Thursday, May 15, 2014

Middle School Honors, Home Depot, Dogs and Grief

My daughter's Middle School Honors Program was two days ago.  Ten minutes before I am due to leave to attend, I break down in an ugly cry.  The feelings came swiftly and seemingly out of nowhere and these powerful emotions surprise me, but they were so cathartic.  The thoughts came in my head that I missed my mother in law and wished she was here and how proud she would have been of Riley and bam, the waterworks spewed.

Today would have been GaGa's birthday.  We lost her to nasty, ugly cancer two years ago.  

I miss my mother in law's unconditional love and enthusiasm for my children.  She loved them as if she had given birth to them herself.  As a mother, I wanted to keep that person on my team. 

This relationship with my mother in law didn't start out glorious.  It took the nineteen years I knew her to work through excitement, dread, commonality, and then unconditional love.  I learned how to have boundaries with her, especially while she was dying, and that was the greatest gift of all for this recovering people pleaser.  

Over the weekend, we found cushions that fit in the patio chairs that had come from her apartment.   I had a verklempt moment in the middle of Home Depot when I realized that they would work and they were pretty and we could keep this little part of her around.  

But she IS around.  My inconvenient crying prior to school events is her letting me know she is with us.  I'm sad she never met Annie or Brinkley.  She would have loved those dogs.  For this reformed cat lover, dogs are more active expressions of unconditional love. (and work and love…)  I know she must have been the one to help wear me down to Mallory's pleas  to agree to get the first one.  

And the second one.  

But GaGa, we are done with adding dogs for now!  And as Mallory has given up on begging for a puppy, I will not get a bunny either.   Two dogs, two cats, two kids.  We are brimming with four legged love. 

I know you are with us.  You are still a part of the team.  Happy 82nd Birthday!  Love you and miss you here walking beside us, but I still feel your presence.  


P.S. Riley would like to make mention that she won a merit medal for Science, is on Principal's List for All A's and was recognized by the Duke Tip program which she made me sign her up online which resulted in another trip to the stage to receive a certificate!