2013

At the beginning of 2013, I said “here’s hoping THIS year doesn’t suck”.

And, in comparison, it didn’t.

But, lemme tell ya, I’d define this year as “Loss”.

My Mom died early in 2011. A year and a half later my Dad died. (both of these deaths occurred unexpectedly after a brief illness.) Yes, there were people who reached out to me. People that checked up on me. And I appreciate them for doing so.

But I have been heartbroken by my oldest daughter leaving. I want her here. I want our family together. I want her to take my son with her when she does an errand, or goes with a friend for a late-night ice cream. I want her to make his first girlfriend feel comfortable at our home. I want my little daughter to cuddle in bed with her, to eat “sister soup” for breakfast, to paint nails with. I want her to be there when my little one comes home from school to show off her art work. I don’t want her having a serious boyfriend that I might not ever meet. I don’t want her squeezing in a skype call if she can when she’s having Christmas with some family I don’t know.

Add to that having a close meaningful friendship fall apart. This is a friend who we used to have holidays with, who we’ve vacationed with, and we were each other’s “go to” person when we’d have a crisis. Although we are both making overtures of friendship to each other, we’ll never be the friends we used to be. And now that I have a young child again, that friend isn’t available for me to drop my little one off for an hour while I run out to do some chore. I can’t send her over there to show off her newly pierced ears. She won’t be on Addis’ “emergency contact” form when she goes to Kindergarten next year.

 

Feeling lonely and heartbroken.

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Karma, are you listening?

I was taking a nap. The little girl down the street came by, all excited, & said I needed to come out & meet the new girl. She was also 4.

Or so the story goes.

Yes, I do “remember” the meeting. I think. Maybe. Actually, sometimes when an event gets a “story” I think the story eventually takes over until the story IS the memory. Added to that, there is a picture from when we were 4 or 5 (or 6?) facing each other, holding hands, & smiling. I know it isn’t from that first day, but it is what I picture of it. …I’m getting off-course…

We’ve gone through periods when we didn’t communicate much, and living 2,500 miles apart the last 20 years hasn’t helped. But she still, after 36 years, is still who wears the label of Best Friend. I have a few really good friends. Friends who I can confide in, friends who I can call for anything, friends who have seen me at my worst & think it makes a great story! But how many Best Friends does one get in life? Two? Three if you’re reeeeally lucky?

I hope there’s such a thing as Karma, because Karma has some explaining to do. My friend’s childhood left a lot to be desired. That’s her story to tell, not mine, so I won’t get into it…but believe me when I say she was missing out on some sunshine. And, her adult-hood hasn’t been what you’d call spectacular either. If there’s  a short stick to be grabbed, consider it her’s. Besides the multitude of obstacles & BS thrown her way, it has also been up to Her to keep her family afloat. She’s the sole bread-winner of the family. She spent years working 2 jobs to do it. And, when finally afforded an opportunity to improve her lot, it gave way after she worked her ass off to get it. Her husband is disabled, with a very painful disease which has robbed her family of a “normal” life.

And yet, she still plays the part of being a Ray of Sunshine to others. When my mom was dying, she sent no less than 4 cards to my parents. And months later she sent my dad a letter which he appreciated. When my family had a reunion last summer, I jokingly told her that I assumed she would be there….and she was. It wasn’t easy for her to pull off, it meant leaving her disabled husband for a week & driving hundreds of miles…and, she was unemployed. She goes out of her way to make people laugh, even if it’s at her expense. She cares for people that no one else cares about, and acts as an advocate on their behalf. She mails people handwritten notes, or maybe donuts, just to improve their day. How she keeps it up is beyond my understanding.

I truly hope & pray that good things are coming her way. If anyone deserved it, it is her. And I hope she knows that she is one of my favorite people.

Karma, don’t be a Bitch.

these pics are Her’s…I don’t think she’ll mind!

I can’t think of anything better to do

Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a serious reader.

I always loved reading. My sister & brother weren’t born until I was 11 & 13 yrs old, so my house was pretty quiet. I don’t know that that made reading easier, but I suspect it did! I clearly remember my Mom & aunts & grandmother discussing books. In fact, I remember what many of those books were: The Thornbirds, Sophie’s Choice, & a Michener (Alaska? Chesapeake?) (I’ve never read any of these, even though I’m pretty sure I would love The Thornbirds and Sophie’s Choice!). And another aunt gave me my first “trash” book, Flowers in the Attic (which I first read at 14 & then at least 2 dozen more times…a year or 2 ago my teenage daughter was thick into Twilight, & trying to get her away from it a got her FitA…I read it too, wondering if it could be as good at 37 as it was at 17…It was!!)

Original cover of Flowers in the Attic.

Image via Wikipedia

Besides my Mom’s example, I also remember seeing my Dad read. Once I took a book from his night table & read it, so I KNOW that he occasionally read fiction, but mostly he read/reads non-fiction. And most of it is political. One of the books on my https://peanutbutterinjerasandwiches.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/required-reading/list Endurance, is a recommendation of his.

When I was growing up reading wasn’t homework. Reading wasn’t something I “had” to do, it was something I got yelled at for doing when I was supposed to be sleeping hours ago. We went for trips to the library regularly. We’d check out used bookstores when we vacationed. When visiting people’s homes, their bookcase would be inspected. I remember babysitting for someone’s sleeping children, bored out of my mind, & not able to find anything to read in the house. I decided not to sit for them again.

Almost 4 years ago I started a reading journal. It’s a list of titles & authors, the month/year, & a short thought about the book. I just love entering books into it! It would be nice if someone occasionally gave me a sticker for how many titles I’ve finished. Or a thumb’s up on my selection of great literature. Oddly, that rarely happens. Okay. Never. Anyway, I had been reading about 55-65 books a year, but this year it has been much less. I’ve got….3? days left of 2011, I don’t think I’ll be adding more than one more.

So has all this reading benefited me? I do think I’m pretty smart! And I know about a lot of things/history/cultures I otherwise wouldn’t. AND, I had a great job running a reading supplementation program at the elementary school for several years. Oh, when I say “job”, I mean a volunteer job. But it did, eventually, (like 5 years), make me the first pick for a paying part time job as a reading aid.

Yes, I realize that some people just aren’t readers. But honestly, I don’t “get” it! They are missing out!

Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City,...

Image via Wikipedia

And, BTW, when we have out-of-town guests, I’m very likely to take (drag) them to the Salt Lake City Library.