Monthly Archives: July 2013

I’m Not Home Yet

I’d almost dreaded the day. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to it. Especially since my mom, sister and I wouldn’t be together for the two-year anniversary of my dad’s death. I seemed to have a chip on my shoulder about it, too, as clichés echoed through my head, like him being in a “better place” and “at peace.” What those meant? He wasn’t here with me anymore. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. My body seemed to be feeling it physically this year: a late-night trip to the bathroom with my stomach reeling, headaches. I was one big ball of negative energy. Simply put? It sucked, I told my mom.

I woke up early and decided to make a Starbucks run. As I pulled into the Drive-Thru, a song (by Building 429) that has become one of my favorites and really spoken to me the past 18 months played on the radio. “All I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong…” A few tears escaped, but I recovered quickly and buzzed home for some journal time outside.

My positive outlook continued out on our deck, where I wrote “two years without dad and things feel pretty messed up down here.” I penned a laundry list of things, complaints, I guess, really just letting my feelings flow. At the core, the idea of feeling like I’m continuing to find my footing without him.

I sat there and wrote, getting everything out, and things started to shift inside. Rain had fallen overnight, giving the air a crispness and freshness that I breathed deep. The sky was filled with clouds and patches of blue, beautiful textures and dimensions to start the day. The garden that my mom and I planted stretched out across the lawn, the “giant pumpkins” starting to take over. A breeze whipped through the yard.

I ran, showered and went about my business. A short while later, I sat at the computer, checking out Pastor Rick Warren’s devotional in my in-box. The subject? “How to respond to a messed up world.” The verse? “This world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.” (Hebrews 13:14; The Living Bible).

So there it was. Not a cliché. A reminder. The thing that had shifted inside me was something I could recall, and really believe. The power of Heaven that I remembered feeling the day dad died. Not empty words, or things you tell yourself just to make yourself feel better. Real words. Promises.

All I know is I’m not home yet.

But dad is.

I believe it for him.

I believe it for me.

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One Decade: The First Double-Digit Birthday

A little more than 10 years ago, a smart, spunky, creative, fun-loving mom of two gave me some insight that I came to cherish. “How do you remember it all?” I asked her when my son was just an infant. “How do you remember everything when it’s all new and it changes so fast?”

“I remember the emotion of it,” she answered wisely.

I’m not sure I fully grasped the meaning then. But now, as that same boy turns ten today, I think I have a bit more of an understanding.

So this is for him, some of the emotion I remember…

– the wonder and disbelief as dad held your tiny newborn face to mine, knowing beyond measure, that it was the softest, most glorious thing I’d ever felt.

– the fear and panic that accompanied your first fever, not feeling equipped to traverse such an experience. Would I be able to maneuver through it? Would I know what to do? Could I help you?

– the joy of holding your chubby three-month-old self in the middle of the pumpkin patch as the sun started to sink into the distance and the autumn leaves glowed, so glad that I got to hang out with you every moment, every day.

– the sadness when you collapsed against the wall in tears, unwilling and unable to join your preschool friends on stage for the Christmas program. We left quietly, with grandma, disappointed that we couldn’t help you conquer that fear, but with the hope that one day you would.

– the pride five years later, when you followed your cue, jumped down from the bleachers and darted to the front of the Third Grade class and – in front of a microphone and an auditorium bursting with people – uttered the silly line “My little buttercup” to finish off your class’s performance. Gone was that preschool fear, replaced by a bold confidence and a delight in making people laugh.

– the anger, humiliation, sense of failure and embarrassment when – decked out in your black Spider Man suit at the doctor’s office – you chose that precise moment as the one (and only) time to spit on me.

– the anticipation and uncertainty of dropping you off at Sunday School, gym childcare, preschool. Would the moments be met with tears? Holding onto me? A timid, reluctant farewell? Despite the resistance, those times were always followed by the sheer happiness and elation that came with our reunions.

– Election night 2008 – my due date with your brother – as we finished reading bedtime stories, history was being made across the country. I clung to you and hugged you with all my might, not wanting to let go, knowing that our little world was about to change, too. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with the love that I felt for you and thankfulness for all the experiences we shared, just you and me.

– when you hurt, I hurt. Like the goodbye tears you shed for your coach, or your cousins. There is a big, sensitive heart nestled within that tough exterior and you often wear it on your sleeve. While I sometimes wish I could take away some of the pain, it warms my heart to know that you love people so much – you care that deeply – that it moves you to tears.

– most recently,  I feel such awe for you, as you step on to the pitcher’s mound, cool as a cucumber, calmly getting out of a bases-loaded, two-out situation. I am amazed at your focus and how easily and effortlessly you hurl that ball, like it just comes so naturally.

I may not remember all the dates.

I may not remember all the details.

I may not remember all the words that were exchanged.

But I remember the emotion.

So here’s to you, my 10-year-old Rassy, as you reach this double-digit milestone. You have enriched my life with a depth and dimension of emotion that I couldn’t have imagined or anticipated. Thank you for all of it (well, except for the spitting).

As you venture into this new decade, now standing as tall as my shoulders with feet as big as mine, I look into your big blue eyes that still sparkle like sunlight when you smile and I am grateful.

Grateful that I am your mom.

Grateful for ten years of you.

Grateful.

Happy 10th Birthday!

I love you.