I know it’s Tuesday and from a fresh news perspective Dee’s first day of school yesterday, the “growing” push for Texan succession and the latest Glenn Beck YouTube parody – except it’s really him and not terribly funny – will all pass the smell test and what I want to talk about won’t. And I’m sure at least half of you are tired of the blending and the widowy, but things come up. They run around the rooms in my mind before burrowing in and blossoming with the rapidity of qwack grass after a soaking rain.
Saturday was the hamlet wide garage sale and hockey swap meet. There is nothing like a dozen or so neighbors displaying their junk and the lure of hockey equipment to bring out the crowds from The Fort. Rob and I, being us, worked until after 10 on Friday night setting up. Other people toss their unwanted onto tables and are done. We treat it like it’s a real business or something. Consequently, other people get more sleep than we do.
By the time we’d cleaned up and were in bed it was after midnight and the plan was to be up by eight to finish the remaining pricing. At 4:30 I woke. My right leg was stretched across Rob’s side of the bed and the toes were dangling off which is something that can only happen if Rob is not there.
The dimmest bit of light was straining to lift the blinds and I headed downstairs in search of my husband (and to use the toilet because I am old). At this time of day the sky is bruised by the indirect light of a sun still too far east to do more than send word of its impending arrival. Such a difference from just a few weeks ago when the sun never seemed to set at all.
I found Rob wrapped in our old comforter on the couch. He was grumpy from lack of sleep and the fact that the sadist train engineer had just crawled past the hamlet with the whistle at full throttle.
“I’d just managed to fall asleep too,” he said.
He’d been up since two. For reasons he didn’t explain until much later, he was up and couldn’t fall back to sleep. He hadn’t wanted to wake me tossing and turning, so he’d gone downstairs, fiddled about on the ‘Net until his eyes burned and tried to catch a few winks on the sofa.
I got him to come back to bed. He was so exhausted by this point that he fell asleep quickly, but I was awake. I got up at 5:30 and was out in the garage by 6:45 and that is mostly where I remained until 3P.M.
But I did come in a bit before 8 to wake Rob who thought perhaps I had a birthday present for him despite the fact that he’d issued a no present edict earlier in the week. The next day he would say,
“It was probably one of the worst birthdays ever.”
So much for birthdays not being a big deal.
We’d planned dinner in the city with the older girls for seven that evening. It should go without saying that neither of us was energetic enough to really be looking forward to the 45 minute drive – each way – but the sitter had been booked. Last minute sitter cancellations can lead to difficulty finding willing sitters, so we headed into the city.
Let me digress a minute. Earlier in the week, Rob noted that I had been commenting a bit more on widow blogs. He wondered if I was okay. I was heavy into the memory mode with purging old things for the garage sale. On the surface I felt fine but after a bit of reflection, I realized I was a bit blue about Rob’s birthday. Not that it was his and not mine. I actually love planning parties for other people more than I like celebrating my own birthday. It came down to the fact that we were having two celebrations to accommodate the children. We took Dee out for dinner on Friday night and had cake upon returning home. Saturday was with the older girls because their adult schedules sometimes make it too difficult for them to always be traipsing out to the country.
The thing was that Rob has three daughters, but I have one. As much as I love Edee and Mick, they are not my daughters. I am not their mother. My birthday doesn’t mean anything at all to them. Which is not to imply that I think it should or that they are not wonderful or that we have a contentious relationship. But where Dee becomes more Rob’s child than Will’s, they remain Rob’s daughters.
It’s not something I expected to bother me. I knew perfectly well that, with their being adults, we would not have the relationship that Rob and Dee have formed and will continue to form. And I get it. I really do. One of the reasons I have shied away from searching for my birth parents – my birth mother in particular – was that I didn’t want to feel bound to love her like I love my mom or to have expectations of any deep connection.
And though we get along quite well and the girls are genuine and warm, I know they struggle with just who I am in their lives.
The word “step-mother” is not used. I am introduced as “Ann” or sometimes “This is Ann, Dad’s wife.”
And to clarify further, no one uses the “step” prefix in our family aloud really. Dee doesn’t even know what a step-dad or step-sister is.
I am ever conscious of my actions and words. I don’t want to push or encroach or presume or give the impression. I walked into this with more knowledge than Rob, who at one point declared himself willing to be Dee’s father figure but that he could never be her father father.
We stopped by Edee’s to pick her up. She’d been home with her cat, one of Bouncy’s brood if you recall, who was at death’s door from a blood parasite she’d picked up. And I mean the literal door. Pandora was at a point where she was using her reserves to try and crawl away from wherever Edee put her – looking no doubt for a place to die. Even I know enough about animals to know that.
Dinner was back and forth between pleasant conversation and tearful worry. There was hugging and reassurance and I never know when I am doing too much or not enough.
We’d told the sitter we’d be home between 10 and 10:30 and it was 11 because after dinner at Edee’s poor Pandora was no better. We finally left after assuring Edee that whatever she decided to do concerning Pandora’s care we would support. The naturopath vet had prescribed an antibiotic with herbal back up and instructions to bring the cat in on Monday if she was no better but still alive or a trip to the emergency vet clinic, an expensive affair that makes a jaunt to the human ER in the states look affordable by comparison.
Rob called me from the car after dropping off the sitter to let me know that Edee had texted him and needed him to go along to the ER with her and Pandora. He didn’t get home until about 2:30 where he found me still awake.
Why? The ghosts are back … but then he already knew that.