Nine years are a big deal because it’s right before 10, which is always a big deal.
And this year in particular feels hopeful on the ever-so-slow upswing from the COVID-19 pandemic. We got through this year together. Like we can more robustly support efforts in increasingly struggling countries, because we have the reassurance of vaccination. We want to use our privilege to help others gain leverage.
And we are on a sluggish yet fortunate political upswing since the election. Yeah, I went there. We’re lucky to support each other in this. Progress is observable and more measurable. This adds to our hope.
Grad school. Child. Homeownership. Loss. Healing. Compassion. Love. Love. Love. Love. We are happiest together. I love you, my man.
Two years ago today I weeded one of the back flowerbeds in the afternoon. My mother-in-law’s condition had taken a drastic turn for the worse. Her life in the balance–one foot in mortality, and the other beyond–weighed heavily on my mind. I thought of all the things I wanted to say to her. I knew we’d be heading down to visit her at home that evening. Thrusting the shovel into the soil and crying. Pulling weeds and crying. Standing in the middle of the flowerbed, feeling the most profound sadness.
We drove down. Nana lay in bed, writhing from pain. I said some of the things that crossed my mind earlier, not knowing if she was lucid. She seemed to have heard me and calmness swept over her.
We came back home. Got ready for bed.
Reilly got a call around 2am.
We drove back down.
Seven hours later she was gone.
We wouldn’t really sleep again that whole week.
We visited the cemetery last night with Reilly’s family. The entire grounds popped with bouquets on every gravesite. Memorial Day weekend.
As we pulled next to Reilly’s mom’s plot, Z said, “Hi, Nana.”
We all sat by Nana. Papa watered her bouquets, and we told stories. Z sang for us and kept us laughing.
There’s a lot of people to remember this weekend, but we’re always going to remember Nana first.
Disclaimer: I’m grieving and have more feelings than I know what to do with. Writing is one way to sort through them. Not sure if they’ll make sense, but here they are.
Carla passed away on June 1, which happens to be Reilly’s and my wedding anniversary. We had plans to go out to eat. And attend a concert his brother’s band were giving at his parents’ home in Payson. Carla had other plans. As we were driving home that evening, Reilly promised next year would be better. I told him it was really nice of his mom to let us spend it sending her off.
Remembering her on our anniversary makes it fuller, deeper? more complete? Not sure what words belong here, except that it’s more. We might start a tradition of visiting her gravesite every June 1 to celebrate her. If it weren’t for her (and Reilly’s dad), circumstances would have been different, and I wouldn’t have met Reilly.
Carla was always really sweet, really friendly. Sincere, genuine. She always put others before herself. Even in her final hours I felt she was making sure we’d be ok. The best human–daughter, wife, mother, friend–she could be until her very last mortal breath. She continues to be her best self.
It’s an honor to celebrate my marriage, to share this joy Carla gave me in Reilly, by giving thanks to her every June 1.
Last Sunday was your parents’ second wedding anniversary. Last year I wrote a blog post about magic math, how one plus one equals one. It worked well because it was our first anniversary, and your father and I form a single entity.
This year the math is different. Instead of
1 + 1 = 1
1 + 1 = 3
Your father and I have been married two years. Two years together, and there are three of us. You made our single entity bigger. Stronger. With each passing day, you make it even better. This impossibility happens with you in our lives.
The last year has been quite the journey. I spent nine months of it pregnant with you. Your father and I started masters programs. Your dad added a film studies class to the English curriculum in the school district where he teaches. Two months ago today, I gave birth to you.
You have been with us for two months.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you are an actual human being living with us.
You have a wonderful personality. You smile more and more each day. As long as you’ve eaten and have a dry diaper, you can play and coo and smile for an average of an hour at a time.
You love watching the mobile that hangs over your crib. The sound of winding it up brings a smile to your face, and your eyes follow the revolving objects while your arms swing and legs kick.
Tummy time is a lot of fun now. We place you on your little elephant rug on the floor, and you know that we have expectations. But you also have discovered a different perspective from being able to raise your head. It’s such a joy watching you discover new things. You are so alert and you seem to study everything — especially faces — so intently.
You are quite amused by your own reflection. I hold a mirror in front of your face, and you look at the cute little girl looking back at you with curious eyes, and you smile and talk until you get upset and then she gets upset, too. That’s the thing about mirrors: you and your reflection either make each other smile more or cry more.
You love being read to. We open a book and your first reaction is always to smile.
You enjoy our dance parties in your room. If you’re upset, this always seems to calm you. Your dad picks a song, he bounces you and I sway and bounce along. Lately we’ve danced to Bob Marley, David Bowie, and the Beatles.
From some angles, you are also starting to look more like your dad, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
You are getting hungrier, which somewhat shifts your routine, which means you’re growing, and I’m sort of in denial about that. But you get cuter as you continue to grow, and that’s something I wholeheartedly accept. Your father and I have voted you cutest baby ever. You win everything. You win, we win. You win our hearts with your big eyes and fetching smile. We win joy and utter happiness.
Even though your turning two months old is a week after our second wedding anniversary, your father and I could not have had a better gift. One plus one plus one equals one. We are one.