You were the unexpected surprises that I didn't even know I needed. I woke up at 7 AM today all on my own. Whenever I tried to fall back asleep, the Mew cat started crawling on me and nudging me, saying, "Mama! It's time for you to get up!"
But, let's be real—as much as I love my Mew girl, if I'm getting up at 7 AM the only thing I can coherently think about is coffee above all else. I thoroughly enjoyed my cup of coffee this morning, nice and warm in the remnants of my blanket cocoon.
After I woke up, I was on a mission: go to the bank before they close, and then brave the grocery store on a Saturday morning. I took pictures at the grocery store because, as my mom would put it, I'm a dork. But I think there's a lot to be said for the power of grids and color and displays. (And tbh, I was so on board when Justin asked me to pick up some donuts with sprinkles for breakfast.)
Honestly, the best part of my day was seeing the oh-so familiar Girl Scout cookie display set up in front of Pick N Save. I couldn't resist picking up my favs—Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, and Peanut Butter Patties. Sometimes I actually forget that I was a Girl Scout and I sold these same exact cookies. I made sure to thank the girls who were selling them for all the work they do. Being a Girl Scout is no joke.
When I was in first grade, I was the top seller in my troop because my mom took my cookie sheets to the bar with her on nights she bartended. Turns out, slightly inebriated people really love Girl Scout cookies. (Who knew? ;) )
I didn't have to work until 5 tonight. I hate going in so late in the day to close because it throws off my whole schedule. But the sunset tonight after a day of almost nothing but clouds made me so happy. One of the perks of working at Hardee's is honestly the view of sunsets we get from the parking lot. Beautiful.
Saturday, thanks for being awesome. See you next week.
It's been seven months since you've been gone, Padre. I'm wearing green in the form of your Green Bay Packers 1996 Super Bowl sweatshirt. I'm doing laundry and washing my sheets and just trying to have a relatively low key day.
Missing you comes in waves still. It usually peaks around now, the anniversary of the day you died while I am still only counting in months. The thought that soon it will turn into a year and then several years is mildly debilitating. To think that I will go on growing and experiencing and living a life that has gone on without you breaks my heart. To even think about the future and all of the major life milestones I will have to experience without you in them makes me weep. Even now, writing this, there are tears forming in my eyes.
The process of letting go is difficult. That's not even the right word for it. It's painful and crippling emotionally as well as physically sometimes. It's one of the hardest life lessons to learn, over and over again in life and it's always one of those things that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot make a roadmap for letting go. You can't make a detour to completely avoid the messy freeway construction of your emotions by taking the back roads, the easy way out.
The grief has to come first. You have to wade deep in the trenches of your emotions first. It always gets worse before it gets better, in the beginning when everything feels so raw and overwhelming. You have to hit rock bottom before you can start picking yourself back up again. Your emotions are going to do their best to knock you down over and over again. They are going to drown you. But you will survive.
*(Ironically, the age I am now + the year I was born.)
One month from today, I turn twenty-five.
Twenty-five feels like a big year, y'know? It also feels like a freight-train of nostalgia and I'm strapped to the tracks, powerless to stop it. Everywhere I go, I am bombarded with memories. It started the day of my mom's surgery, with my dad on a constant loop. From there, it has spiraled off into smaller rivers and even more complex tributaries.
My grandma. She has been on my mind a lot lately. Since my mom told me not to drink all of her favorite apple wine before we left after her surgery, her memory has popped into a lot of my quiet moments. Last night in the shower, I was thinking about the special bond she had with my dad. Even after my parents divorced, they remained close with one another.
My dad stayed by my side through her entire service at the church she attended her entire life. The church I was baptized in. The same aisle my mom walked down with her Uncle Bob by her side to give her away to my dad at their wedding. I made my first communion at the front of the same church in a big fancy ceremony 3 years later. It only seemed fitting, at the very end, for my dad's journey to end the same way: at the front of the very same church, and buried as close to grandma as I could get at the cemetery.
In t-minus one month, I will be the same age my mom was when she met my dad at a racetrack, one August night in 1988. My dad remembered her number because the last four digits were the same as his tire size on his stock car. My dad, the romantic.
That feels like it carries weight somehow. It feels like magic, knowing you're going to be the same age as your mom was when they met and fell in love with your dad. Because of their love, you exist—regardless of the later outcome. You exist because of those butterflies and nervous, new relationship feelings.
Twenty-five has me feeling all sorts of circle of life feelings. Losing my dad and my grandma at this point in my life also plays a huge part in that too. Feeling the true depth of their loss has made me appreciate every time I see another pregnancy announcement on my Facebook feed. Or engagement post. Or wedding photos. (I'm a sucker for wedding photos.) I love seeing the celebration, of a new milestone, a new chapter, a new life. It reminds me that maybe there is good left in the world on the days where all I can focus on is all the suffering and the brokenness.
Twenty-four, we have one more month together. Let's feel these growing pains and then dance it out. Twenty-five is coming whether we are ready or not.