Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DOC on caller ID

My brother called tonight.
I miss him.
He's looking forward to his Thanksgiving jail meal (and hoping he can trade his pumpkin pie for more turkey or mashed potatoes).
I just wish he was here to miss our mom with me...nobody else knew her as a mom like me & Rob did.
We're really good at reminiscing and we really appreciate all things nostalgic (much to the chagrin of anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck listening to us riff on our childhood or bounce inside jokes off each other).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
My cousin has graciously invited us to join them (and I may have accepted a little too eagerly, but hey...)
Give thanks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Epic (an adjective I try not to abuse; in this instance, totally appropriate)

Sunday night, my dad & I saw Stevie Wonder perform Songs in the Key of Life live in its entirety...followed by an encore including a medley of his other gems, ending with an 8 minute version of "Superstition."
I counted 21 musicians/singers onstage at one point (and Stevie Wonder graciously gave each member props by name, including his daughter/backup singer, Aisha).
Somehow, in spite of the vastness of the venue and huge crowd, it felt like an intimate perfomance.
Mind. Blown.
I can't do the experience justice with my words, so I'll just wrap it up:
I feel so lucky to have been in the presence of greatness, one of my idols from as far back as I can remember. Every song was a gift and each gift revealed something better and better.
Being at that concert was like being a kid on the the very best Christmas Day EVER; surprises and goose bumps and wishes fulfilled.
Seriously, life-changing, no exaggeration.
3 days later and I'm still buzzed.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween happened (quite a while ago, but...)

Ahhhhhhhh...to be a kid, right?
Those two really keep me going.
When I wanted to bag the holiday altogether (I didn't even carve a pumpkin this year), the kids got me back in the groove.

What else happened, besides Halloween?
Rides happened. 
In the woods, mostly...explored some unfamiliar trails close to home. Worth exploring some more. Such fun to ride somewhere new & different just a few miles away.
I took the kids to visit my brother.
Rob was expecting me and our dad, but the kids were a surprise.
I'd been reluctant to make the trek up there, for no good reason, really. 
I guess something about a whole day spent away from my little pack to see my brother in yet another correctional institution was holding me back, making me anxious.
I miss him, though, so I got over myself and packed a day's worth of snacks/diapers/distractions/music/kid stuff and away we went to Coal Township.
It went down like this:
After a little over two hours in the car (and only one misstep; those last 5 miles are confusing), we briefly stretched our legs and began the visiting process:
Show ID, place all belongings other than vending card in locker, remove all jewelry/belts/shoes, walk through metal detector, extend hands (palms down, then up) for narcotics swipe/scan, turn pockets inside out, lift shirt enough to show back pockets & waistband, hurriedly put belt & shoes back on, wait...
Walk down endless corridor to visiting area (already, I'm more at ease here...it's cleaner, there are mountains outside beyond the razor wire...you can see mountains!).
My dad tells Max it's called concertina wire...coiled like an accordion, thus the name. Even Max is somewhat unphased by the process, as he had visited my brother in County.
We reach the visiting room at last and my eyes meet my brother's.
His face becomes flush with happiness and for a second, tears well in his eyes, when he sees my children. Then, that smile.
Right there...worth the anxiety & perceived hassle of traveling with young kids to a prison two hours from home in remote coal country.
Seeing his face light up...worth it.
Our visit commences.
My son and my brother catch up over Fritos and strawberry pop tarts as my dad and I take turns wrangling Maeve.
Maeve hasn't seen her uncle since last December, just as she was taking her first steps.
I'd take her to the phone visits at the county jail because "lap children" (non-walkers) weren't required to be on the list for non-contact visits.
She'd smile and wave and put her hands up to the glass as I leaned close to the phone to talk.
It didn't take long at all for her to warm up to Rob nearly a year later.
As we were leaving (after two hours of talking and hanging out), Maeve reached for Rob to pick her up.
"Yahhhhp?!" (loosely translated- "pick me up")
He obliged and she leaned into him and kissed his cheek.
I can't wait for her to know him, to hear what he can do with a guitar, to spend time somewhere not wrapped in scary concertina wire, to see him in something other than a jumpsuit.

But, yeah...very good visit.
Coal Township is my brother's "home" prison for the next three years.
No more classification or bouncing around...
I spoke to him tonight and he sounded eager to do his thing tomorrow at the prison talent show.
He used to kill it at Battle of the Bands when we were kids and that's exactly the excitement I could hear in his voice, eager to perform in front of a crowd.
Man, I really miss hearing him play.

So, that's what has happened.
I'm feeling much better.
I feel like the fog has lifted enough to move forward with a little more confidence, a lot less sadness.
Some days are better than others, but isn't that how it goes no matter what?
My dad reminded me that my mom wouldn't want me to continue to be so upset.
Initially, I sort of bristled at that sentiment...I was thinking huh? So, like, just stop being depressed? Does he think I don't need to go to therapy anymore?? Don't be upset? Huh?? 
Clearly, that's not what he meant.
I get it and he's right.
And I'm not letting the grief consume me or inform my every move.
I'm just adapting, I guess.
(and still seeing a psychotherapist, which is something I should have been doing for a while, not just in the wake of my mom's death, for what it's worth...)

It's 2:27am.
The scary noise (seemingly) from the basement that woke me an hour and a half ago was probably the heat pump or the pipes or who knows what...(massive spider? Intruder? Zombie? Chupacabra? vampire??)
Just a noise and I need sleep desperately.
Freaking full moon making everyone act all crazy and has my imagination running wild...
Well, the fact that I basically had a churro and a giant coconut milkshake (seriously, the straw was almost as tall as my daughter) for dinner probably isn't helping matters, either.
Peace out/good night.