Mourning the mundane
Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that I’ve neglected to post in a very, very long time. Suspend your disbelief and read right past this disclaimer as if time wasn’t a construct and the last 2+ years haven’t been insane.
Today marks 9 years since my dad died. N-I-N-E years. Nearly a decade. I go back and forth over how impossible that is and how much longer it feels. When your heart shatters into a million pieces multiple times in his memory, it feels like there’s no label for time that fits.
I’ve been doing some IRL, old-school journaling lately and with today looming, I’d begun my usual list of things my dad wouldn’t be here to see (assuming they happen):
- When I buy my first house
- When I get engaged
- When I get married
- When I have children
And I inevitably think of all of my life’s milestones that have happened, that he hasn’t been around to see:
- Moving to San Francisco
- Changing jobs (a few times)
- Dating T (a few times)
- Turning 30 and 35
And I think of all of the things my mom and brother and nieces and … everyone! The milestones that have made up so many of the last 3,000+ days. The holidays and anniversaries and births and deaths and promotions and trips and all of those fantastical puzzle pieces that make up the experiences we all go through in big ways.
And then I thought, what about the mundane?
What I wouldn’t give for one more conversation with him about nothing. One more ALL CAPS EMAIL because typing one-handed was incredibly hard. One more urge to switch off Guy Fieri but letting dad have his pick of shows this time.
What I wouldn’t give to have any number of the most routine, bland, unimportant, ordinary, everyday, unexceptional, run-of-the-mill moments with him again.
Because (and I’m neither the first nor last to discover this) those moments are what make up the puzzle as well. They’re the things we don’t often celebrate or stop to appreciate. Which is understandable, when you think how incredibly tedious it would be to pause after every one of these micro moments. Or, if everything feels special then nothing does.
But if we pick one every once in a while – an inside joke, a conversation, a silly text, even a maddening email – it might make it easier to mourn the mundane long after they’re gone.
A letter to Dad on his 70th birthday*
It’s hard to believe you’ve been gone six and a half years. I remember thinking you were so young to die at 63, and now today, you’d be 70. SEVENTY. That sounds so old somehow.
WO: Weekly Obsessions
‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring: three nieces under 6, six adults, two dogs, a TV, an Echo, countless phones, this very laptop… To say I’m having sensory overload is an understatement. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
It’s my first time in Florida for Thanksgiving in seven years. The last time I was home for it, my dad was alive. We visited his aunt in the nursing home and her dementia had her believing I was my mother. I was scheduled to go the following Monday to Raleigh, N.C., for a job interview — but I’d just received a job offer from macys.com in New York City, instead. My brother and sister-in-law were newlyweds, without children. My grandpa was still alive and hadn’t yet reconnected with his sister, who would later become my Thanksgiving hostess while living in NYC.
While seven years doesn’t seem like that long ago, it’s clearly been one heck of a time for change in our family. We’ve had ups and downs and highs and lows and all of the normal everyday nonsense that comes with daily life and changing seasons.
So as usual, I’m thankful for this crazy circus I call my family. And I’m especially grateful to be in a position to come home for a few days, meet my newest niece, await the arrival of my SIL’s SIL’s son, and spend a few exhausting but fulfilling days with them in person. As much as I love SF and my life there, some things can’t replace the feeling of being home for a holiday.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of Turkey Days tomorrow, and if you are in need of love, don’t be a stranger! We have more than enough cheer (and food!) to go around.
WO: Weekly Obsessions
TFW you realize your scheduled post didn’t publish and you missed a Wednesday for the first time in 8+ years 😱😱😱
This week was my first “normal” one in more than a month, so naturally that means it’s been INSANE.
Working late, email oblivion, socializing, and a little bit of reading (I’m at 74 books for the year!) — what’s not to love?
But since my favorite holiday is upon us, I’m trying to put my positive / spooky face on and have my marvelous momma to thank for giving me some levity.
Whether it’s a parent, friend, partner, licensed professional, or some combination of these, I hope you each have someone (or a few someones) in your life whom you can turn to in peaks and valleys. It’s worth more than I can express in an overwrought week but the result is also a bit more sanity and not feeling alone. Who doesn’t want that?
WO: Weekly Obsessions
If you’ve been around here a while, you may recall how September holds a smorgasbord of birthdays in my family. Well, add one more to the list because on Monday (the 2nd), my third niece was born!
She is absolutely perfect and healthy and squishy and snuggly and all the things I’ve ever hoped for these girls. Sister-in-Law is doing well, as are Brother and their older daughters.
It’s been an emotional week as we watched Hurricane Dorian decimate the Bahamas and prayed for relief of its residents (not to mention, a slowdown and fade-out before causing any more damage). Little Niec3’s arrival added more tears — albeit happy ones — and the remaining September babies have lots to celebrate as well.
High fives all around, yeah?
WO: Weekly Obsessions
Our first seven days in Ireland have had their fair share of ups and downs, but as I’ve learned from the Irish to say, “It’ll be grand” and “We’re not here for a long time so might as well make it a good time.” These also remind me of a family favorite saying, “If you’re not having fun it’s your own damn fault.”
Quotations aside, we’ve done a TON of learning and laughing along the way from Dublin to Killarney, the Ring of Kerry and more. We have just a few precious days left here and I know we’re both trying to soak up every second of it (even if it means the 6:45am alarm comes way too soon).
From remembering my Grammy’s passing to my eldest niece starting kindergarten on Monday and tomorrow’s 24th anniversary of my dad’s stroke, it’s been quite the emotional adventure as well. I couldn’t be more grateful, though, to spend the time with my mom in her parents’ homeland and with unforgettable memories in the making.
