Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The One Where I Acknowledge October

Holy moly. October just went down in a blaze of glory. One of the single most chaotic months of my life, and one of the most memorable, amazing ones as well.

Here's what happened this month:

October 1st at 9 am, J and I closed on a house. In the town we already live in. Yes, this may come as a surprise to some of you who are aware of my deep and abiding love for Iowa. But, I am not one to argue with fate. We have had some great years here, our kids are happy and in a good school, we have great friends, J's job puts the junior bacon cheeseburgers on the table, and I was just weary from living like tomorrow everything would change.

Everything went so incredibly smoothly and we're loving the house. I would just like to note that on October 1st at 8:33 AM I was in line at the bank waiting to get a printout of checks to pay our down payment. See, our lender said about 27 times to me, "all you need is your ID and your checkbook!" And I pretty much harassed her on the matter, "Are you sure that's all we'll need?" She kindly and sweetly reassured me. At 11:27 the night before I bolted upright in bed and exclaimed, "I DON'T KNOW WHERE OUR CHECKBOOK IS!" J and I had a good chuckle over that. It's so...me.

I'd also like to note that at 8:59AM I was charging up some steps to the law office where we were closing. Only, right in the middle of those steps, my feet stopped charging and my body didn't. I fell flat so suddenly. I really hurt my knee and shoulder and hand, but my pride was absolutely brutalized.

On October 4th at 11:00 AM I had an interview "screening" for graduate school. I sat in a room with 3 professors and one grad student and answered questions about myself for 45 minutes. I'm good at talking, so that part was easy. But knowing that I was being assessed for suitability and an appropriate level of sanity, was a little difficult. I felt like it went well, but of course after the fact I was constantly saying, "Why on earth did I think that was okay to say!?!?!" Specifically I mean, referring to Ben and Jerry as my therapists who help me cope with stress.

Ahhh well, I yam what I yam. Right?

On October 5th at 10:20 AM my phone rang. It was my best good cousin calling. Only, she's a teacher and is in class teaching at 10:00 AM my time every day. For the first time in over 20 years when she called, I didn't want to hear her voice. I answered, "I really, don't like you calling me at this time of day, it just can't be good." She said, "It isn't good, he's gone." I cried. So much life, so much love, just gone. It's really hard to come to terms with someone like him being gone. It's hard to wrap your brain around. And it's like the ending of the longest chapter of my life. He has been an active part of our lives, long before I was born, and regularly after.

On October 8th, the day before I was flying out to California for the funeral, my cousin called me several times while I was gone. She had just gotten notification from a retreat we had signed up for (the waiting list, the retreat was already full in April when we signed up) that if she'd be willing to drive an RV and stay in it, she could attend the retreat at the end of the month. She wanted to know if I was in. The timing wasn't the best, I had barely, and I mean BARELY made the house livable in order to go to the funeral. But it was a now or never kind of opportunity. I asked my mom if she'd come up and stay with my kids while I went. She said yes. I asked Jay if he'd be okay with me going. He said if I got my mom to come up and take care of the kids during the day, he didn't care where I went and for how long. So, I was in.

October 9-16th I spent a week in California, Danyo went with me. He turned out to be the world's best little travel companion. He adjusted to the ups and downs and unpredictability of traveling like no other 3 year old I've known. And he charmed the socks off of everyone. That boy is adorable through and through.

I can hardly remember the week between my return from the funeral trip and my flight back to California for the retreat. I worked like mad to finish the unpacking, I yelled at my kids and lost my temper with them WAY too many times, I kind of hated who I was, but couldn't seem to control it anyway. They are forgiving little sweethearts, so we're all good now. :)

On October 20th I do remember, I got a letter of acceptance to the graduate program. I had a moment of dread before I opened it, hoping it was a rejection. What kind of weirdo does that? I scrambled like mad in August to get my transcripts sent, study for and take the GRE, write an essay, get letters of Rec all in by September 1st, and there I sat, hoping for a rejection. I wanted the difficulty of the path to be completely removed as an option. I wanted a reason to not have to do it. Of course, a rejection would be difficult in and of itself, but the relief would outweigh it.

Alas, it was not a rejection. My self esteem enjoyed the hearty claps on its back, but all-in-all the whole idea is just a little too overwhelming for me to process right now.

On October 25th my mom flew into town and I write notes, and drew maps, and left phone numbers and warned her of each of the children's MO for sneakiness. Okay, really just Avee's. The other two couldn't sneak if their lives depended on it.

At 8:06 Am on October 26th I flew to California.

I got picked up from the curb in an RV. It was AWESOME.

