*tap* *tap* Is this thing on? And where’s the damn light switch?
Unfortunately, I’m slipping. It’s a curious thing. You can literally be near death on the inside and no one can see. I was at the Jewel the other day, pushing my cart, blacking out on why I was actually there. Just………..pushing. I was looking at different people. Seeing if I could see into them. Is that guy in meat section ok? He looks ok. He looks like he is going to make a beef stew. He doesn’t look despondent. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t. Because I just don’t think you can tell.
In one month, I have to play a role in the horse and pony show performance I am forced to play a part in to celebrate the life of my father. It’s not that I don’t want to celebrate him. He was absolutely magnificent. But I am not ready. I’ve been through 300 days of major trauma watching him get sick, disintegrate before my eyes and then, die. I am not ready, I said I wasn’t ready, I screamed and cried that I was ready, but I. Don’t. Matter.
The weighted blanket that clutches me in the belly of the beast is crafted out of my voice never being heard. And…isn’t that ironic? When I sing, people tend to listen. But when I speak…it must be made out of invisible ink. Maybe I should have sung my despair.
I just watched “1883” on Paramount Plus and I kept thinking, My God. They must have been SO BORED all day. She just sat on her horse, looking gorgeous, flirting with cowboys and watching cattle for like, eight hours; she couldn’t even check social media. Mostly, she was just there with her thoughts (sappy voiceovers). I can’t get away from mine.
Sadly, social media is making me sicker. I just paused FB today for a week. Didn’t tell anyone. Just did it. I couldn’t look at one more thing that reminds me that I am hanging by a thread.
When I went to Florida to help pack up my dead dad’s house, I finally was able to go to our beach and say goodbye to him.
I also thought about swimming out into the ocean and never coming back. I fought that for about an hour. Then it started to rain and I didn’t want to get hit by lightening, so I figured that meant that I still want to stick around. Mostly because, me lost at sea would fuck up my kids. So I live another day.
Netflix is my BFF. Amazon Prime squirrels my sadness for chunks of my day. Swedish Death Cleaning* my house is “giving me purpose”. Today, my goal is to clean under my bathroom sink and then find one other thing to look forward to in my life to “give me purpose.” Still looking. Still looking.
The first headline I read this morning was from Huff Post:
“Gen Xers and Millennial’s Got Into Weirdest Fight Over Super Bowl HalfTime Show”
My eyes are full of tears and I have to look away. I glance up at the hospital room TV. The halftime show star is starting, but it’s on mute. Mike and I are helplessly watching two hospital nurses shake you awake to see if you were ok. It takes about 10 minutes. You are so confused when you wake up. I have to leave to room to go cry in the hallway. Again.
We missed the half time show. But we also didn’t miss a thing.
How is he talking to me and he looks like himself and his hands move like himself and I’ve sat in this chair across from him a million times while he sat in that chair across from me a million times? Now all his words in their order make no sense like cut up, strung up and mismatched pieces of fabric. I’m trying to smile on the outside and I’m praying he can’t tell that I’m screaming and crying on the inside.
I’m in awe, and it’s not in the fireworks way, or being at Disney way, or a nurse handing one of my babies in my arms for the first time sort of way. That’s all awe filled with joy.
Tonight he couldn’t tell me very importantly what he very importantly wanted to tell me. That’s awe filled with sad.
Falling asleep, broken heart. Scrunch tears and think of years ago, walking on a beach where he pulled me out of the water, laughed loud, called me “twinkle toes”, skipped a rock and bent down to hold my hand.
I need to put one of my new iTags on my actual purpose, cause I’m having trouble finding it.
I’m not even a week in with my 365 blogapalooza commitment and I’m already dreading writing about my One Big Thing today. It’s depressing.
I’m flailing. I’m in a funk. I’m blue. I’m lying here trying to find my damn solace. I’m feeling it’s somewhere along the lines of pulling up my big girl pants, getting over my bad self, making a list of things I need to get done and just freaking doing them.
But from the minute I woke up this morning, I’m finding it really easy to be sad. Sad about being sick, sad about my dad, sad about number one going back to college, sad about the sinking ship that is my music career, sad about the Rizzo, sad about not having a job.
Maybe I should just give myself a day to BE. I’ve been doing such a bang-up job for the last seven months wearing myself thin, not taking care of myself and treating myself badly, that it’s become a hard habit to break.
