Tuesday, April 29, 2014

25 years

We seem much too young to be celebrating our silver anniversary, but according to our marriage certificate, Dale and I have now been married for exactly a quarter of a century.  I’m sure we’ve surprised a lot of people by making it this far, ourselves included sometimes.  We were way too young, but I have no regrets (I’ll probably keep that information to myself if my children want to get married young).  We’ve had a lot of fun along the way and laughed a lot (sometimes at each other).  We’ve been fortunate/blessed in so many ways and I don’t take that for granted.  Actually I sort of do, but I shouldn’t.  Dale deserves many medals and awards and accolades for putting up with me all these years.  

Thanks for the anniversary wishes and cards and the vintage silver platters - special delivery from Vancouver! – we are lucky to have so many awesome people in our lives.  

We celebrated with our trip to Costa Rica in February and dinner at Prairie 360 with the kids on Sunday, so tonight Dale and I just squeezed in dinner at Carbone between child-chauffering duties.
Looking forward to what the years ahead will bring.  Love you, Dale, you’re still my knight in shining armour.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The weekend report

This was one of those rare weekends that seemed to stretch on forever.  The girls had no school on Friday, so Thursday felt like Friday, Friday felt like Saturday, and so on.  But today felt like Monday from the second I woke up, so the joy of feeling like I was a day ahead has come crashing down.  But before we think too many bad thoughts about Monday, I will say that one of my favourite times of the week is Monday at about 9:02 when I return home after getting all the children to school.  The house is so quiet and peaceful. I don’t even listen to music, my ears just bask in the silence and delight in being completely useless for a few hours. Neve is in a stage (it’s been a long stage) where she talks all the time.  Some people complain their kids don’t tell them anything but I have the opposite problem.  I don’t actually need to know where Abby P. sits in the new seating arrangement or that Emma got a new lunch kit with a pink and turquoise zig zag design on it. When we walk home from school, Neve can spend the entire five blocks describing what a classmate had for snack. I know some day I will read this and wish I’d had more patience for her ceaseless chatter. But that day isn’t today.  All that to say, Monday mornings aren’t the worst thing.

These are some of the things I did this weekend:

On Friday I volunteered at Harvest with Spencer’s class.  Spencer wasn’t delighted, but I made him promise that he would at least speak to me and not pretend he didn’t know me. He didn’t love that idea, but he liked it better than my threat to start breakdancing and/or beatboxing if he ignored me. Works every time.  The only embarrassing thing that happened was that I was wearing the exact same shirt as a girl in his class.  I still had my jacket on when I saw the girl’s top so I kept it on the whole time.  It’s made out of cheap nylon that doesn’t breathe and I was almost exploding from heat while sorting onions, but I felt like it was a small price to pay for preventing a 13-year-old girl from being horrified that she was dressed like a 44-year-old mom.

We had a belated Easter dinner with Dale’s family on Friday night.  It was kind of nice to spread out the big meals (and chocolate).

My sister-in-law Sabrina is basically a professional deal-finder, and there’s an annual charity clothing sale where she always finds amazing things.  It was on Saturday, so I decided to overcome my dread of crowds and craziness and tag along. She got there about a minute before I did, and by the time I stepped in the door, she had her arms full of clothes already.  She told me to grab anything I even remotely liked and sort through it later.  But I was overwhelmed by all the clothes and kind of scampered around skittishly, not knowing where to start. All of the other shoppers were grabbing clothes while I was standing paralyzed by the rack of fleece vests like a deer in the headlights. Luckily I snapped out of it long enough to get a few things and then we all went to a corner with a mirror and tried things on over our tank tops while my friend Kristin kept scouting for more clothes for us to try on.  Chloe, my sister and Gab were there too and it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  Between Chloe and I, we got fourteen pieces of clothing and two pairs of shoes for $45, so we were pretty successful.

On Saturday afternoon, my mom, sister, and sister-in-law took my mom out for lunch, shopping, and a pedicure. It was her birthday gift from back in February, but it didn’t happen until now.  We had a lot of fun but it was too bad that two of my sister-in-laws couldn’t come.  Unfortunately Jenn lives too far away to hop over to join us for the day, but Joan was hoping to come but didn’t feel up to it.  We tried to include her in the pictures though.  We went to a cheap nail place and had the typical experience of not quite understanding everything that was said and of trying to be upsold, etc.  Sabrina shared this video which is so true and hilarious.

To end the weekend on a high note – literally – we took the family to Prairie 360 to celebrate our anniversary.  I will expand on the anniversary tomorrow (probably), but we had a really good time.  Most of the food was really good (especially dessert) and the kids loved the view of the city.   


We got our money's worth of bread

Triple chocolate cheesecake - so good

I wanted to stay until dark to see the city lights, but Spencer started to get bored and restless

Okay, now we've overstayed our welcome.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One year

I thought of Teresa the second I woke up today.  The one-year milestone feels huge.  The positive part is that I actually made it through a year without her and the grief is less raw and fresh than a year ago, but mostly it makes me sad to think that time is going on without her.  A whole year of not hanging out with her, a whole year of not laughing or talking or going to Grand Forks or texting or going out for dinner or celebrating birthdays. I can no longer think, “A year ago, we were …..” Even worse, it’s been a whole year that she hasn’t been physically present for her kids and husband.  She feels more distant and I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that that gap will only continue to grow. I have lots of physical reminders of her, but even those are fleeting.  I worry that the purse she gave me for my last birthday will wear out or that I’ll lose an earring she gave me or that that the cake stand/veggie tray/punchbowl (it's one dish that has three uses! It's so awesome!) that she knew was a perfect gift for me will break.
And then I got up and went for a run but I ran slowly because I couldn’t help thinking how bad it would be if I would die on my run exactly a year after she did (not to come across as self-important or anything).
And then I went to renew my Autopac. Despite my best intentions, I always end up waiting until the very last day before my car insurance expires.  You’d think that lesson would have been drilled home last year when I had to go to an insurance agency the evening of Teresa’s death in a haze of numbness and shock and a headache from crying and red eyes and balled-up Kleenexes. Thank goodness I didn’t have to have my picture taken (because I like to look awesome for my drivers photo?).  This year was less traumatic, which was a good thing since it was a picture year.  While I was there, the song “Just Give Me a Reason” started playing on the radio.  It makes me think of Teresa every single time, so I felt like she had a hand in that.  It’s her way of showing me that despite fraying purse liners or lost earrings, she’ll always be around and she’ll never let me forget her that easily.  

