Sunday, June 9, 2013

Soldier On

This happens every so often. I completely lose steam, feel deflated, parched, and need a break, but I don't get one. When you carry the burden of losing a child, you get no breaks. The grief is always there, raging, under that thin sheen of ice. It is a monster that will haunt you forever. You have to stay in your skin, even when you don't want to, you have to drag your heart along with each year that goes by, even though each beat is painful, you have to smile and laugh, always pretending and pretending some more, which makes you very, very tired . Over time, I have learned to manage the grief over losing Vanessa, but out of necessity, and nothing else. It took a long time to learn how to manage, and I still walk a fine line of keeping face and falling into darkness, but days like these, I feel like it is too much. This pack is too heavy, and I just want a break. I look for someone to carry it for a while so I can catch my breath, but there is no one that can. It is my Scarlet letter to carry. I can't remember what it feels like to have a heart free of that pain. That seems foreign. I don't remember how it feels to have the easy nature of freely feeling joy. It seems so beautiful, and  for those of you that can have this, feel grateful. You are lucky. I wish my heart could sing again, but the song is long gone.

Last night after a brief breakdown, Jeremy asked me why I was crying. During the moment of clarity which made me cry, my answer was,

"I just didn't picture my life going like this. I feel like I am just passing time until I see her again, not really living, just passing time."

He nodded, and agreed as we sat there in the semi darkness before falling asleep with that on our minds. The morning didn't bring much relief except a brief ray of eight year old sunshine that bounded down the stairs and asked for breakfast. I was still feeling down so I said "Why don't you make your own this morning?" So, she did. From somewhere deep in the recesses of the pantry she unearthed a small, one person sized box of Fruit Loops, poured some milk over it, added a fistful of golden raisins and some chocolate chips, and that was her homemade breakfast. It made me smile. I felt a little guilty over not fixing her a healthy square breakfast, but not today. I need today to take as much of a break from myself as possible.

I will be taking a break from the blog for about a month to re-adjust my pack, heave it back on my back, and soldier on. As always, I thank you sweet people for reading my words and connecting with them, and allowing me the outlet of pouring my insides into words. Now, I can't leave without sharing something, so I will leave you with a recipe for a yummy summer evening gathering, or maybe, even a Father's Day dinner.

                                                   Low Country Boil

         2lbs. Cleaned, uncooked shrimp, shells on

         6-8 fresh ears of corn, shucked, broken into thirds

         1 1/2-2 pounds baby red or mixed color baby potatoes

         1 packaged of andouille sausage (about 6-8 links) cut into   

         2 lemons, quartered

         2 boxes of Zatarain's Crab boil

         Optional:  Crusty french bread 

                          extra quartered lemons for the table

                           cocktail sauce for dipping

Fill two large pots of water, and bring each of them to a boil. Some people like to do this outside and use one extra large pot over a gas powered burner which would work great, but I only had my stove, so I had to split it into two pots.

Once each pot of water is boiling, add 1 Tbsp of kosher salt to each pot, and divide the whole potatoes evenly between the two pots. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the lemon, corn, andouille sausage, and crab boil packets, and again, split between the two pots equally. The crab boil comes in a convenient little spice bag, so add a bag to each pot. The crab/shrimp boil is packaged in a little yellow box about the size of a pudding box. At Vashon Thriftway it can be found behind the fish counter where you self- weigh your seafood, and at Fred Meyer, I found it in the spice section where you buy cooking spices.

Boil for 10 more minutes, then add your shrimp. Boil for about ten more minutes, turn off your burner and let sit for 5 minutes or so, or until you feel it has steeped in the spices long enough. Most people drain it, line their tables with newspaper, and toss it right on there. I put it all on a large serving platter and everyone picked off of it, and lined my table with newspaper so no plates were needed. Easy breezy clean-up. This fed 6 hungry people, and we had enough for leftovers for lunch for the three of us the next day. On the table, I had warmed crusty french bread, quartered lemons to squeeze, and plenty of cocktail sauce. Oh, yes, and Gin and Tonic's. They go very well with this ; )

It isn't a cheap meal to make, so it is great for a special occasion, or when you want to woo someone.

Happy Father's Day to all you wonderful Father's reading this, and Happy 4th of July to you all. Stay safe, have plenty of fun, and enjoy the start to Summer!

See in  July,

 XXX's and OOO's ~M

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Dance

It is already time for her first date. Gulp.

Her dress was chosen and hung on a hanger with shoes poised beneath it days ago, ready to be slipped over her head, buttoned up, belt tightened around her slim waist.  The pre-date ritual started with a long shower, lots of conditioner for shiny hair, and a good slow brushing of the hair. We watched you-tube videos as we did this, settling on a french twist up-do for the evening, with yarrow and chive blossoms tucked in.

 She didn't nervous giggle much like I did during my pre-date ritual as a teenager, but was more fidgety, and wondered why it was a big deal to get all shiny before a date.

"why does my hair have to be just right? why do I need to get all dressed up?" she asked.

"You just do, for a date, it's just something you do." was all I could come up with. She just shrugged and went with it.

She picked out red nail polish for the evening, and I swept her eyelids with nude glitter shadow, and brushed the apples of her cheeks with a dab of blush. She wanted more, but I said no. It was already killing me seeing her with a modern hairdo and kitten heels. Lipstick was an automatic "no."

It is almost time for her date, and he shows up in a grey dress shirt, a tie, and a smile.
He takes her hand, and they giggle as I do my duty and take obligatory pictures.

She holds his hand like she will never let go, then turns and disappears into his car. She waves goodbye as I stand there holding my heart.

I sigh, put it back into my chest, and turn to go inside. I breathe and my breath is totally normal and easy. I can breathe as she goes on this date. This Father-Daughter dance of 2013.  I know in coming years I will not be breathing this easy as she leaves for a date, so for now, I will hang on and swim in this easy breath.
 Time will but take it away too soon.