Welp, there you go. This is why I love writing. I just spoon fed myself my answer and found my literal purpose for the day. I’m going to give myself a hug, lay on my hammock, go out to lunch with my parents, enjoy my family. I can continue to wallow tomorrow. Today’s mission: Sunday funday.
I try to think when my loseeverything-itis started to get really bad. I think it was after I began having babies. Maybe not, but I usually blame everything else on that. Even as a kid, I was always flighty. I was perpetually ditzy, often confused, very emotional, constantly disorganized. However, I was kind of adorable and that helped me get away with a lot. This very annoying problem I have has definitely gotten worse over the years. Also, I am also not so adorable anymore, so it’s harder to get away with it.
My incredible friends get the brunt of it. I am constantly leaving my shit everywhere. Boat days are the worst. Shelly has my flip flops, Hank has my towel, Evelyn has my sunglasses and we are all still looking for my phone. I think for awhile it was funny, but now it’s just annoying, sprinkled with a hint of sadness. This one time, I left my iPad on the top of my car. You heard me right. I was in between two back-to-back gigs and it was a very stressful day. I had to run home to get something (probably something I forgot) and I totally also forgot about the iPad. It fell off my hood and someone ran it over with their car.
My iPad is my life blood when it comes to my singing jobs. I was devastated, disappointed, ashamed. A week later, for Christmas, those same incredible friends all chipped in and bought me a new one, so I could keep on playing music. Yep. Incredible. My heart still overflows, because they love me so much, despite…me.
So it was cute my husband bought me the key ring. The truth is that I just recently lost my keys and it had all of our new car FOB’s on it. I think I threw them away by accident. I guess you can say this gift is more for him, than me. He can finally take a break from digging in the garbage.
It’s not the first time someone I love has bought me a lost and found tool. A dear friend of mine gave me a purse a couple of years ago and three Apple tiles. We hid the first one inside the very cute purse. We put one my wallet. Super helpful. Then we put one my keys. That was blissful and happy time in my life. I knew where my shit was. Eventually they lost their charge and chaos ensued. And here we are again.
I can kind of guess what you’re thinking. “Pull yourself together, Heather. Put everything away in your purse and put it in a safe and remember-able place everyday.” Now YOU’RE adorable, but nay, nay. Too easy.
Picture, if you will, a big tornado of chaos. That’s me. I am always in a hurry, always late for something, always in a perpetual frenzy of mayhem, bewilderment and perplexity. In short: it is very, very difficult to be me.
Recently, I bought a key hook to put right in the doorway when you walk in the house. Brilliant, the family said! Well thought out, the family said! You actually have to put your keys on it, the family said! They use it. It comes in really handy when you have four drivers and we play car Tetris every day. The only problem is just that I keep forgetting to put my keys on it. DAMMIT.
I feel like there is money to be made on my imperfections. I smell invention. I’ll see your tiles, Apple, and I will one up you with little chip stickers. Cheaper, more compact and you can stick them on anything. For instance, I really also lose my lip gloss about for times a day. It’s incredibly frustrating because I love a good moist lip. What I need is an affordable little itty bitty sticker on there, with a microchip, that I can program in my phone and when I can’t find it…push the button…beep beep beep….lip gloss found under my car seat. Lip crisis averted.
I could put one on the portable fan in my room because my freaking kids keep taking it. It’s really not that HARD to find it when it’s missing, because I just have to burst in yelling to one of their rooms. But If I had an annoying little alarm, I could really drive it home with them to stop taking my stuff. I could just incessantly beep it in their rooms until they can’t stand it anymore and they bring it back. I absolutely need one for my hair straightener. Number three is a double dog down thief. She’s definitely at her absolute worst when she steals my very posh shampoo and conditioner, brings it in her shower, leaves it there and I don’t discover it until I am naked, wet and super pissed off. Definitely need a little sticker for that. *Add waterproof to business plan.
Those are instances of criminal thievery by my children. But I also need help with things that I lose like…documents. Medication. Numerous articles of clothing. Clothing tags….I can sew them in like camp. Yes! *Add name tags to business plan.
While I am at it, “it” being creating new things to help me get through my day, I should also look into memory care. Things that help preserve the brain I still have left and try to stop it from rotting, or whatever it’s doing up there. Maybe I will start doing Sudoku with a clicky pencil. I can suddenly take up gardening and consume fish oil. In the end, I think I just need to slow my roll. Continue my quest to heal my sick body, gets some damn sleep and stop sweating the small stuff.
