Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sunday Rundown (Day 268, Year 2)

Well, friends, we survived the weekend (almost, there are about 1,000 more things to do before Monday and none of those items are fun). Today was a quad-event day; field hockey, regatta, Girl Scouts and soccer. It took both of us, another parent, several volunteers and a firm faith that Waze had my back when traveling to someplace in the woods of South Jersey. 

Luckily, everything was up to snuff and I even fit in a Costco run. Now, my "homemade" meatloaf is baking and I am sitting on my couch trying to ignore the dire warning of one Girl Scout father about "20-30 ticks" on his child's legs. Frankly, his warning did not inspire me to do a thorough tick check; instead I am scared to look. 

I might take a couple of those antibiotics I hoarded before the 2020 COVID lockdown. 

I am also humming this disturbing song I learned:"Announcements, Announcements, Announcements, a horrible way to die," at the flag ceremony at Girl Scout camp today. It is a bit dark and I am not sure what it means or why this is a song or what the back story is; but I know there is a back story and clearly it involves a death (or murder? maybe it's a mystery!). 

Anyway, this week begins the end of September; which makes me eternally grateful. I really tried hard this year not to get wrapped up in death month; but alas, I was wrapped up, like always. October will bring in the deliciousness of Fall and Mike's birthday month and Halloween, which is absolutely my favorite. 

Here's my Sunday Rundown of three good things:

1. Busy Sundays Outside. 
Today was insane and truthfully, I was dreading all the activities. I have had two nights of horrible night's sleep with our dog (who wakes up to go to bathroom and frolic at 2 am with the spirits). But, today was such a joy--mostly outside at field hockey and then in the woods at Girl Scout camp. Nothing is better than fresh air and sunshine. The other three Adkins went to a regatta and soccer; enjoying the sunshine (and then the monsoon) too. 

2. Old Friends New to Girl Scouts
Chloe and I have been involved in our local troop since she was in third grade and all the parents are great! But, this year, some other girls joined and it just so happens their mothers are some of my favorite people. I love that I'll see these old friends at Girl Scout events! 

3. A Happy Home. 
Last week was bad, as I mentioned with minimal explanation. And even so, we have a happy home filled with chaos and Aldi candles and a dog who is old, but acts young and a cat who cuddles and some fish (hopefully who have been fed) and a rambling garden and my mother in the back apartment and our neighbors everywhere and of course, each other. Having each other is the best thing everyday. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Never Again. (Day 267, Year 2)

The day after my brother died, I woke up thankful for the first full night of sleep in over a week. 

Today, the day after the 5 year anniversary of his death, I woke up thankful that I was not planning his funeral, again. It is a ridiculous thing to be thankful for; but who can argue with my gratitude on this specific item? It is the blessing of death-you only actually live through the death and funeral  once. 

Of course, you relive all of that death and death adjacent items constantly, without logic, at inconvienent and ridiculous times, for the rest of your life. 

BUT, you've already been through it all, so there is a certainty that you won't need to repeat it in real life. I have to remind myself when I am doing the reliving thing that I don't actually have to live through it for real again. 

Friends, his death was truly the worst thing I've lived through. 

From the first horrible and maddening call from the ER doctor (who I still think about giving a little shove for her lack of directness and lack of urgency in getting my brother to Jefferson) to the days enraged at my mother for leaving the heavy lifting to me to other the days blown away by the beautiful love my mother granted me by knowing that the heavy lifting is the thing that gives me peace and comfort to the yellow eye drops they placed in his eyes to prepare for donation to saying goodbye in the ER while a team of doctor waited for his organs to telling everyone to telling my children to planning his funeral to still not being able to plan the burial of his ashes--all of this is literally the worst. 

It seems impossible it was real. It messes me up constantly. I write about it here and always feel deeply embarassed and extremely pathetic. I know I should not be and that I am not, but I am. 

I like heavy lifting, as I mentioned, I don't like weakness. But no matter, I have to remind myself that never again will my brother die and never again will I plan his funeral. I don't have to do that anymore; I just have to find ways to live despite it all.

Friday, September 23, 2022

This today (Day 266, Year 2)

Today was better than yesterday; which surprised me given my general belief that when it feels like rock bottom, that just means you are still falling. (#optimist!) And today is the anniversary of my brother's death five years ago, which adds strange feelings to everything. I never know how I will feel. Today I felt sad and grief tired, mostly, but also surrounded by the love of really good friends. 

