I need to level-set with y’all — and apologies for the corporate jargon (of “level-set” and certainly not “y’all”).
Can we agree that a move, even if it’s three blocks from your current residence, is all-encompassing? …OK, good.
Every spare minute of my jam-packed days and nights and weekends has been devoted to purging, packing, logistics, and more. I’m not looking for pity by any means, but I hope it explains why I’ve been a little more distracted than usual.
For example, I had to be told it’s National Siblings Day. Thankfully my one and only sibling is not a participant. That’s not for lack of love; he and I share the same philosophy.
Controversial opinion alert: If it has to be said on social media to acknowledge its existence, it’s likely not as strong as you make it sound. That’s not so say we haven’t posted for birthdays and anniversaries and important moments, but we also don’t hold it against each other if we’re not blasting it to the interwebs.
“But Witty, aren’t you posting about it now, and therefore, contradicting yourself?” Good point, reader. I am, in fact, posting about the “holiday.” But I haven’t said one thing about my brother to honor his existence or thank him for leading me or appreciate his bringing two perfect angel-face nieces to my life. See?
In any event, I hope these ramblings have resonated in some sense for you tonight. I’m half blaming it on moving brain and half blaming it on the crazy, impatient, stubborn, incredible big brother I have to look up to every day.
If you’ve read Wittyburg since the very beginning, you know I used to have a lot more to say beyond these Weekly Obsessions. And I love these WOs — more than I ever expected I would. But I lost my way three years ago, when my dad died and I had trouble finding inspiration beyond weekly posts. Hell, I had trouble getting out of bed.
All that to say, I’m so appreciative of those who’ve stuck with me, checking in each week. I absolutely hope to bring you more varied content soon … and I want you to hold me to it this time!
This week’s obsessions are focused on my dad, as we honored his angelversary yesterday. 3 years doesn’t feel like long in the grand scheme of things, but a thousand days without hearing his voice have truly taken a toll. Combine that with an ER trip for my older niece — she’ll be OK, thank God — and yesterday sure was a doozy.
- “M*A*S*H”: There is no other show to evoke memories of my dad than this. He watched reruns religiously, we bought him the boxed sets of DVDs over the years, and I can’t hear the theme song without immediately thinking of him. Even now, if I’m mindlessly flipping through channels, I’ll land on a rerun to follow Hawkeye and crew.
- Boy Scouts of America: My dad donated countless hours to various organizations, but the BSA held a particularly special place in his heart. From helping Brother’s troop to eventually becoming Scoutmaster, dedicating summers and weekends to Camp La-No-Che in Central Florida, and selling popcorn like no other, Mr. Rick lived its mission to the fullest — scout’s honor.
- Brother’s Birthday: I’m such a selfless little sister, aren’t I? Dad wouldn’t be who he was without his first-born, who turns 33 on Friday. Despite spending our tumultuous childhoods tormenting each other, Brother has since become one of my best friends, closest confidants and biggest supporters. 143, Bud.
- “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – Creedence Clearwater Revival: CCR is so quintessential Slick Rick, without a doubt. Among the songs we chose to play for his services, this one lifts me to another place, puts a smile on our faces, and reminds us of all the good times we had with him.
Pardon my delayed post, but as you read on you’ll see I have a very good excuse! Get it while the getting’s good.
- Brother’s Birthday: My big bro turns 32 today, and though we may not be celebrating together, he must be having a great one. Yankees are up (as of this writing), cold beers are abundant and he’s got an amazing little family who loves him so. 143, Moose!
- HAWAII: I’ve been up for 13 hours, but that’s not stopping the excitement. I set sail tomorrow for a 10-day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and up to Vancouver. If this first picture is any indication, it’s gonna be a good one.
- Disney Cruise Lines: I know, I know. This is so off-brand for me. But, when your friend’s friend hooks you up with a dream vacation at a fraction of the price, you say, “Let it go” and jump aboard. I’m super stoked, to say the least.