I'm thankful for all the support and prayers of caring and thoughtful friends and family who texted and called and emailed and brought me frappucinos and sat with me on the front porch in the warm sunshine.  You're all awesome.  Dale and I went to hang out with Anthony and a few other friends tonight and we laughed and joked and talked about Teresa and other things.  Even though we all missed Teresa's physical presence so much, her spirit was definitely with us.  I'm not just saying that; I felt like the evening was comfortable and meaningful and positive, which couldn't have happened without her presence. The distance I felt from her this morning was definitely less after the evening at her house.  All those prayers were not in vain.
I happened to see a post on a friend’s Facebook wall today (not someone who knew Teresa) that said, “Many we love have passed away too soon … without reason.  We remember them often in a thousand different ways … in the morning, in the night, when we look at the stars. A date, a song, a place, a smell.  In memory of all those who left us too soon.  Click Share if you miss somebody who is watching you from heaven.” 
It's all true and I thought of sharing it, but I don’t love being super-public on Facebook (I know the blog is more public than my facebook, but writing things down does something for me, so that’s my excuse).  And then I started looking for other quotes and most of them were lame (ie. “Death may indeed be final but the love we share while living is eternal.”)  While I know without a doubt that Teresa will be honoured and flattered by all the people thinking of her and her family today, she was never really sentimental or sappy.  When I saw the following quotes - not exactly your traditional profound words of encouragement - they made me laugh.  Death and laughing don't normally go well together, but one of the things I miss most about Teresa is her sense of humour, and I know she'd love these.

So update that status already, Teresa!  I love you and miss you every single day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Checking in

I’m sorry you’ve been neglected, little blog.  I’ve thought of you daily but just haven’t been in the right mind frame at the right time to sit down and write. So I’ll make a quick, un-energetic attempt at writing down some bits and pieces so I can clear up some mind space.

Last week wasn’t my best week ever. Due to some computer issues, my work week got off to a late, slow start and I was struggling to keep up all week.  I had to put in some late nights, which made it difficult to get up in the morning. If I don’t get up early, I don’t have time to exercise.  If I don’t exercise, I feel sluggish all day. And if I feel sluggish, I’m unproductive and I get behind in everything.  And then I have to stay up late and the cycle continues the next day.  To sum it all up, I’m blaming my computer for all my problems.

Well, maybe not all of them.  The one year anniversary of Teresa’s death is coming up this week and it’s hardly fair to blame my computer for that.  The sadness is still never very far beneath the surface but the one-year mark brings it bubbling straight back up to the surface and beyond. In some ways, I can hardly believe it’s been a year already; I can remember the details of it like it was a week ago, but at the same time, it feels so long since I’ve seen Teresa or talked to her.  I can’t believe I’ve made it through a whole year without having a conversation with her (I’ve tried, but the conversations tend to be one-sided). She’s been such a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, but especially after she moved and started coming to my school in junior high.  We’ve spent so much time together and had so many experiences together through the years. It feels lonely being the only one left with these memories, and it feels even worse knowing that there will be no new memories made.  Whenever I feel too sorry for myself for losing such a close cousin/friend, I think of her husband and children. It’s not the most successful strategy because it makes me feel even worse, but it shifts the focus away from me.  They’ve been incredibly strong and brave, but I wish so much that they didn’t have to be.

In other unhappy news, my sister-in-law is battling with cancer.  She’s tough and strong, with an amazing sense of humour, a positive attitude and many people cheering her on. I tagged along on one of her radiation treatment appointments last week and was so proud of her.  She was so nice and pleasant to the technicians, laughed a lot and never complained, even though she would definitely have a reason to.  But it’s not an easy time and my heart feels heavy for her and her family.  

I’ll end with some happier things.  It was a full week for children’s activities.  Neve’s dance class ended on Monday, so they did a little performance for the parents.  Neve loves dance and does not exactly shy away from the spotlight, so she gave a spirited performance.  On Tuesday evening, Neve’s school put on a play, in which Neve had a tiny part. I couldn’t understand everything that was going on, but it was fun to see how thrilled and delighted Neve was.  On Saturday morning, Chloe had her final cheer competition of the year, followed by a wind-up banquet in the evening.  They did very well.  I’m relieved that things are winding down; it’s been a busy year of driving kids around.  Fencing, gymnastics, acting and youth are still in session, but at least it’s getting more manageable. By fall, Chloe will (hopefully) have her driver’s license, which will significantly lighten my load.

My mom's annual Easter baskets

I took about 30 pictures of all the nieces/nephews/cousins, and not one was even close to perfect. But I don't mind because it's more realistic.

I love this picture of the cute little girls showing Chloe the Easter eggs they found.

This makes me laugh because they all look so happy but really they were bickering and fighting and somehow managed to suddenly look happy when I snapped the picture.

Hope you all had a happy Easter. Here's hoping for a better week ahead for all of us.