I decided to keep with my practice of sharing three good things. This week has been humbling in so many ways and I am really grateful for that humility. Humility is often hard to enjoy when it is first served up; but once you accept it, I find being humble to be peaceful. Humility slows us down; but doesn't stop us completely. It forces us to be honest and true to ourselves and others. 

Humility is such a beautiful byproduct of love. 

Which brings me to my three good things today:

1. Good Friends

It just so happens that these good friends, both old and kinda old and new (but all young, of course!), mostly did not know what today was but surrounded me with love anyway, which when you think about it, is the best kind of friends to have. Those who love you no matter the weather are the friends you want in your corner every single day. 

2. Middle Daughters

I've been spending a lot of time with my middle daughter this month; just by circumstance and need. Chloe reminds me the most of my brother--she has big, beautiful eyes (although hers are hazel and his were blue). I was the middle in my family, too, although I mostly felt like an only child, given the paths my siblings walked. Chloe always reminds me a bit of myself as a girl and maybe even the girl I aspired to be with a big sister who loved me and a little brother who could talk to me. 

I often look at her and think what a beautiful gift it has been to be her mother--to get to raise a middle daughter who has the same eyes as my brother and her own unique gifts to bring to the world. 

3. Childhood Cancer Moms

I interviewed another childhood cancer mom today, Wendy, about her son Philip. Philip is a miracle--an example of prayer and science bringing forth a miracle cure that not only saved him but will forever save those who love him. We talked cancer, of course. And then we talked faith and God and perspective and the incredible GREAT things that came from cancer. 

Friends, there are so many great things that come from the deepest darkness. I would never trade those away. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Today (Day 265, Year 2)

Today definitely ranked up there on the list of bad days. 

I don't want to write about it. As a result this might be the shortest Yoke this year. 

But, whatever, I am trying to end every day with three good things, so here they are:

1. I got to go to Back-To-School night inside the elementary school for the first time in forever. 

2. Nicholas played his trombone in the neighbor streets and others joined in from their windows in some sort of afternoon musical magic. 

3. My new bootleg jeans with a little flare are fabulous. (And it is finally jean weather). 

I really had to work hard to come up with these three things. I thought about writing: I love my three children or everyone is healthy or I have a home and while those are certainly good things, they are not specific enough. 

That's all I have for tonight. Today was really awful. Tomorrow will be. . . well tomorrow will be tomorrow filled with at least three good things (maybe). 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Three Good Things (Day 264, Year 2)

Today has been utter shit. 

BUT, I've been trying very hard not to complain endlessly. This trying hard started approximately 5 hours ago and was very short lived, but now I back on the wagon of positivity. 

Well, not on the wagon, I am more like chasing the wagon at a brisk walking pace and occasionally stopping to pull up my black leggings or to point out an interesting bird or to pick up litter. 

I am wagon adjacent. 

Anyway, I am truly trying to be positive. I told my family earlier I was trying and I am certain they ignored me because one of them, said "what?" and another one rolled their eyes and let out a sigh. And all of them have yelled at me. 

I think though, the first thing about trying not to complain and being positive, is acknowledging that I cannot control anything. I can sort of bless and release everything and attempt to walk around like someone high on drugs or someone who has been elevated by a robust spiritual experience (involving drugs) and who now floats through the world smiling in a calm, non-deranged way. Picture a woman in white, floating through dirty city streets, while people yell "WHY ARE YOU DRESSED THAT WAY LADY?!", but she remains unflappable with a serene, other worldly look on her face sprinkling out vague wisdom and lollipops everywhere. 

I would love to be that woman. Unless I get my hands on some serious pharmaceuticals, this is all highly unlikely. But, I can aspire to be her sidekick who occasionally shines a positive light into the world. 

You are probably wondering where all this came from.  I've been feeling untethered and without direction lately and as a result I complain endlessly. Many of my complaints are warranted; but they are still annoying and hacking away at my soul and my creditability. When I first started feeling this way I decided to read simple, positive uplifting fiction books and this led me to Katherine Center, who writes sweet romances mixed with good humor and real-ish characters with actual trauma. I am on my fourth Katherine Center book in 2 weeks and I plan to get through her entire catalogue. 

The latest pick "Happiness for Beginners" has the main character on a wilderness journey (which sounds horrible) who is trying each day to pick three good things and somehow insulate herself with happiness so the bad things don't bother her as much. I know this is a work of fiction; but I find most non-fiction self-help books to be highly fictionalized. The advice to pick three good things and use those to carry and cover us through the storms of the day seems as good as any advice I've read. 

