What A Day It’s Been

And it’s been quite a lovely day.  Really.  I know that the wording indicates that I am absolutely unhappy and that life is horrible.

But it isn’t.  Today has been about everything and nothing combined.  Today has been about me scrolling through literary magazines and going through the process of choosing which magazines I am going to start submitting to.  Of course, that means I have to get up the courage to start submitting.  But I have started the research part which is actually a bit of a step for me.

Today has been about me calling my parents.  I meant just to talk to Mom because she is flying back to Germany today.  For some reason, my stupid brain decided that Dad was going to fly back to Germany in about two weeks because he wanted to have a special fishing vacation with his brother.  But I was wrong.  Both of my parents are flying right now.

I always call my parents to tell them I love them.  When I was a child, Mom talked about how her one regret in life would be not to tell someone she loved them and then have them die.  This truly impacted me.  Because I could see why this would be such a horrible, such a painful regret.  I remember reading in an Anne of Green Gables book about how one of the character’s first memory was her mother slapping her.  This was countered by another character talking about her mother curling up with her, holding her, showing her love….just before her mother died.  This was her only memory of her mother.

I know that I’m somewhat stretching here.  But Mom’s anxiety truly made me consider the meaning of her words.  And so I always try to conclude all conversations with my children and husband with “I love you.”  Yeah, I’m a bit obsessive.  Sorry.  No, I’m not sorry.  I know that I should control that anxiety and that insecurity.  But, at the same time, three words.  Three syllables.  Three seconds worth of time.  I don’t mind wasting people’s time with a sincere statement.

You don’t like it?  Don’t call me.

Okay.  You can call me.  I’ll still tell you that I love you.  But only if I mean it.  Really.

Anyhow, I started off chatting with Dad.  Naturally, he made fun of me, made fun of Mom. In the background, I could hear Mom fretting around the condo, checking, double-checking, and triple-checking all of the different things she wanted to make sure were completely off.  Water valves.  The refrigerator.  The hot water heater.

Dad and I talked about nothing.  We talked about one another.  We told one another that we loved each other.  I told him that I had sent a poem to The New Yorker for consideration.

I can’t remember exactly what he said.  I know that he acknowledged what I had said.  And then I told him that I’ll likely be rejected.  It’s easier to wait for the rejection than to….well…to have the expectation of an acceptance only to have the rejection hurt.

Anyhow, Dad’s response?

“Oh, I expect you’re going to get something big published some day.”

This was Dad telling me, I love you.  This was precious and wonderful and important.  Because Dad used to dislike my writing because it didn’t rhyme, didn’t fall into the standards of poetry format.  I preferred free verse and Dad liked formula-verse.  And sometimes, when I waxed poetic and started spouting out figurative language and fluffy language, I think Dad just looked at me like I was a bit of an idiot.  And I likely was being a bit of an over-dramatic, poetic idiot.

But for Dad to tell me that he expected me to be published. That I was going to have “something big” published?

Internally, I danced.  Immediately, I saw the words lined up for me.  The dream was ignited.

Dad doesn’t give false reassurances.  Yeah, he isn’t known in the publishing market.  But I can still have my dreams and my father fostering my dreams.  Well, I’ll take it.

As I was still riding on that emotion, on the uplifting joy of my father’s words, Mom took the phone.  And the conversation quickly shifted from one point to the next.

And we talked about the possibility of my parents’ death.  Yeah, a bit extreme.  But the reality is that it’s an inevitability.  And, no, I’m not scared that my parents are going to die in a plane crash.  But Mom and I do have an open and honest relationship.  So in the space of ten minutes, Mom reminded me of where the files were located.  She reminded me of what I needed to look for and how to access everything.

She reminded me that death is not horrible for her.  That she will go to Heaven.  That someday we will be together.  And tears welled up, dribbled over the edges.  And I pretended that I wasn’t quietly weeping and just reassured Mom that everything was fine.

I value those conversations with Mom, though.  I am grateful that we are able to talk with frank honesty about her future and what I will need to do when she is gone.  My brother is the executor of the will and I know that he will have a task I won’t envy….but…still…Mom’s honesty.  Mom’s complete openness about everything…it unites us.  Lets me see how I will eventually have the same conversation with my own children.

Several hours after talking with my parents, I attended an Eagle Scout ceremony for my husband’s Boy Scout troop.  Sitting in the back of the room, I watched as the young man was presented with his award, was given the ability to celebrate his accomplishments while also giving honor to those who helped him achieve such a distinguished award.

My husband stood at the head of the church and read a speech that he wrote this morning at two in the morning and that I edited for him much later.  He read a speech while suffering from the misery of allergies, his voice thick with mucus and exhaustion.  And throughout the speech, he kept on choking up because he has been working hard to revive the troop he leads.  He constantly gives of himself to ensure the boys under his charge will grow into dignified, excellent young men.  I watch him sacrifice hours of his life and hours of his sleep so that he can do anything and everything for the boys and, by extension, their parents and families.

This has been a day of….quiet beautiful moments.  Right now, my daughter is painting my husband’s fingernails.  Right now, the entire family is binge-watching Parks and Rec.  Right now, I am sitting in my recliner and writing and thinking about a dinner that no one is really wanting because we stuffed ourselves on food at the Eagle Scout banquet.

Right now, I am thinking about a beautiful day that was nothing special and everything wonderful.

Right now, I am content.

Right now, I am going to try and edit some poetry.

Or write some poetry.

Or maybe just post this blog and sit with my family and enjoy the life I lead.

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