August 14, 2014

It’s 9:37am. I slept in, which is arguably the best gift I will receive today. Kari whisked the kiddos out of our bed at the headache time of 6:30am. The curtains were left shut, the fan was turned on high and the covers were pulled over my head. There is no better sleep than getting to sleep in, without consequence or guilt, after you become a parent.

Speaking of gifts, I received $30 from my parents, which feels like such a kind gesture when you’re halfway to seventy. I have been wearing socks with holes in them for a solid four months now. There are two pair in which my big toe just slides right out into the open. Another pair has the heel worn out. Some days I have opted to simply go without socks altogether, knowing the callouses that have emerged on the balls of my feet would get me by just fine. And I knew this day would come and I knew my parents would faithfully send me $30, so I waited until now and bought five pair of socks from REI. They are ready to be picked up at the store today. Shipping to my home would have blown out my budget.

Thanks to my sister, I will take Kari out for my birthday, on a proper date, which would actually win the argument for best gift. We will arrive to dinner and have two whole hours before the movie starts. We will converse and eat, at whatever pace suits us. I will dip my fries into a gourmet sauce slowly and defiantly, one at a time, and feel like everything in the world is going to be okay.

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Happy days like today have a sadness about them now. Like the happiness you’re supposed to feel actually accentuates the sadness. As good as dinner and a movie sounds, and as sweet as the drawing is that Stella will no doubt give me, the truth is, I would equally like to skip out on the rest of the day and grab the framed picture of my missing daughter and hold it close and pull the blankets back over my head and cry until it’s no longer my birthday. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to pick up my socks. It’s just different now.

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I feel so lucky to be alive. Thirty-five years is a long, long time to escape death. If there is one gift I could give myself today, I would beg and plead with the universe that my kids and Kari and I could stay alive for a good long while. That would be really nice.

August 6, 2014

What if I just kept a journal, somewhat, from time to time. Maybe that would liven this place up again. I don’t know.

There are birthdays gone missing. She turned five. M turned three. He turned two. There were parties and photos and cake and tears. All undocumented.

We bought a house. We are doing things to it, at least on the outside. There are gardens and chickens and a working furniture studio. My grandfathers garden tools hang on recycled redwood on the outside of the shop. It didn’t take long to make, but I like the way it looks.

Three camping excursions. A trip to Minnesota. A wedding. Eleven thousand cavities.

All of this is missing from the record that I like to keep here.

The funny thing about it is, at some point in the near future, I know I will actually go back through our photos and record some of these events. I will even time stamp them back to when they should have been posted. So in five years, or ten years, or whenever, it will be like they were never even missed.

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Truth is, I haven’t had time.

March 31, 2014

My final short essay for Glow In the Woods, writing about Letting Go. You can go here to read it.

January 24, 2014

The sort of year I'd like to remember fondly, but I'm still too close to the chaos of what it was.

 I will remember my sister.

 I will remember her taking my four year old out dancing until 11pm, as if she was nineteen, sneaking her into the club, busting moves to whatever the kids are dancing to these days. I will remember all of the late nights talking and scraping floors and rolled organics and road trips West, North and East. I will remember watching her run a marathon through the hills and neighborhoods of the twin cities, driving frantically from mile marker to mile marker in hopes of catching a glimpse and cheering her on. She is one beautiful and dedicated and independent woman if there ever was one.

 I will remember my Dad returning from trips this way and that, Africa or Turkey or Columbia or who knows where, and the way he looked at my children as if it had been a whole year since he saw them last.

 I will remember my mother and her condo in the city, a refuge of cleanliness and padded carpet and tenderness that was our home away from home.

 Dear, beautiful, like minded friends, who we stayed up late with and shared Thanksgiving with and fixed gutters with. You don't think it's possible to make deep friendships anymore, like there isn't room in life or your good fortune has run out, and then you move to a new city and introduce yourselves and then it happens.

 And my kids. Taking in stride their parents crazy whims, taking baths in plastic bins and moving from place to place, room to room, bed to bed, while we shuttled around the house to the repetitious tune of fixing and cleaning, fixing and cleaning. Having one parent a day, five or six days a week, mom till 3, dad till bed. They made friends and explored and grew up and neither of them will probably remember much of it.

 I will though. Our crazy year spent fixing up a broken old house, etc.

December 25, 2013

It's our third Christmas without Margot.Thirty-one Christmas eves before and three after.

My life, before her. And after.

Time shifted in March 2011. A new beginning by which all events and experiences are measured as they are remembered in my mind.

The 85' Bears. Before.
Middle School. Before.
Indianapolis. After.
The apartment on Euclid. Before.
Christmas Eve, 2013. After.

The Christmas Eve after she died was spent in our car, in the In N Out parking lot, eating hamburgers and listening to Judy Garland, Stella jumping from front to back, hopped up on the lethal combination of Christmas and a chocolate milkshake. There was no tree that year.

Their are four of us now, living, huddled around mattresses in the living room, listening to Judy Garland, dancing and laughing by the light of the tree. There is happiness here in the after, a trace of innocence, a steadfastness in the present.

We have muddled through, somehow. 



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