“People give the worst advice about lost things. Retrace your steps. Pray to Saint Anthony. Think about where you last saw it. But that doesn’t apply to the things that matter. Those are right in front of you, except they can’t be found by looking for them. Only by looking at everything else.” ― Kristen Lepionka, The Last Place You Look
Inspired by a really cool friend, I have decided to commit to a 365 day blogapalooza. Read it, don’t read it…do your thing. Share with me if you want, no worries if you don’t. I’m up for the challenge. Writing is my therapy and I am always very interested in knowing if or not I am not alone in my chaos. As I sit and think about what the hell I want to write about for a year, I start with something that I have had so much guilt about as a parent. It’s THE thing. The one I wish I could take back. Deep breath…we were nomad parents. And there was damage done.
Our kids are all old souls. I’m still trying to figure that out, because growing up, I was super immature. Total idiot. Insanely social, I spend most of my time flirting with boys, dodging getting grounded and plotting underage drinking with my girls. All three of my children suffer from various degrees of “peer shy.” It’s like it was concentrated with the first one and trickled down. Number two is finally coming out of his shell. Number three is definitely the most social. It took me years to figure it out, but I think it’s because we moved 11 times in ten years. That’s…not an exaggeration. And that…comes with a ton of guilt.
Our Moving history in a nutshell:
Hubby to Lincoln Square: Summer, 1999
Heather to Lincoln Square: Fall, 1999
Hubby, Heather and #1 to Lincoln Square North apartment: Summer 2000
Hubby, Heather and #1 to New Buffalo, Michigan family home: Fall, 2000
Hubby, Heather and #1 to the Mundelein teeny home. Winter 2001
Hubby Heather, #1 and #2 to Chicago Lakeview, apartment one: Summer 2003
Hubby, Heather, #1 and #2 to Chicago Lakeview, apartment two: Fall, 2003
Hubby, Heather, #1 and #2 to Naperville: Don’t remember, 2004
Hubby, Heather, #1, #2 and SURPRISE! #3 to Crystal Lake, home of the orange water: Summer, 2006
Hubby, Heather, #1, #2 and #3 to dream house in Wauconda: Winter, 2007
Hubby, Heather, #1, #2 and #3 to not-dream/current home in Wauconda: Fall, 2009
We were, the entire family, exhausted in every way. We needed to stop and plant.
The relocation motives were mostly job-related. Although one time we moved because the water was disgustingly orange and the kids were getting dyed in the bathtub. Grody to the max. After that, we rented my dream house, but had to move because we couldn’t afford to actually buy it. Probably a blessing in disguise, because there may have been a little problem with the fact that I was deathly allergic to the backyard horse farm. (Note to self: blog about how I almost died from an asthma attack at Medieval Times).
Then there were the city days. We were kicked out of an apartment because the man under us couldn’t stand toddlers running. We tried duct taping them to the couch, but eventually we were forced to make the move to the apartment across the hallway. Our savage running beasts were finally free to do horrible things like…just be children. There were quirky memories that we took away from every place, all adding to the Moran Clan tapestry of chaos.
Looking at the big picture, it was rough, but we loved them so much every step of the way, and I think they will be okay. I really really hope they will be ok.
My oldest son had the hardest time, not only because he was the one who moved around with us the most, but also because he already started out shy. Then every time he started to get close to a kid, we’ed freaking pack up and leave. By the time we really settled here…all the friends were kind of taken. Can I say that? Is that a thing? It seemed like it. We really tried to help him. Groups were established and it is sometimes really HARD to make new friends. Senior year of college, last year to play lacrosse, graduation in May. Next year he finishes up his 5-year Master’s in Criminal Justice. And he’s an RA. He may not be the cool life of the party, but we think he’s a very decent human. He’s kind, happy, has a service heart and he’s also quite charming. Some girl out there someday will be very lucky. We can’t wait to meet her.
My second son, our Irish fighter, is a whole other beautiful, layered story of survival. He is constantly beating adversity, questing to find inner peace and he possesses one of the sweetest hearts made by God. He’s a lovely novel; a book you don’t want to finish reading. I can’t wait to wax poetic about this gorgeous soul.