My list of three things today is not like the best list of good things ever. These will not impress anyone or provide any inspiring perspective. But, these are what I could come up with from a very trying day:

1. I was able to get my contact lenses in my eyes in less than a minute. I know this is not exciting; but I just got contacts and now I can do it without fanfare. 

2. I spent 30 minutes in my favorite bookstore Inkwood and picked up a million books I don't need, which was lovely. But my son, who struggles with reading, spent those 30 minutes in the Reading Nook reading Creepy Underpants and acting out every page of the book like he was auditing for Broadway. There is nothing better than watching someone you love enjoy a book.

3.  I had good colleagues listen and acknowledge me when I was struggling. It's hard sometimes to trust the people you work with--I think we all know that. But, when you can, it is really such a gift. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Teenage Sisters (Day 263, Year 2)

When my teenager daughters get along, I feel like I am watching a ridiculous sitcom. Tonight, after a shared dance class they are taking together (under duress), they came bounding in the car chatting away and giggling. Then at home, they began discussing math and the distributive property over homemade peach cobbler. 

(Yes, for some reason related to mental illness and my own dysfunction, I made a homemade peach cobbler from the remaining peaches on our peach tree. This is not a regular thing. And Mike will be cleaning the kitchen for at least 2 hours. )

I suggested that they discuss hot boys; which they did for a brief second; and then by some unspoken agreement returned to discussing math. 

Watching sisters is like watching two exotic creatures. I never had the sisterhood like they have. I have a sister, but she's not functional. And I have sorority sisters, whom I adore. And I have friends from preschool all the way up to now who show me sisterhood and support that is like oxygen. 

But, I don't have a Lily to my Chloe or a Chloe to my Lily. Watching them and witnessing their relationship unfold is fascinating to me. There are days when they straight up hate each other. The words that come out of their mouths are words that would make a jail full of convicted felons blush. 

But, then, they return to one another as if none of that ever happened. It isn't that they don't hold grudges--they both love a grudge, it is just that they are very patient and can save their grudge for when it can really sting the other one. 

They steal each others clothes and then they happily lend their clothes to one another. They complain about sharing a room and then I hear them laughing and gossiping long after they should be asleep. They demand time away with their own friends and then I see them all together--the sisters and their friends. They call each other horrible things and then they turn on anyone who does the same to their sister. 

And when I get so angry with the fighting, they look at me and say, "Mommy, we love each other. It's okay."

Those girls of mine are thick as thieves, absolutely maddening and just so perfectly wonderful. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

App Trigger. (Day 262, Year 2)

Friends, this is our second full week of school and I feel like so much has already happened! There is now a king, because the queen is dead (maybe; according to my husband it could be a hoax and he wants to know the cause of death. "Old" is not enough). 

Neither of these facts affect me very much; but you know what does affect me: the cancellation of the Wegman's Scan and Go app. 

You may be still stuck on my husband's conspiracy theories about the Queen and want to know more. I am not going to tell you anymore about that (just go watch Fox News for all your conspiracy needs!). I am however going to dive into the Wegman's Scan and Go App. 

This was the MOST marvelous invention of all time. The App allows you to scan your groceries, as you place them in your shopping bags and then when you are finished, you can scan your App at a register and checkout in seconds. 

You don't need to unload on the belt, bag, and reload. 

I could get out of there in 30 minutes and spend $400. (I can also do this at Nordstrom. But new shoes do not feed a family!). 

Anyway, they cancelled the App because people were stealing. Someone always ruins everything! 

Today, on this second full Monday of the second full week of school, I had to go to Wegmans without the App. I remembered what I was getting into on the way; but we were out of milk and oreos (I mean salmon and kale) and I needed to get there! Others inside had no idea. In the produce department a younger toddler was wailing, beside herself, when the clerk told her mother "no more scan and go."

BABIES ARE CRYING! Where is the humanity?

I was there for hours, maybe days (Is it 2023?). It was very traumatic and  I had to wait in a line. In line, I had to place everything on the belt. Some items did not fit. The cashier talked me through it and kept saying "WELL DONE! What's your name? Oh, well WELL DONE Trish." She was very encouraging. I was probably not her first Scan and Go refugee! 

When I emerged, the outside looked unfamiliar because I had been gone for so long! I did find my car, because I had parked in croaked, in complete fashion (on purpose! This is a life hack!). 

Anyway, I guess this is my new life; which looks a lot like the old life, back before the app and before the shopping bag ban in NJ and maybe enough before Wegmans when I just had Shoprite or maybe before that when my mother would drag me to the Pathmark in Warminster that smelled like a slaughter house for generic soda (untenable!).