Trees, Rain and Magic

There is a tree outside our house that can be seen from my bedroom window, the kitchen window and the deck. It is big, strong, healthy, beautiful tree and last week it started to don its fall attire. In one small section. Not even an eighth of its foliage had slipped into crimson colors. Dandelion and pumpkin colors huddled together, like the cool kids in a clique in high school.

Late yesterday afternoon, I took my book and went to my bedroom and assumed my default pre-teen pose: lying on my stomach across my bed, my legs bent at the knee and ankles crossed. I lay the book on the bed, propped myself up on a pillow and began to read.

In the background, my subconscious heard a noise. It was a comforting sound but one I didn’t really pay attention to until I realized that it was the rain. It was raining hard. I popped up off of the bed and went to the window. It was dark at 5:00, very dark. I opened the window as far as it could go and leaned on the frame of the window, my head resting on the screen.

Immediately my eyes were drawn to the tree. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the kaleidoscope of colors, seemingly waving to me.

I thought of Natalie. How I wished she could see this, with me. My chest and heart were heavy with sorrow and I started my own downpour.

The rain was thick and cold. It hit the concrete patio with a slap. Slap! Slap! Slapslapslapslapslap!

“I wish you were here Nat” I said to myself.

Then it happened.

The rain that had been pounding the ground, the earth, the concrete stopped falling down and fell sideways.

It rained sideways.

For a few seconds, it was raining in my bedroom. The water droplets made their way through the screen and pelted my lips.

I don’t know if I’m crazy, well, I do. I am. But that’s beside the point.

I felt like I’d gotten a kiss from Heaven.

Immediately, the rain resumed the course of gravity and I watched a few seconds longer before closing the window.

Today. Today she would’ve been 38. I woke up around 7 and went downstairs to snap a picture of the tree. I wanted to post a photo of magic, but when I got downstairs and looked out the window, the magic was gone.

The colors were still there, technically but instead of brilliant, individual colors they all matted together and made an old rust color.

I wondered if the dark gray sky had made them look more vibrant but there was definitely something missing today…

It was you, Nat.

You are gone and the world is less colorful, less magical.

I know you are still with me and us and I do cherish the signs I get from you… I guess I will always just want more.

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This Will Be My Last Post…

Breathe. This will be my last post, written as a 38 year old.

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Saturday is my birthday. Last year at this time, I had a psychic reading done. It was an emotional experience and I recall her telling me that my New Year’s Day should be celebrated on my birthday day. It is the beginning of a new year, for me.

And this year? Man, am I ever ready to be done with THIS year. It has been a difficult year, more specifically, a difficult 6 months.

It has been a year of greats. Greatest year of loss. Of grief. Of growth. Of curiosity. Of finding purpose. Of productivity. Of creativity. Of dancing, ever so carefully as to not disrupt the balance of things. Crying when I need to cry, screaming when I’m angry, asking for help when I can’t do it on my own. I have lived more life in this year alone than in all of my 37 previous years combined.

I am grateful. I am angry. I am sorrowful. I see more beauty and focus less on the ugly. I try to understand it rather than judge it. I have a long way to go AND I have come a long way.

October 10th will be the one year mark of my working. It’s not a lot of hours but it’s what I can do to feel good about myself and it beats the hell out of being unemployed.

I have survived (thus far) raising a teenager… (and a husband).

I have lost a son and a sister.

I have gained the strength, confidence and trust of strangers because some part of each of our stories intersect.

I moved from a townhouse to an apartment and have actually MET some of my neighbors, as in more than the ONE I knew at the townhouse we lived in for five years.

I started this blog and have written consistently, twice a week, since March. I have begun writing a book.

I deserve the t-shirt I saw the other day. It had a picture of a Buddha sitting on a Lotus flower and it reads “Mindful As Fuck”. Yep, that sums it up.

I had been feeling nervous about turning another year older… like it was going to somehow sneak up on me and take me by surprise. HA! IN YOUR FACE. YOU’RE ALMOST 40! By now, you should be living in a house. Working a job that pays at least minimum wage for 40 hours a week. Know how to change my own oil in my car. You know, adult stuff. Do it. All. Right now. Or, you fail. You fail life.

As you can see, sometimes spending too much time by myself is not a good thing.

Just as I was having trouble breathing, I got an email. “Another 9 Inspirational Older People Who Still Kick Ass”. There was a video link for one of the examples, watch it now, here. Seriously, go watch it. Are you watching?

Wasn’t that INCREDIBLE? A.Fucking.Mazing! And one of the judges said something to the effect of “I hope I can move like that when I’m your age” What? I’d hope to be able to move like that at ANY age!

Anyway, watching that video… it was inspiration for me. It eased the tension and anxiety. Helped me to see clearly, life isn’t over. Sometimes it can feel like that but I do know how to navigate (for the most part) and I have two more guardian angels to watch over me as I do my/our work of being our best selves and leaving the world a better place than we found it.

 

 

Oh Baby!

By the end of next month, my “baby” girl will be 13 years old. Thirteen?! Years?! Sigh. It feels like only a few years ago that I heard her heart beat for the first time and marveled at how the fast pace mirrored my own excited rhythm. It certainly couldn’t be more than a decade since I first saw her grainy image grow from a single black dot to a tiny, tadpole like shape before a fully functioning human being. A mini-me that not only survived a traumatic birth via emergency C-section but endured by test after test, surgery after surgery before coming home to live with us and all of our ineptitude. We relied mainly on instinct (and a ton of calls to the nurse line) to keep her alive longer than a goldfish or houseplant keeping our fingers forever crossed… I can’t believe how much she’s grown. Sometimes I still can’t believe she’s here, that she’s mine. One of the few things that reminds me this is not a dream is when the ultrasound tech asked Don & I if we’d like to know.