- Fifth Harmony – “Worth It”: This song keeps popping up everywhere lately. A co-worker first introduced me to it, and then it’s been all over Spotify and, most recently, the Miss America pageant. I’m not ashamed to say I’m really feeling it.
It might be my now advanced age talking, but I’ve been perpetually pooped since last weekend’s shenanigans. It hasn’t all been fun and games, but I’m hopeful about what this next year will bring.
- “Inside Out”: If you haven’t already seen this latest release from Disney/Pixar, what is the matter with you?! From joy to anger and everything in between, it captures the range of emotions and thoughts we experience every day. The all-star cast of voices is just an added bonus.
- DeLoach Vineyards: According to the brochure I found in my bag, I am now a member of this fine establishment. Their customer service was awesome, the pours were perfect and they have special events for their members year-round. Cheers!
- Lyft: I was an Uber loyalist through and through, but Lyft grabbed my attention with a recent promotion to earn $50 in ride credits. I earned enough five-star ratings as a passenger to sit pretty for my next 10 rides — well done, Lyft! You may have just made me a believer.
- “Brother” – Needtobreathe f. Gavin DeGraw: I have no idea why this song gets me every time, but damn it’s a good one. I find myself humming along long after it’s played and searching for it during an afternoon lull. Plus, the video is pretty great.
It is with sheer joy and absolute excitement I can share the following news: Brother and Sister-in-Law are expecting! They’re set to welcome Baby in late September.
My first thoughts after the happy tears dried:
- Brother will be responsible for another life. We must get this kid a helmet.
- SIL will be a great mom. Her experience (and patience!) with children is incredible.
- We need grandparent names for Magz and Slick Rick. I’m campaigning for “Gam Gam” and “Gumpy.”
- I’m going to have to learn how to deal with kids.
Many will offer their varied opinion on everything from the baby’s name to nature versus nurture, and the list goes on.
Lucky for the parents-to-be, I have nothing to add. I’m deeply unqualified to care for a child — but I’ll be damned if that kid isn’t the best-dressed baby in Florida.
And just as I learned last Christmas to not joke with children about presents, so I’ll learn how to be an awesome aunt. I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the next generation of Wittyburg kids to the world.
And I’m absolutely OK with that.
There are a lot of exciting things that a 16th year brings. Wealthy parents may shower their teens with an outlandish party, sometimes documented on MTV’s sickening show. Other kids receive a license and unleash hell on the local roads. But today, 16 marks a personal anniversary that isn’t so sweet.
I woke up to sirens the morning of Aug. 15, 1995. Mom sat at our dining-room table, head in her hands and crying softly. “Daddy’s had a stroke,” she said, and though my 8-year-old mind had no idea what that entailed, seeing a parent weep signals a sudden simultaneous sense of insecurity and understanding.
It was the morning of my third-grade orientation — at a new school, no less — and Grammy would take me to meet my teacher, Mom explained. I don’t remember if I cried then, but I do remember an overwhelming numbness. When adults talk to you, rather than around you, it often forces you to grow up yourself.
Gram took me to the hospital that afternoon. I held Brother’s hand and walked tentatively into the room. I will never forget what I saw and heard: Dad hooked up to beeping machines, doctors giving Mom information about local funeral homes, and Brother telling me that Daddy might not know who we are. Even now, it brings over a wave of emotion that I can’t quite control.
The following months and years brought fresh feelings of frustration and questioning. From walking to writing, and eventually driving, Dad had to relearn every basic function. As the sole southpaw in the family, I was tasked with helping him learn to do things with his now dominant left hand.
He still walks with a limp, and there are days when mobility is not its best. And, I am still selfish at times — worrying how he will walk me down the aisle or complete a father-daughter dance. We aren’t perfect in our relationship, and I don’t know that we’ll ever go back to what I perceived as the idyllic “Daddy & Me” situation.
But, I love him. I’ve learned from him. I respect him for the man he’s become. And I raise a glass to him this evening, 16 years into the new life that was thrust upon him.
I’ll always be your Mouse, no matter what this world brings upon us. 143