Monthly Archives: June 2016





Anniversaries are funny. Some of them are lovely and come with cake, but some of them sneak up on you while you are going along minding your own business and whack you over the head.

On Sunday, it will be two years since my mother died. There won’t be cake.

It wasn’t until my neck muscles all released last night that I realized I must have been walking around for a week with my shoulders up around my ears. No wonder I’ve been tetchy. It’s hard to allocate resources to patience and forbearance when your brain is fully occupied with denial. Nothing to see here. Everything’s fine. No, I don’t know why you’re developing an ulcer. It’s a mystery.

I told my friend Annie I seem to be veering into an emotional ditch, and she said (more or less) well, ditch out then. Are you going to write about it?

Turns out I am.

The morning my mother died, I sat at my kitchen table with my sister. “I was supposed to be in a wedding today,” I said, and put my head down on the table and cried.

That was Annie’s wedding. We’ve known each other since we were 18 years old and lay in a strange dorm room, uncertain of the stranger lying wordlessly across the room. If you had asked me if I would ever in this world miss Annie’s wedding, I would have said never. That would never happen. I would fly across the world if I had to. I would’ve, but the way things turned out I was flying the other way.

It’s a shame, Annie said yesterday, that my wedding will always be associated with this for you.

It is, and it isn’t. The thing about death is that for a little while, everything in your orbit comes to a screeching halt. Work stops, people watch your children, and your fridge fills up with food you didn’t purchase or prepare. It would be luxurious if it weren’t all so devastating. But in a few days, you’re running an errand and you look up, and the people in line in front of you are just going about their business like the world hasn’t ended. It’s disorienting. It helps to have anchors thrown out; reminders that things go on.

Children are great for this. And weddings are, too. People die, and they grieve. But people also hope, and they laugh, and they love.

So if a wedding is all wrapped up in my mind with a funeral, well, I’m okay with that. There are thorns on the rose, it’s true.

But there’s a rose.

Fashion Nonsense

I am not here on Sunday mornings when the boys get dressed for church. 

I make a point of laying their clothes out on Saturday so they don’t end up in ratty sweatpants. Shorts are fine, but nice shorts, y’know? I try for collared shirts about half the time so people know they’re not actually being raised by wolves. 

Some days I’m not sure why I bother. 

At the Zoo

Remember how we got to fly to the North Pole? The same organization that sent us there (A Kid Again) invited us to go to Dreamnight at the Zoo in Columbus. We arrived at the zoo just before the official closing time, and headed to the picnic pavilion for our supper. We were surprised but delighted to see Noel handing out hot dogs. Noel used to be the worship minister at our church and is now serving at a church in Columbus. I also got to meet his wife Sophia and explain why I had just run up behind her husband with a sneak hug attack.

So that was a fun little bonus.

I don’t know about the boys, but my favorite bit about Dreamnight is the fact that the zoo is officially closed while you’re there, so you can just run from exhibit to exhibit without having to wait for a bunch of other people to move through.

When I say “run,” please take that with a grain of salt. Here’s a photo representation of how the evening went.

Me leading the way, the boys slightly behind, and see that kind of white spot near the bottom of the water tower? Yeah. That’s Paul. This is why you will never, ever see us walking together on the Rails to Trails path. On bikes, we can each just about stand the other one’s pace.

Some of the more people-friendly animals were out visiting their public, and the boys got to pet a box turtle and a sugar glider. The sugar glider, a nocturnal fuzzball, was just about able to keep her enormous eyes open while she ate a grape, but gave up halfway through and curled up again with her paws over her face. I hear you, sister. That’s how I feel every morning.

There was a scavenger hunt for the kids, and we started the evening SURE we weren’t going to get all the stickers and that therefore the world would definitely end. We had a little talk about our attitudes, but as it turned out, there was no cause for panic anyway.

Two very proud boys with their completed pages.

Brown Bear got to watch some brown bears.

And FINALLY got to see a lion.

It was a really nice night. We’ll definitely come again. (It’s an annual thing.)

We ran into another friend of mine. She’s also a mom of a boy who has CF, and she said later it made her a little sad that our kids can’t hang out. Me too.

You could write a treatise on the complicated reasons CF doctors recommend that patients with CF don’t hang out together (and the accompanying protocols), but the short version is that there are some bugs that they can pass back and forth to each other that are especially dangerous if you have CF. 

In lots of ways, it makes sense. As a question of mental and emotional health though … man. It’s rough. There’s something about being able to hang out with and talk to people who are experiencing the same thing you’re experiencing. I know a fair amount of people with CF locally, but as a result of these recommendations Levi has met only one of them and seen one from ten feet away.

It’s very isolating, and not just for him. It’s hard for parents to get together, too, if the kids aren’t allowed to interact. We’ve made a point of getting moms together sometimes, and we probably need to do that more. 

Paul and I were discussing just now that last night in the hotel room was, while not without annoyance, one of the best times so far. Both of us got enough sleep to be going on with. 

The only really interesting thing that happened (it can’t just be boring; it’s us) was that Elias was whisper-shouting to me from the bathroom. I was trying to ignore him and sleep and I finally got up when he hissed, “Mom! I need your help!”

Yes. Yes you do. I sincerely hope this room doesn’t become a crime scene anytime soon. That black light thingie would light up like Christmas in the bathroom. 

Did I mention Elias gets a lot of nosebleeds? Yeah. 

The boys swam all morning and then we had lunch with a college friend and her family (they have three boys and they all disappeared for hours – it was great). We are headed home now. 

It was a nice little school’s-out jaunt. Even with the bloody bathroom.