Two cars back I had a Nissan Pathfinder in lovely maroon, which was a wonderful car for that slightly more active and young part of my life. I had it from the time I was 17 until right after Charlotte was born, It was great in the canyons and okay in the snow, and had some delightful quirks. One of these was the electrical system, which sometimes worked correctly, and sometimes presented fun surprises like resetting the clock whenever you opened the door, and for awhile, setting off the alarm if you didn't start the car within 10 seconds of climbing in. The reason I mention this is the other day I climbed into my mom van after working at the hospital all day, and started pawing through my purse looking for my keys. I couldn't find them in the dark of the parking garage and found myself quickly moving into anxiety bordering on panic. My fingers closed over my armless Buzz Lightyear key chain and I almost ripped the lining out of purse trying to get the keys into the ignition before....
...Oh yeah. That was 2 cars and eight years ago. Mom van doesn't throw itself into a wailing whooping fit if you don't immediately prove you have the key upon entering. Funny how things like that come back to you though. Part of you always remembers.
Even now, 13 years since I graduated from high school, the approach of the beginning of June still brings a happy nervous exciting tense feeling, as if 3 months of rollerblading and sleeping in, and toilet papering are on the horizon. Then it always turns out I'm still expected to come to work even after June 6th (that date just always sticks out in my mind) has come and gone. And rollerblading is apparently not cool anymore.
And so, why would I expect anything different surrounding this time of year? On that deep visceral, car alarm, summer vacation level, this time of year is about cherishing every moment, even the awful ones, and about tears and grief and loss. It is as much about death and being left behind as Christmas is about joy and life. For me, anyway.
Naturally I'm going to be a little down. And late for work, or unable to sleep, or absolutely exhausted, or annoyed, or cranky, or quiet, or not very social, or thoughtless, or sobbing my eyes out with my cheek pressed against a cold granite headstone on a windy Sunday night. 'Tis the Season.
For the few years we had Charlotte with us, these few weeks were about desperately awaiting the spring, when the air would be clear and the flu would fade away, and all of us, especially Charlotte, could breath a little easier. And then came the year that would be her last, and the winter had been rough, and I felt like we were just around the corner from relief. Well, she was. She was taken quickly by a common virus after a long, slow, barely perceptible decline. Then just two years later we were going through the very painful and strange but holy weeks of trying to make Lily's life peaceful and comfy as she slipped away from us.
And that was only a year ago. Not eight. Not thirteen. I will always have this heaviness during these cold, gray, tender weeks. It's natural and it's okay. But I do apologize for being somewhat cocooned around myself at the moment. It's self preservation. And I'm not laying in the fetal position crying all day. I'm just keeping quiet. I'm fine, and functioning and happy. I'm just a little sad.