So, that’s about all I’m obsessed with this week. No breakdown of the four top things, because I could hardly choose from the live music to my bag being returned to the stories to my bag being returned… well, you get the idea.
WO: Weekly Obsessions
If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans, right? I’m going into my 12th hour of travel and have only made it to Chicago. Same for my mom and she’s JUST getting off the ground from Orlando.
Our destination? Dublin, Ireland! The luck of the Irish might not be on our side today but I have high hopes the delays will make the destination that much sweeter.
Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary since my maternal grandmother passed. I was studying in Ireland at the time and didn’t make it back for the services and to be by my mom’s side. So while my genius idea to take Magz to Ireland for Grammy’s angelversary has gotten off to a rocky start, I have every hope that the next nine days will be incredible.
May the road rise up to meet you 💚🍀
WO: Weekly Obsessions
I haven’t been back to Florida in six months, so it’s just about time for waves of homesickness to set in. It doesn’t help that we just had Father’s Day (our sixth without Dad), my parents’ anniversary (their 39th), and my grandma’s birthday would be tomorrow (happy 89th in Heaven, Grammy!). Here’s what’s helping me get through the hometown blues:
- FaceTime: I mean, duh. There’s likely no way I would get through being far from family if it weren’t for the power of technology. I’m very grateful for my mom, brother, SIL, and the whole gang being up for FaceTiming regularly. It’s nothing like being there, of course, but it’s absolutely a great (and cheap!) alternative.
- A Cowgirl’s 3rd Birthday: Coming in hot this weekend is my younger niece, who turns THREE on Sunday! I can hardly believe she’ll be a three-nager in no time. Her current obsession with Jessie the cowgirl shows no sign of stopping, so it’s only fitting she dress the part in a sparkly hat and pair of boots to “ride like the wind, Bullseye!”
- “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Randy Newman: All this Toy Story talk has me thinking of the classic (how old am I?) song that brought us all to tears. Of the many musical moments we have Pixar to thank for, this one easily sits near the top tunes to take us back. I also can’t help but think of the show “Monk” when I hear it, but that’s another story for another week.
- #PrideForever: There’s no place like home, eh Dorothy? And there’s nowhere I’d rather be to celebrate 50 years of the modern LGBTQ+ movement than in gay ol’ San Francisco. Living in such an accepting, love-filled, progressive place can have its scary moments. But overall, I feel very privileged and special to reside in this Bay Area among people of all identities and backgrounds.
WO: Weekly Obsessions
Sometimes the simplest things in life can truly bring the greatest pleasures. I got back to my simple roots this week and, I gotta say, it really helped me get through some shit.
- GoT Finale: Wouuuld we call this simple? No. But finally knowing how our beloved Starks and the rest of the Westeros crew fared brings such closure to the chaos. Didn’t love it, wouldn’t rate it 10/10, but does any finale ever really nail it? Thanks for the memories, GoT. And now our watch has ended.
- Olive Garden: I don’t know if there’s another restaurant that reminds me of home as much as the OG. My grandpa (Pop) was a daily visitor and everyone knows those breadsticks can inspire family feuds like no other. I had my first-ever Tour of Italy and will be visiting again soon.
- Lolli & Pops: Next to the only OG in town is a massive mall, containing this SF treasure. We were actual kids in a candy store as my friend gasped “Pineapple! Gummy sharks!” etc. etc. The massive candy bark and cookie-dough bites are worth the visit alone.
- “Candy” – Mandy Moore: Well, duh. But I also killed some time the other day watching “Center Stage” and was reminded of this perennial pop hit’s place in history. Doesn’t get sweeter than that. Love always, Mandy.
Images courtesy of: Vulture, FB, Lolli & Pops, Wiki
Witty Rewind: March 2019
I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.
I told myself I’d try a “clean eating on weekdays” approach in March but I most certainly did not. Instead, I started on the 1st with a Mexican fiesta lunch, spent mid-March in San Diego (Mexican food capital of California) and ended the 31st with a wine-and-tacos apartment purge party. Noticing a theme? Ay dios mio. [🌮 eaten: ~20]
Despite having plenty of time to devote to reading on the shuttle and quick flights, I found myself not able to power through any reads the way I normally would. (For context, I can usually get through a book in 2-4 sittings, and a few days’ time.) That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my March picks, but I do think I was considerably less motivated with my brain on overdrive in work summits and commitments. [📚 read: 3.5]
Some highlights from the madness that was this past month:
- Bowling with dear friends who moved to New York last year
- Celebrating a housemate’s birthday with incredible Cajun cuisine
- Meeting lots of inspiring and empowering women through Junior League of SF
- Attending a newcomer summit for work + getting uplifting insight
- Looking for a new apartment with a current housemate
- Catching up with a longtime friend during her stay in SF before she moves back to NYC
- Checking out a crystal fair (really!) and somehow buying only jewelry
- Hosting my fave former writer for lunch at my new(ish) job
- Happy hour-ing with other former writers and getting the tea
- Helping another former writer with her portfolio
- Spending a week in San Diego with my family
- Experiencing DisneyLand for the first time and seeing my nieces go wild
- Attending a global summit for work + meeting tons of colleagues face-to-face
- Exploring the Exploratorium 😉 and its After Dark series for the first time
- Celebrating a handful of close friends’ birthdays with drinks, dinners, brunches galore
Six people looking at the camera = a Christmas miracle