Friday Salad

I was driving to work this morning, in my still-damp car. (If you’re my friend on the Facebook, or you follow me on Twitter, you already know I left my windows down during the mother of all thunderstorms yesterday afternoon.) My CD player was screwing up, so I switched CDs, since this usually “fixes” it. (I’m a girl, with no mechanical inclination.) The CD I pulled out was an old favorite from my childhood, and no, I will not tell you what it was, because it’s irrelevant and embarrassing.

The music poured out of the speakers- music from the long, long, long ago. Before we moved from Michigan to Atlanta. Before I lived without my Dad for three years. Before high school.  Before having to start over in a new region, a new state, a new city and a new culture. Before MH. When I was a child. When I was still a child (as much as I have ever been a child, which is debatable.) Before moving out on my own. Before marriage. When there was no cancer, when there was no mortgage (for me to pay at least), when I still thought I would be a teacher or a flight attendant when I grew up. When things were a lot more simple. Or at least they seemed that way.

My thoughts wandered to my sister. To the one person who would understand these songs, the lyrics, the words. To the one person who would dance with me to this music, who has seen nearly everything I have since then, albeit through different eyes. I thought about my upcoming trip to Atlanta, back to the little town I finished growing up in, back to my sister. To be there for her as her boyfriend’s urn is interred in the local cemetery.

We’ve been taking care of each other for twenty four years now, since she was born, and while I’ve done most of the care taking, she’s held her own. We’ve certainly had our differences, and when we have, there hasn’t been enough space in one state for the both of us, much less one room or one house. In trademark style, however, we are now as close and protective and supportive as we once were embittered and mired in resentment and hatred.

When I think of that, I can’t bear for one second the thought of only ever having one child, and preventing them from ever knowing all that I’ve learned and have in our sisterhood.

This trip already feels epic. The reason we’re going- the last step in putting someone to rest, and another step in helping someone find some peace. Reuniting with old friends, after years of living our own lives and having only memories between us. Realizing that those connections to the past run a little closer and deeper than we thought. Seeing my father again, oh, it’s been too long. Way too long. This is MH’s first visit since April’s tragedy, and though that pain has lessened some, there’s still just a little unfinished business there that he will attend to, I’m sure. Having him there somehow rights some of the wrong I felt in being there alone last time.

A friend from the blogosphere is doing something incredible for me. I can’t and won’t discuss it yet. It amazes me sometimes, the way that people take care of each other. The way that people take care of me.

The present and the past and the future are all melding together in some sort of cosmic soup that is comforting, yet strange, welcome, yet frightening. The overriding emotion I’m left with is a mix of nostalgia and gratitude, with a touch of wonder.

The people in my life are incredible and amazing. My family (most of them, anyway, and most of all my husband), my childhood friends, my long time friends, my new friends, friends I’ve never hugged or shared a knowing glance with but that have carved out a place in my heart. People I’ve only just met whom I already adore. Friends that I’m getting to know better and love more.

Whatever else I don’t have, whatever else I’m in danger of losing, I can’t help but weep with gratitude to have such incredible people in my life. Having their support as a shield from this often cruel world, and their love as a balm for my wounds is what makes me believe in tomorrow, in forever, in love and luck and fate and meaning and justice. They are my faith and my hope, and those are two things I’m holding very dear lately.

Turning the profound meter down a few notches, we have weekend plans. I have no idea what we’re doing tonight, and I’ll tell you- as much as I love me some planning, it’s kind of nice to not already know how the night will turn out.

Tomorrow night, we’re going to another bonfire. Because last week’s was too much fun not to do it again, you know? Of course you know.

I’m out of the office all next week. This is incredibly exciting, if only because I’m my own timekeeper. I love a good break from the rat race.

We don’t leave for Atlanta until midweek, so that’s four days of lazy homemade bliss.

Don’t worry about missing me, lovelies, because I’m taking you with me. I could never leave you.

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10 Responses

  1. Enjoy your time off! I’m jealous. But I’m glad you’ll still be around.

  2. Gosh, what will you do without the Office Time Troll for a whole week (she asked sarcastically…)

    Enjoy your week off! I know there are some serious/solemn parts to your journey but enjoy the time away from the office rat race.

  3. First of all, good luck with Atlanta and all that…I can’t even imagine the range of emotions such a trip would take. So lots of *hugs*

    Also I totally agree with the sibling thing. My sis and I always say how it just wouldn’t be fair to have 1 kid. 😉

    Enjoy your time off with bonfires and relaxing and time for yourself! You deserve it!

    • As an only child, I can tell you that it wasn’t bad being an only.

      I’m not a “spoiled” only, either. The phrase I remember most from my childhood is “we can’t afford that” which applied to pretty much everything I wanted. I was a latchkey kid who was expected by age 8 to have dinner ready by the time my parents got home every night.

      Almost no one I know who is my age is on speaking terms with the siblings if they have them…. glad to know it works out ok for people, though!

  4. Glad to hear that you have such a good relationship with your sister now. It’s funny how some siblings can hate each other while growing up, but when they are older, they seem to become good friends.

    Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about my sisters and me. I am the “black sheep” of the family (which is one reason making the decision to move was easy), and I don’t get along well with my family.

    Anyways, as I already said to you, hope you have an enjoyable and safe vacation.

  5. You have such an awesome way of saying things that we say so often that we usually don’t even stop to think about, like “I love you” or “Thank you”. It’s really inspiring. Thank you. 🙂

  6. You make me a little teary eyed with this post. I can’t imagine the sense of loss you must feel, yet you are determined to march on, remembering everything you are grateful for and all the friends, family and loved ones to support you. I know the blog never says it all, but your strength is incredible.

  7. nostalgy… 🙂
    I’ve been feeling like that lately too,,, 🙂

  8. You better be! I never go anywhere without my laptop… 😉

  9. Fantastic words as always.

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