.
The kids are all doing well.
I’m doing well.
Most of the time.

My life isn’t perfect.
No life is.
I miss him.
Every.
Single.
Day.

But life is for the living.
And so I live.
For both of us.

Life can be …… amazing.