Our baby, our daughter, our empath: my darling, Dad and I promise you we won’t move. For the next three years… live your life. Make memories with your friends, learn how to drive a car, play your sports, nail your education, jam your guitar, sing like a bird and for Christ’s sake: be a kid. We are not going anywhere. Until you graduate. Then, we will see 🙂
As parents, we try to do our best and we count our blessings. We fail, we apologize, we learn, we hug them, we dust ourselves off and we keep on going. And sometimes, we pack boxes.
Yesterday I did what I’m sure looked like an obligatory Facebook brag post. Especially to people who probably don’t have school-age children, or …any children. But the ones who had to hands-on watch their children navigate their education through a pandemic every day for the last year, I bet they got it.
I didn’t post that for myself. I already know how neat my kids are; I get to live with them every day. When I posted that, I posted that for her. Whether it helps her read it today or it helps her when she reads in 20 years, she needs a reminder that her mom loved her and what she overcame. She will see what I wrote, remember the lovely comments shared from people who are dear to us and see a picture of what she looked like at that moment.
Just because she did well and got straight A’s, doesn’t mean that she didn’t work. her. ass. off.
It’s not a scenario where things come easy to her, look at how perfect she is, blah, blah, blech. The real truth is that I watched her study and worry and plan and make goals and work really hard to finish them. That’s all on her.
And she did all of this basically sitting on a mattress, on her bedroom floor, surrounded by Cheetos’s, our loyal dog and a teenager amount of dirty laundry.
Please make no mistake, as a mother trying to help my children learn through a pandemic, I’m an idiot and can’t teach them anything, but I can online shop. I transformed the loft and I set up quite the beautiful school area. It had wonderful lighting and it was comfortable, with productive desks and chairs. I tried to give both her and her brother, who was enrolled in some CLC college courses, an environment where they could concentrate when they needed it, and then walk away when they were done.
I’m pretty sure they used it for about a week and a half. And I didn’t push them because this wasn’t about me doing all that work and me getting upset because they didn’t use it. (Truth: It gave me something else to do during the pandemic besides putting booze in my coffee and overeating. ) Nay, nay: It was about them being comfortable when everything around them made no sense.
Her freshman year in high school should’ve been filled with nervous giggles, experimenting with outfits every morning, walking to classes with new friends, sneaking out to get ice cream on her lunch break, walking in the halls and blushing when she passed somebody she had a crush on, laughing with her friends in the locker room about how much swimming class sucks with their period, going to a pep rally…going to a football game….going to Homecoming, going anywhere…with anyone…
Our walls are thin in our cookie cutter home. Her bedroom is next to mine. I know the sound of fear, frustration, angst, anxiety and sadness. Her teachers voices came out of her laptop sounding legit Charlie Brown. I heard late-night heated and passionate conversations, but couldn’t make out the words. Those emotion-filled moments made my tears run all the way down to my pillow.
But, there where lovely noises. She taught herself some pretty bitchin’ guitar playing. Her lovely voice, soft and lilting, wafted into the hallway. The strumming was comforting, the sounds of her trying to figure out the Bohemian Rhapsody solo, endless Fleetwood Mac. She had the lonely time to do that. l will cherish those sanguine sounds that seeped through my bedroom wall.
Another sound that didn’t make me feel sad to accidentally overhear: the laughter with her friends. They found a way to make the “pandemic sleepover” work; messy but still with laughter and love.
What one wouldn’t also post on social media is that she battled two significant and private medical issues that most don’t know about, and one very significant dental issue that meant literally 30 doctor and specialized dentist appointments in a year. In one year. In a pandemic.
Could she cry to her friends at the table in the lunch room, where she could get hugs and whispers of support? No. But she could talk to their faces on her small phone screen and at least feel some love, however she could get it. Funny…it’s the one time as a mother I have been grateful for my children’s social media.
Life has gotten slowly back to “normal”. She eventually went back to school, picked out cute outfits, walked the halls, snuck off to The Jewel with friends on her lunch break, met her teachers face-to-face for the first time, played an actual high school lacrosse game, even laughed on a bus with her teammates…normal things started happening again. I think the kid is finally able to realize that she is going to be okay.
My life purpose is to love and protect my family; keep them alive for a life that is worth living. I have two other great kids who are creating their own life journey tapestries, but I celebrate this moment for the little one who won an epic battle this year in her bedroom. Shine on, little diamond.