Choices

Roll With It

Tonight, I walked in the door to snow covering my living room floor.

Flakes the size of paper towels mixed with fibers of carpet.

Wait. No. Not snow. Just paper towels. Shredded. All over two stories of my house.

This has happened before, as once Dylan and I forgot to pick up the paper towel roll from the floor that we use to clean up after our damn dog.

She did it again.

Snow. Covering the whole living room.

In that moment, as in most, I had two choices.

  1. Get mad and yell at the dog.
  2. Roll with it.

I chose to roll with it. I stuck her outside and headed up stairs, unloaded my stuff, sat and stared at the mess. I called a friend, she didn’t answer so I left a voicemail instead.

And then I opened up my inbox to attend to an exiting offer I’ve been procrastinating on because I’m scared. Called that phone number, left another message.

Then I went to my kitchen, got a huge garbage sack, and picked up all the snow… er, paper towels. Shreds.

People keep offering advice on how to combat our dog’s anxiety. Doggy day-care, Rover, CBD treats, take her to work. I’ve got a reason most of those won’t work. What do I do instead? I roll with it.

Somethings don’t need immediate fixing.

roll

I haven’t been writing much here because I’ve been processing in my head. Two weekends ago, I lived through another anniversary of Dad’s death. I wonder if it will be like this every year – waking and wondering who will text me that day. Some folks I thought for sure would speak up stayed quiet. Odd how such a significant day can go unmarked for so many people I know who lost him too.

Other surprising me people asked if we have traditions to mark the day? No traditions yet, we’re only on year two. I think it takes at least three years of doing something to make it a tradition. They knew I was dreading that day.

The 18th.

Ugh.

I woke on Sunday, March 18th and Psalm 118:24 came into my head.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

It was not March 18, 2016. That day sucked. It was now March 18, 2018. This day did not have to suck. I wondered how to go about marking the day, honoring Dad, and living in the present.

I had choices.

  1. Sit, grieve, feel sad and somber.
  2. Get outside, live, do things in remembrance of him. Roll with it.

Honestly, I did a little bit of both.

Without a plan, and a little less pain than the previous year, I didn’t have an agenda when I woke up. I wanted to feel good and alive. I needed to feel like I was rolling with the huge, sucker-stomach punch that I was faced with when Dad left this world.

I sat and felt sad for an hour. I wrote him a letter with tears streaming down my face. I drank my coffee and I felt his absence and smiled when a friend sent me flowers. Again. Then I got up and we left the house.

I made Dylan go to Dunkin’ Donuts with me and we bought three. One for me, one for him, one for Dad. We went to a park nearby – the one where Dad taught me to ice-skate, and we played trolls, and the one he could see from his office window in the last few years of his life.

I sat on a bench eating my chocolate glazed with sprinkles, hoping for a break in the crowds. Dylan poked me in the side, whispering, “Go!” and I scurried under the branches, donut in hand.

I left an Old-Fashioned cake tucked in the mouth of that alligator statue, where Dad would have looked when he usually walked by.

I hate vandalism and public littering and breaking all rules. I felt like the branch I hit my head on when running back to Dylan was a bit of karma. I felt good and I smiled. Dad would love this. He’d laugh. And he’d probably say, “Well that was a waste of a perfectly good donut.”

We went to dinner later that night, at the house I grew up in. My grief-molded family moved in our new forms and made big ol’ bacon burgers and beans. We sat at this old table and chewed sacredly, quietly without him.

We laughed and were proud of our choices that led us to this second year date.

A constant, patience testing, grace-filled, beautiful choice. To roll with it.

 

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Take a Bite

Raise your hand if you’ve seen the latest meme with Helen Mirren. Maybe its not a meme.

It’s really just her face, with a quote. Ok that’s a meme. The Daily Beast pulled the image together.

She bravely tells the world that ‘2016 Has Been a Big Pile of Shit’.  You can watch her do so here.

For the most part, I agree with the sentiment. 2016 has been a challenging year for my family certainly, and for many humans.

We have faced loss and felt uncertain here in my house, just as thousands of individuals and families across the globe, as our new America frightens many.

But here’s what has been bothering me. When we focus on negativity, negativity wins.

When we feed into fear, we miss the good right in front of us.

Now I’m not saying we should ignore what’s happening in the world just to feel sparkly and bright. We shouldn’t push away our emotions, or fail to lean into the very real ‘ick’ that we experience when we address horrendous situations in our personal lives or on a global scale. This is not what I’m asking of you.

Rather, can we continue to take bites of the moon?

Bear with me – I will explain.

This week, our charming local movie theater was showing It’s a Wonderful Life. I bought tickets for my family because I thought it would be a  seasonal cheap thrill. I had never watched the movie all the way through before, and the messages portrayed resonate ever so much more in your late 20s than when you are nine.

When I was nine, all I cared about was how the gym floor would retract back to reveal a swimming pool. A SWIMMING POOL! How neat.

Now, significantly older than nine, the themes of sacrifice for family, and frustration that your plans aren’t unfolding as perfectly as you had thought they would just ring ever so true.

For those of you who’ve seen the film, you know the iconic scene where George offers Mary the moon. The women swoon, how delightful such an offer is.

moon

George: I’ll give you the moon, Mary.
Mary: I’ll take it. Then what?
George: Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair.

This is the kind of light and enthusiasm that we need. To embrace the good in this world, to take bites, to savor it, to let us radiate with moonbeams.

I love this metaphor. Maybe George Bailey wasn’t thinking so deeply, but his little interaction spoke to me. I want to be the type of person that keeps dreaming, and searching, and reaching for the moon.  I want to find the people who will help me lasso it, because I want this kind of light to beam within me.

It’s hard, my friends, when the world feels like shit. I get it. I really do. But if we focus on the shit, we miss out on the moon. And the very beams that we can choose to ingest.