“Know what?” I asked.

“The sex of the baby” she replied.

“Yes!” we both said.

“You’re having a little girl” truth be told, I can’t remember if she said it exactly that way because Tayla was NOT a little girl… Born premature, she still weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz and measured 19 inches.

The tech pointed to the screen, “see, it’s not just the lack of a penis that tells me it’s a girl, you also have to be able to identify the ovaries. Annnnd there they are!” She beamed like my baby’s ovaries were something the tech had been working on for months and finally unveiling for the first time, for our approval.

“My baby has ovaries” I thought. What a personal thing to say to us. How embarrassing for her… it’s a good thing she can’t discern words yet. I mean, I know women have ovaries and it stands to reason that we are born with them but she’s not even fully developed yet! I don’t know how I thought she’d get them… maybe order them off of Ebay? They’d arrive sometime after puberty, possibly in a pill form? Maybe a suppository? I don’t know, the whole thing seemed so strange to me.

Here I am, nearly 13 years later with the same unexpected news…

I have been on birth control for years, so I haven’t had a period since… I can’t remember the last time and several weeks ago I found out I am pregnant again!

I had been tired and sick for weeks with no sign of getting better. Had some tests done and SURPRISE!

“Is this baby flicking me off?” I asked the ultrasound technician. “Don’t you start giving me an attitude this early, you hear me baby?”

“Um, no. You’re having a boy.” She said.

“Ohhh, then I guess that’s not a finger?” I asked. “You’ll fit in just fine baby” I whispered to my belly.

Judging by his size and other various bits of information, I am 15 ½ weeks along and Noah David is due on September 29th, my grandma’s birthday.

I am so excited and pretty scared too. I wanted to keep it on the down low until I’d hit a viable gestation period but I don’t want to give into my fear & superstitious-ness. I made it through the toughest part, the first trimester. I am however considered high risk, for many reasons. Any pregnancy after age 35 is considered a “geriatric pregnancy”. This is the medical term. Seriously? You don’t think pregnant women are emotional enough? Gee, I feel as big as a house, I cry at nearly everything and now you’re going to add the fact that I’m too old to safely have a baby? Don’t forget to lecture me about giving birth to an orphan! Assholes.

Another reason are my health conditions. I am diabetic. I have arthritis. I have a thyroid problem called Grave’s disease along with high blood pressure and depression coupled with anxiety. I think I must be the equivalent of an intense game of Jenga…

I am being closely monitored though. Weekly, actually so at the first sign that something is not right, we’ll be able to catch it. Still, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!

Ps. I know this was supposed to be Slapstick Sunday, and it turned out to be more of a slap on the back/pee on a stick Sunday… I hope you got a chuckle out of the post anyway!

Not What I Expected…

So here it is again, Sunday. Time for Slapstick Sunday but I don’t feel so slapstick-y. I’m sure funny things have happened during the week yet I’m feeling more… sentimental.

We took our daughter to get her hair cut today. Four inches fell to the floor in as many seconds. We took her in for a couple of reasons. One, it was just time. Two, she’s back at school tomorrow and I didn’t want to have to fight with her about washing her hair and the third reason is because her birthday is coming up. Next month she will be a teenager.

Usually on her birthday, I do a photo session. This year I wanted to do it early. There’s a wonderful building in Minneapolis, off of Washington Ave that is idea for a photoshoot. I was excited to get started!

First we HAD to buy a new shirt. The one she had on barely covered her belly button (can you hear her eyes rolling in the background?). So a-thrifting-we-will-go. After a little looking and maybe a bit of bribery, she agreed on some denim jeans with roses embroidered on the leg and a pink & white top, the kind that are like a tube top-on the top and then free flowing from the bra line down. Oh, she hated it! It was adorable!

Hair looking good? Check. Presentable clothing? Check. Directions to downtown? Check. And we’re off. And I’m sooo tired. It hurts to keep my eyes open. The building is open until 8:00pm and it’s only 5:00. Totally enough time to go home for a quick nap!

It’s a little after 7:00 when we leave. I know I’m cutting it short. It’s not that it’s a long drive but I need the sunlight for the effect I want. The sun is in perfect position to blind me all the way until I miss my exit. Backtrack. Park. And then? Where the hell did the sun go? Who knows. We’re already here, we’re going to make the best of it.

I feed the meter and lug all of my crap out of the car and cross the street to the historic building. I take in a deep breath before pulling the handle on the door. It’s stuck? Nope, it’s locked. It’s only a little after 7:30. What. The. Fuck.

Now that the sun is gone, it’s also much colder, as well as darker. We cross the street back to the car and I throw my stuff in the back, making sure I slam the car door loudly.

I started the car and the gas light came on. Fantastic. I ask Siri where the nearest gas station is and we’re off again.

Tayla hasn’t said much during this time but I can see her playing on her phone and get irritated. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. We’re supposed to be bonding. Reflecting. Taking in the beauty around us, not playing Minecraf… holy shit. She’s taking pictures. The skyline. The bridges. The neon lights. The flashing lights. The art on the side of buildings…

“Didn’t you used to live down here?” she asks.

“You did too” I tell her.

She smiles brighter than all the lights at Target Field.

So, I didn’t get her birthday pictures done today. Instead we took an impromptu tour of the city and I can’t wait until we do it again.

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I Love This City!