Tag Archives: siblings

Stuff that I love

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There are a lot of things I love. Some things I don’t love so much, and interestingly – those are listed in BIG LETTERS in my tag cloud over there —->  Guess we don’t always write about what we love. Sometimes a blog gets populated by a whole lot of stuff that pisses us off.

But in the case of CANCER, the thing I love so little that I might actually use four-letter words when I refer to it in conversation, that thing has actually brought a wonderful thing along… a really strong relationship with my sister. Don’t worry, this isn’t going down the two-hankie-blog-post path. I’m just saying… I mean, get over it. Just briefly: our mom was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2008 and passed away in August 2009. In those 11 months my sister and I developed a bond that can only be understood fully by other people who have shared in the work of caring for a dying loved-one and then spent another year and a half figuring out what to do with all their stuff including a house that was built by their grandfather and which ended up in foreclosure. And also including three beloved cats. Yeah… THAT kind of bond. I have a tattoo to prove it.

So, back to the stuff I love… one of those things would be Dave Matthews Band. Another, understandably, is my sister. Another is road trips. And finally, another (the actual list, which includes this photo of my brothers, would be ridiculously long…) is junking/thrifting/scrounging/treasure-hunting. This week the stars are aligning just as they do in super-cool documentaries about the Mayan Calendar and the future of the Universe and things like that, and my sister and I are taking a road trip to see Dave Matthews Band at one of their summer Caravan festivals – as well as a crapload of other awesome bands. On our way, we are certain to be lured to the roadside by junky buildings overflowing with stuff other people would throw in a dumpster or on a burn pile. And we

CAN

HARDLY

WAIT!!!

Okay, I’m not skilled on WordPress and can’t make that centered text look as intense as the waiting actually feels.

The aforementioned sister has been putting together a mix tape (shut up – if I want to call it a mix tape I will!!!) of a bunch of the bands we’ll see over the three day festival. We have been doing stupid little wiggly dances for at least the last two weeks every time we are together and one of us mentions the trip … we have saved our pennies and are making lists of the things we need to take and have a cheap ass hotel room in the ghetto reserved in our name. The countdown is on and this time tomorrow we’ll be lying in our beds unable to go to sleep.

We will be posting pics. We will be slapping on the sunscreen and using our refillable water bottles. We will also be eating cheap food in Chicago that quite possibly will taste better than anything we’ve ever eaten in our LIVES simply because we’re on a road trip.

And that, my friends, will be something to love.

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Hard, but not impossible.

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Having now celebrated two Christmases without my mother I am convinced that, contrary to what well-intentioned people have told me, it will never get any easier. 2009 was very difficult because I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas that year away from home and my family and the traditions that are comfortable for me, but this most recent holiday season I got to spend both of those days with my siblings and it was still hard. Not sobbing-in-bed-for-hours hard… there was no crying or reminiscing aside from a comment at Thanksgiving about the day also being her birthday… the difficulty was less intrusive, but just as painful.

One particularly tough moment came at a craft fair my sister and I were selling at in October. As I was browsing the other booths I discovered something that would have been a perfect gift for my Mom and was hit by the stunning realization that I would never buy her another gift. My mother was a joy to buy for. She and I had similar taste in many things – decor, clothing, hobbies. Perhaps that’s why I now have so much of her stuff in my garage? I felt I knew her so well that when I found The Perfect Gift it was a thrill just to anticipate her opening it, let alone seeing her reaction post-reveal.

Another wrinkle this year was the grand-baby in our house. She looks so much like my mother did as a baby – she has her chin and her smile and her red hair!! – and I know Mom would have loved to have a new baby to buy for. I hope I can measure up to Mom’s stellar Nana talents as I learn to be a Nonnie for my little one.

But being with my brothers at Thanksgiving and my sister for Christmas helped somewhat as we move forward “sans mere”. I’m confident we will make new traditions as we learn to share our own homes with each other instead of relying on mom to always be the hub of our family wheel.

Losing a parent in 2009, and gaining a grandchild in 2010 kind of trumped any list of goals I made those years. I’ll give 2011 some thought and get back to you on that.

Until then – I’ll share my mantra for the new year:

Do or do not… there is no try.   — Yoda