Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grief, snow, laziness, photos.

In the past 10 days, in roughly chronological order, I found out that my husband was about to get fired, my dad went into the hospital, my husband got fired, my dad went into hospice, my kids both got vicious ear infections, and my dad died.  Catching a cold and the snowstorm arriving were pretty anticlimatic. 

Strike that.  The snowstorm has been a blessing.  I'd taken the first two days of the new semester off when my dad died, which of course resulted in chaos (middle schoolers being especially poor at CHANGE and also SUBSTITUTES), so I went back in on Wednesday.  Thursday we were sent home early, and Friday wasn't even a question.  My kids were mostly over their crud by then, and it turns out that snow is an even better babysitter than electronics.  For one thing, it involves them leaving the house, which allows me to read and nap.  For another thing, they can indulge all day long, and I don't feel like a terrible parent.

But then I go on Facebook (I know, I know), and see all these photos of laughing families playing in the snow, and I'm all, "Why am I just sending my kids out into the snow all day without me?  This would be such a great bonding experience!  Think of all the attachment I'm not doing!  I bet all the other parents are out there going, 'Gee, why don't Linden and Oak's parents ever come out and play with them?' What if it doesn't snow again for five more years and by then they won't want to hang out with me?"

And then I realize that merely standing up makes my head hurt, and the wind blows a spray of snow and ice off the neighbor's roof, and I'm all, "Nope, I'm good.  At least they're having fun instead of stuck inside with the two gloomy grown-ups."

I think a lot about my mom.  We all do, right?  She's our example of Mom and Wife and Woman, and we can't help but to compare ourselves.  Mine was tough.  Indomitable.  In my mind, she would have gotten out there and played, plus the bathrooms would have been clean, and she wouldn't have plaintively asked friends to bring her dinners, and she would have already figured out what to do about death certificates.  Then again, I will always remember waking up to the sound of her shrieking and wailing when she got the call that her mom had died in a house fire, so you know, grief.  It fucks you up.

Grief plus head colds?  Blech.

During these past ten hard days I've napped off and on, stayed up too late scrolling Pinterest, and eaten food other people brought us.  The kids have gotten no craft projects or library trips; I've only read aloud once.  The Winemaker and I have spent too much time on separate computers instead of actually with each other.  We lay on the bed, unable to wake ourselves up, and when we hear a kid come stomping noisily onto the back porch, we groan.  "Okay, I'll take this one if you get the next time." 

And then I read this, and even though it's about much more than that, the point I pull out of it is that it's okay to not be productive every single minute of every single day, that I can pull back from my life and not be a bad person.  

I'm still, after all, a mom and a wife and a person.  I've shown up at work, washed four loads of laundry, played cards with the kids, and made cookies.  I insisted on 20 minutes of schoolwork this morning, I wrote my dad's obituary, and I talked my son through his hurt feelings about sled hogging to lead him towards a resolution that involved him starting with an apology for his own earlier sled hogging.  I helped bottle five cases of wine and made my husband's favorite breakfast.  I sat on the couch with sisters and friends and looked at family photo albums.  I read a book.  I wrote those goddamn sub plans, which is always a hellish experience, made worse by the knowledge that the sub is pretty much screwed no matter how hard I work at the plans, and I will just have to come back and start over again anyway.  When the kids swing by the house, I supply them with dry clothes and hot snacks, and I bite my tongue to keep from bitching about the mess they strew behind them.

Two friends brought bouquets, so like my mom always said when she put fresh flowers out, "There.  I cleaned house."

I'm going to close with a bunch of pictures of my dad.  That kind of breaks my privacy policy, but he's in no position to complain.  (Too soon?  Sorry.  But he'd think it was funny, so I'm okay with it.)

Since he was, obviously, a photographer, here are a few of his shots.  I don't have many on this computer, but trust me, he was great.

 And finally, this super hot picture of my parents on Sept. 10, 1955.


  1. Oh Wendy, I don't know what to say, except that I'm so so sorry for your loss. That is pretty much the worst ten days I can ever imagine - personally, I think it's a miracle that you are still standing, let alone doing laundry and reading aloud. I wish I could do more, but I'm sending you a big bucket of internet love. xxx