LBM: Sunburns, Skeeball and the Dryer

Her eyes stung and she blinked hard, trying to clear the heavy haze from too much crying. Sadness draped her frame and cloaked her face, as she leaned wearily against the back of her bedroom door. She had known this week was going to be rough, but as so often happens, theory and planning fall like dry tinder before the raging fire of a lived life. It all looked so simple from months away, but now the heat and pressure were making it hard to breathe.

Was it just yesterday that she had graduated? College graduation is supposed to be a big deal, she had presumed. For the blood, tears, stress and debt it incurred, it really should be- and yet, hers was not. She kept telling herself it was okay, that it really didn’t matter- and she knew that was true. Mostly. But her eyes still stung thinking about hearing her name called to silence. It didn’t matter.

Graduation was just an addendum to an already overflowing week, capped by two solid days of offloading her and her children’s personal belongings. The plan was, two days after graduation, the moving truck would be there and she had to downsize by half. The sunburned cheeks of her friends at church that morning had given tell to whom had spent the weekend in her yard. Tears sprung to her eyes again. Gratitude. Shame for missing the cheers. Humility for feeling undeserving of an outpouring of love from so many friends.

The kids were starting to peck at each other, and her daughter called through wondering about dinner. There was a phone ringing, but she wasn’t going to try and find it. Let the machine get it. It could join the twenty-eight other messages never to be listened to. The kids’ father was coming by to take them to Chuck E Cheese for dinner with their Nana. She had forgotten it was also Father’s Day. Fortuitous, since they were now out of paper plates and bowls, and she didn’t have a clue what she could throw together from the cupboard leavings. Everyone was tired of frozen or fast food.

Flopping on her stomach on the soft bed, she thought she would just close her eyes for a moment. Her daughter was now out in the yard calling for the neighbor’s cat. The next two days yawned before her and she wished with fervent exhaustion for a pass on this one. Nope. Truck comes tomorrow at noon.

She closed her eyes, and the relief brought a fresh welling of hot stinging tears. So tired. She tried to only think about the next five minutes, most of which she wished for sleep. She’d lived in this little house for two and a half years, and in her neighborhood for just over ten years. Two of her three babies had been born there, and some of the most amazing people called her their friend. Yet she was packing up and leaving. Why? Why couldn’t she just stay?

Every time she contemplated it, her gut locked up, and she’d feel sick. She didn’t know why she had to go, but she knew it was time, and if she tried to force it, things here would start to unravel. It was just the way it worked. As frightening as it was, the idea of not listening to whispers to her spirit telling her it was time to fly- was far more terrifying. So there she flopped. Exhausted beyond all imagined reason, but hearing her kids’ father pull into the drive and the familiar knock on the door.

She rubbed her eyes and sat up as she listened to the kids shriek with happiness that cheap pizza and skeeball were in their immediate future. The backdoor rang, and she realized she had forgotten the people who bought the washer and dryer were picking up, and she headed downstairs to pull the last load of laundry from the dryer.

As a testament to her exhaustion, she noticed there was a couch on her front lawn still from the weekend. She stood at the window, arms full of warm dry laundry, and idly wondered what would happen to it. She had been sitting on that brand-new couch nursing her oldest son when the first plane hit the tower nearly eleven years ago. Now, it was a yard decoration. And she just didn’t care.


9 thoughts on “LBM: Sunburns, Skeeball and the Dryer

  1. GOOOOOO Dandelion Mama!!!! You have more people than you know cheering you on, even if you can’t hear us. 🙂 Sending thoughts of strength your way…

  2. I love your ability to write your thoughts and feelings so eloquently…even when it is so hard! You have done amazing tough things these past few years, things you should be very proud of, even singing your own praises, loudly!
    It is hard closing a chapter and opening a new one. I have done it many times over the years, but each new chapter brings its own blessings, its own challenges, and its own time for growth.
    Here’s to your new chapter…may it be fulled of adventure, lots of love and support, and much more success!
    Love you!

  3. I totally understand your fears of letting go and flying, though the whisperings are undeniable that it is time to do so. It has been the same for us, twice in the past 3 years.

    Regardless of the preparation and time spent, the last few days are always hell. Wish I could tell you it would be different for you this time. Alas, all I can say is that by this time next week, life will look a little less panicky and a lot more like “now how do I, and the kids, start to adjust?”

    The following insight really hit home this time: the bonus of a long distance move is that the one-week mark flies by in a rush because most of that time is spent driving cross-country. Tracy, before you know it, you will be unloading and unpacking in your new home!

    You obviously didn’t hear me, but I cheered for you – with gusto and pride!!

    Love and hugs, my friend. One breath at a time… Just one breath. That is good enough for now.

  4. All over the world people were thinking “Today is Tracy’s graduation day” – you weren’t up there alone…

  5. I was cheering for you! As others have said, you just couldn’t hear us…. so sorry about that. You are an inspiration to so many… what an adventure you have ahead of you! One step at a time. 🙂

  6. My mom and dad mixed up my graduation with my sister-in-laws and missed mine. They haven’t forgiven themselves and I aleve their guilt as much as possible but I definitely felt the silence when my name was called.
    As a long time lurker, I just wanted you to know that I understand. Also, I too was cheering for you in my heart. Obnoxiously loud. People stared. 🙂

  7. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were cheering unabashedly and joyfully – and in admiration and awe – as you got that degree. You couldn’t hear them, but I guarantee it was happening.

    You are right that you need to move. Only hindsight will tell you why – and, perhaps, only distant hindsight. That’s happened with us – but we’ve always been able to look back (sooner or later) and see it, after the endurance to the end of that season of our lives and, sometimes, before we made the next move that was not fully explainable.

    As one of my favorite sayings goes:

    “May there be a road.”

  8. Tracy,
    You are an incredible writer with an incredible story to tell. I’ll never cease to be amazed at the reserves you always seem to find to get you over the next hurdle. I am so glad that you have a community of support and I know you’ll grow and develop a new support system on the east coast. I rarely comment but I am constantly sending good thoughts your way.
    You can make it through another week… and another after that. As you wrote – just focus on the next five minutes. You have proved that you are capable of so much more than most of us imagine. You are in my thoughts and I’m sending you as much strength as possible… and I suspect I’m just one of many across the country who are sending you hope, love, and support. You are loved and you can make it through the next five minutes and onto this next step in your journey.

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