There are many days of the year that I dread, and December 8th is one of them.
It’s dad’s birthday today, and a day I used to celebrate is now a day that counts off another year I can’t tell him happy birthday.
It’s not like I can just forget it. Aaron was able to keep dad’s plates and tags for the vehicle because the truck was an inheritance, so as his payee I have to pay for the tags. So that’s a reminder. Not like I could forget the day anyway, but having to get Aaron the money this week was a very solid reminder.
I tried to come into today grateful for the time I did have with dad, posting my favorite photos on Facebook all week to try and keep my spirits lifted.
But I still found myself fighting tears while I got ready for work. The day was going smoothly despite my sadness, but it promptly took a nose dive when Chase decided to have a tantrum before we left, making me run late. And as I encountered leaf collection trucks blocking my way when I was almost to work, I fought tears again. To say I was being overly emotional about the situation is putting it lightly. Normally I would curse, not cry. I’m not the crying type. But it seemed that today I was going to be just that.
Getting to work finally, I was met with inconvience and annoying problems one after another. I dedicated myself to keeping as busy as possible. When normally I talk to my co-workers multiple times a day, more to bullshit than to solve the problems of the property management world, today I favored working and listening to music to conversation. I hope they understood my stanfoffishness. Sometimes I’m just more comfortable inside my own head.
Finally the day was over, and I went to pick up my littlest hooligan from his aunts. We headed home, Chase excited about the gifts he purchased from the Santa shop and the fact that he had gone above and beyond in good behavior today, resulting in the much sought after and elusive blue colored onto his behavior chart. The school had provided a list to fill out who to buy for at the Santa Shop, and a spot to write in the dollar amount that the child should spend on each individual. And the letter attached also said an adult would be helping the children pick items according to this list. I know from past years with Matt that this is utter bullshit, but I couldn’t tell my child he couldn’t participate because I knew what a clusterfuck the whole ordeal would be. Not to mention that it’s a lot of over priced trinkets. Anyway, so I sent him with his money and his list and he bought for people not on the list who I intended to buy for from a regular store, and also bought multiple items for himself. I couldn’t blame him – he’s 5. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and quietly asked him to go play in his room for awhile. He must have caught the ‘mom’s gonna lose her shit’ vibe that I was radiating, and did exactly as I asked without argument for once in his short life.
Grandma walked into the kitchen just then, and I immediately began venting to her about everything that had happened shitty in my day, and that on top of that it was dad’s birthday. She expressed sympathy and helped me start to laugh off the ridiculous stuff. Just as my mood began to lighten, a loud crash and a cry came from Chase’s room. In an instant I was there, opening Chase’s door to find him breathless and crying, trying to pick himself up off the floor. “What happened kiddo?” I asked, dropping to the floor beside him. He couldn’t talk from crying so hard, and I quickly looked him over as I helped him to his feet. “What hurts?” Using his right hand he pointed to the left. “Your arm?” He shook his head, still crying. “Baby, you gotta calm down and tell momma what hurts. Sit down and take a breath.” I pulled him into my lap and stroked his hair to calm him. I don’t baby my kids, but he was extremely shook up and I couldn’t see what was wrong, I just knew he’d taken a helluva fall. Grandma began to theorize what had happened, that he’d climbed on something and fell. And after what seemed an eternity we found he’d climbed onto the top rung of the railing on his bed, and only wearing socks had slipped and fallen on a large Power Ranger that had many pointy appendages, and that he’d landed on his ribs. One of those points scraped his skin on his left side. He was still struggling to catch his breath, and it was hard to tell if he’d hurt himself worse than was visible or was just shook up. I quickly decided it best he get examined, and helped him into his coat. He was walking very slowly and was awful pale. I went to pick him up and he begged me not to, afraid I would hurt him. I got him into the car and buckled without too many complaints. Lucky for us, there’s an urgent care 2 minutes from the house. I got him checked in and quickly text his dad to let him know the situation. I knew it was quite likely that it was just gonna amount to some hellacious bruising. But what if. . . I pushed the thought away as the nurse called us back. Chase complained as he hoisted himself up onto the exam table, but waved me away when I reached to help him. The nurse and I joked about his stubborness, agreeing that had the shoe been on the other foot, we would have opted to just stand as opposed to Chase’s choice.
Soon the doctor came in, one I’m familiar with. He’s seen my hooligans multiple times and been wonderful with them. He pulled a chunk of brick from underneath Matt’s toenail (don’t ask, I’m not even sure I know how) and a stubborn splinter from Chase’s foot. Fevers from both of them and my own back injuries prior to me finding yoga. He assured me I wasn’t over reacting in bringing Chase in and started talking about contusions and other scary sounding possibilities, and as he examined Chase, listening to his heart and breathing, I found myself tearing up again. Not today. For God sake not today. Not that I want my children hurt on any day, but for the love of all things holy, not on dad’s birthday. The doctor looked up at me and I steeled myself, willing the welling tears back into my tear ducts. He saw my worry and reassured me it was probably just bruising, his breathing was great and his heart sounded good, too. But just in case they were going to do an x-ray.
A nurse escorted us back into the room where the machine was, and explained to Chase what she was going to do as she positioned him on the table. She ushered me back behind the wall and called to Chase to hold his breath so she could get a good picture. Then she proceeded to develop the image right then and there, which still kind of shocks me because I remember when there was a wait for the x-ray to be developed and then read. She did it all in probably less than 3 minutes. She then walked back to Chase to assist him off the table. “Chase!” She exclaimed, holding back a laugh. “Have you been holding your breath this entire time?” He nodded, taking a deep breath. Now laughing outright, she walked him back to show him his picture. His eyebrows raised as she explained what he was seeing, and he didn’t say a word until she was finished. Then he was full of questions. I love watching my kids learn. I think it’s probably one of my favorite parts of being a parent. She told me that all was well and to expect some bruising, but otherwise we had nothing to worry about. The doctor prescribed some Motrin to help with any discomfort and in less than an hour we were back home.
Now I’m relaxing in bed, Chase asleep beside me. This day from hell is over, and my children and brother are all well and accounted for. I’m grateful that my father graced this planet for 60 years and 30 of mine, although I feel it wasn’t near long enough. . . I’m glad my father existed, and I’m grateful for the level head that he taught me to have. Even when I’m screaming and crying and panicking inside, outside my kids see a calm, logical mother who knows what to do in most situations.
My cousin commented on the picture I posted on facebook of Dad and brother and me, one I’ve posted on here before. She said something along the lines that she hoped Dad was finding little ways to make my day easier. Looking at my day, it was pure and utter shit. But. . . It could have been worse. Chase could have been badly hurt. My car could have pulled a stunt and I could have missed work instead of dragging myself through the day. So many things could have gone so much worse. And yes. I think that’s how Dad made my day easier.
I like to imagine that Dad didn’t spend his day intervening in my life to keep the worst from happening, though. I like to think he spent the day fishing with my grandparents, uncles and his nephew as well as other loved ones who have passed. Or maybe at a concert, ’cause you know there’s some bad ass music playing going on. Or with a guitar in hand himself. I don’t know 100% that there’s a heaven or hell, or if our interpretation of those places is correct. But for my peace of mind Dad is hanging in the places that made him happiest. By the water with a fishing pole in hand, or doing something involving music. That whatever heaven is, that it’s about our souls being able to rest and fully enjoy the pleasures that our physical life had to offer, without all the stress that came along with it.
Happy birthday in heaven, dad. And thanks. For everything.