I spent an incredible week in the mountains. It was rejuvenating, enlightening, hard, sweet, possibly life changing (I'll let you know), frustrating, and more than I ever hoped it could be. I am so grateful for the chance I had to go. For a cousin who got me there. A husband who helped make it happen. A mother that made it easier. I have good people in my life.

Take home messages from my retreat. At least ones that I'm willing to share:
I am madly in love with J. He is the greatest part about being me.
I want to be present in my children's lives and love them fully, as they are, and worry less about how they make me look or what they are doing "wrong".
I am whole, even with my weaknesses and past failures and heartbreaks. They aren't things I need to ignore or try to get away from---they are a part of me, and I am awesome. Awesome doesn't really even cover my awesomeness. I'm beyond awesome. I'm...I'm...BE-YAWESOME!!!
Thank you Rhino.

On October 31st I flew home from California at 10:00 pm at night. I haven't taken a red eye in about 20 years. I was better suited for it 20 years ago.

I am so happy to be home. I love the sound of Danyo's bare feet hitting the kitchen tile as he runs between Bo's bag of halloween candy in the kitchen and Caillou on the tv in the living room. I loved hearing Bo's musings this morning as he neglected his bowl of cereal and on our way to school. I loved seeing Avee's skeewampus hair which she plucked a headband on top of anyway. And trying to kindly convince her that capris in 50 degree weather wasn't the best choice.

I loved reading the week's lunch menu to the kids and letting them choose which day they wanted hot lunch. Avee chose "Nachos" and I heard "not choose" which is such an Avee response, but not in fact what she said. I am betting right now that tomorrow morning she will say something like, "I didn't want the nachos, I want the chicken sandwich." That's how she rolls. And how do I know? Because she is the apple and I am the tree.

I love feeling J's arms around me. I love the chill in the air, not quite cold, no more signs of warm days. I am happy.


Emily K. said...

You are awesome! I've been thinking about you a lot lately and sending you hippie love vibrations. Great post.

Barnecked Lady said...

I'm glad you are alive, I was getting ready to call the police! I haven't heard anything from you in a long time, now I know why. I even found your phone number and called you but to no avail.
Congrats on grad school miss smarty pants, and sounds like you had a busy, sad, crazy, fun, interesting month. Miss ya like crazy!

Heffalump said...

Ah...I have been missing you!
I'm sorry about your loss of your uncle, and I'm glad you were able to go on the retreat!

Jamie said...

I've missed you so...what a crazy month on so many levels. Can't wait til things settle down and we can resume hanging out...SP already has a "felting" project lined up for us. Bet you can't wait. Seriously though, I have missed you and want to hear about your travels.

Shauna said...

Welcome to my Octobers!! I've just been observing a subdued October, compared to some in the past, and feeling very grateful for the break in my life from chaos and transitions. And it looks like you've nicked it. Congratulations on grad school - I hadn't heard THAT one!!! When do you start?

Emily said...

Wow! and I thought my month was crazy. . .

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. about all of it. well. . . except for the funeral. and the part about you NOT buying a house next door to US! But Be-yawesome to the rest.

Charlotte said...

Wow. That is a month. If it were me it would take all of November to recover. Enjoy the new house!

Klin said...

I just want to talk to you. On the phone or in person.

"And trying to kindly convince her that capris in 50 degree weather wasn't the best choice." Uhm, yeah, about this line...I had this same convo with my 13 year old. It was 37 degress in the AM, but, she assured me that it would be warmer (in the 60's) later in the day, so it would be okay. I was not convincing. How about you?

Sketchy said...

You are awesome. But you are breaking my heart.

Danyo is 3?

When did that happen?

Rebecca said...

wow.. ditto barnecked lady.. especially the smarty pants part.. I totally want to chat about that retreat if its the one I am thinking..then I wanna hear all about it.. the world missed you in Oct. glad you are back! :)

JCL said...

Congrats on grad school! That is super exciting.....and I have missed seeing your face at church, it was great to see you the other day!

Gypsy Girl said...

Sorry to hear about your uncle. Funerals are the least favorite part of my life, for sure. But the good news is that you made it through October. The even better news though is that you ARE totally beyawesome (and just happen to be one of the funniest people I know)! Congrats on getting into grad school! Who could reject a person that admits to a therapist-type relationship with her favorite ice cream?? I mean, let's get real here....

mycurlyhairdays said...

I am just starting to catch up. I don't know if I ever told you, congrats on school! I know you have been nervous, but you (and Ben and Jerry) will be great!!!
We miss having you across the street, but your house is pretty sweet!!! I want to get over there asap to help you with it!