Today has been a Wear All The Feelings sort of day, the kind where the least little thing makes me get all soggy. It could be a thought or memory, coming across a photograph, or even that stupid industrial hole puncher that’s way overkill for household use. Himself was so proud of that thing. When I’m like that, a dog squawking due to a pinched paw makes me cry. Thinking about my parents aging, or moving away from a bunch of people for whom I’ve grown fond, or the piece of cheese I’d been saving for lunch got extra moldy can send me into pillow-hugging wail-fest.
I don’t like that. It feels kind of weak and there’s always a little person inside (probably Agnes, who’s constantly fussing at me for something) snorting and calling me Emotionally Soft, which apparently to her is the strongest of insults. I’d much rather laugh at something or tell a story about that time Himself and I tried making pretzels but the only coarse salt we could find was rock salt. Those pretzels were pretty but essentially inedible.
I’ve learned to allow the Soggy Days to happen. Stuffing them down is bad for the blood pressure and probably has some sort of adverse psychological effect. I’d turn into Kathy Bates from Misery, and bash in the kneecaps of unsuspecting authors. Better to be some Sensitive Woman of the sort that reinforces stereotypes of women who cry because of bad cheese. No one’s kneecaps suffer and I don’t care much about stereotypes anyway.
You see, it’s been 18 months now of Himself being gone. I don’t flinch at the sight of giant white Toyota trucks anymore. I’m still trying to figure out how to cook for one or two, and when that fails, there’s some people I can have over for a meal. I am learning that some things don’t have to upset me anymore- like disastrous attempts at putting cars on tow-dollies, or putting a scratch on a truck door while bending the mailbox lid. I can put dried onions in the cheese grits now. Himself hated onions in cheese grits but #4 and I like them.
However, he is still missed. I still sleep on one side of the bed. A dog and 2 cats have taken over the other side, and I’m fine with that. I don’t want to sleep over there anyway. His clothes are still in his dresser and the closet. I came close, a couple of months ago, to cleaning them out. I opened the dresser and took out a t-shirt, opened the closet at pulled out his flannel shirts. When I saw all those Carhartt dungarees hanging there, it made me catch my breath so I slammed the door shut and haven’t opened since. I figure that stuff will get cleaned out when I move. It seems like a logical time to do it. I’m keeping the flannel shirts though. They will be converted into stuffed animals for Grandpunkins, when they turn 1. I’m more used to him being gone. I don’t look for him at 5:30 or 6 and that kind of makes me sad…the Moving On part. As necessary as it is, it still saddens me to know that it’s happening.
The Whole Thing has completely altered the way I see this world. It’s less permanent, less important. Sure, there’s a lot of nice things, and awful things, about it. I have a great family and every sort of blessing, but in my head there’s a part that kind of shrugs and says “well yeah, it’s nice and all, but there’s better things waiting and this is just a temporary proving ground (or something)” And I’m ok with that. I’m not at firmly tethered to the here-and-now anymore. Sure, I want to see the kids and the Grandpunkins grow up and old and graduate from various things, but the sense of desperate hanging on and fear of leaving is just…gone. It’s relieving, really. The whole idea of needing to have Just The Right (whatever…)So People Will Respect Me (or whatever)…my head thinks about that and says WHAT-EV-ERRR. I like it, the loss of permanence about all this. It’s a release.