22 June 2009

Nothing, and Everything

So when I said that I'd blog every day, apparently I meant every weekday, because the weekend went by with nary a peep from me. I actually sat at the computer a few times with the intent to blog and then lost the will. Father's Day did me in, I'm afraid. I felt compelled to write something deep, or at least touching, and I had nothin'. Not a thing.

One of Riley's favorite books for a while was Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, the moral of which is that you can actually make something out of nothing. I find that while I have nothing at all on Father's Day, that nothing feels like something, something that's blocking me up and keeping me from writing about anything else.

Two facts: (1) John only ever experienced Father's Day as a father-to-be; (2) John hated made-up holidays. The fact that he never got to experience a "real" Father's Day was troubling to me when Father's Day came around after he died, but by the same token, I knew he wouldn't have wanted to do anything to celebrate other than spend time with the kids and me. Besides, at that point the twins were about to turn a year old, I had just returned to work after a nearly two-month leave in the wake of John's death, and Hallmark foolishness was not particularly on my mind.

The next year, Father's Day was much harder. Maddie and Riley were about to turn two, we were in a rough spot developmentally and I was coming apart at the seams but pretending to hold it together. I felt John's absence last year acutely both from the standpoint of really wishing I had a partner in the very difficult job of parenting and from the standpoint of how much the kids were missing by not having John in their lives. John was an amazing person, and a very different person from me. In some ways, we were quite similar but in many we were complementary rather than supplementary. There's so much the twins would have learned from him and enjoyed about him, and Father's Day last year made me sad for them, for the loss they are not yet truly aware they have suffered.

This year, Father's Day was surrounded by plenty of distraction: the move, the new job, the limbo between houses. I confess—and it does feel like a confession, as though I've done something wrong that I need to absolve—that John was not much on my mind this Father's Day. I was happy to spend time with my dad and stepdad and other family and friends, but I spent little time reflecting on John or his absence. Some might see this as a sign of healing or moving on, but I think it's more a sign that I've got a lot on my plate right now.

*****************************
From nothingness to everythingness: today Maddie and Riley are three. Three whole years old. The family celebration will be this weekend, and the precious post-work dinner/bedtime sequence of events would have left an actual-day celebration of any substance feeling crowded and rushed. So as far as M&R are concerned, their birthday is not until Sunday. Growing up in a family of divorced and remarried parents, I'm used to celebrating big events on days other than their calendar occurrence, so this does not feel strange to me at all. Plus, three year olds have little to no concept of dates, or at least mine don't. So for us, this Sunday will be June 22 this year.

That said: HOLY SHIT MADDIE AND RILEY ARE THREE! They are glorious and wonderful and hilarious and perfect.

Three. Happy birthday, my babies.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Riley! Happy Birthday Maddie!

Brenna said...

Happy Birthday Riley and Maddie! I didn't know their birthday until now...my oldest is ten today.

hcb said...

Happy Birthday Maddie and Riley! The Pickle and the Snork Maiden will celebrate with you very soon! Hooray!

Today was also my parents' anniversary, a somewhat bittersweet date this year.

Single Parent Dad said...

Happy Birthday twins, woopsy, should really address them separately, my apologies Maddie and Riley. Enjoy your 3rd.

And, Snick, don't beat yourself up over Father's Day. You feel how you feel. There shouldn't be a way you SHOULD feel, it is what it is, you are where you are.

Take care.

AlisonC said...

Wow! Three? Happy Birthday to Maddy and Riley

BiancaW said...

Happy birthday Riley and Maddie - enjoy your party on Sunday, 22nd June. :-)

CV said...

We haven't forgotten about you! N is still finding treasures on her way about the world and announcing she's going to save them to show you guys (she alternates between you depending on the treasure). Just today she was saving lollypops for the twins.

Happy birthday. We miss you.

Kim said...

Happy 3rd birthday, Maddie! Happy 3rd birthday, Riley!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Happy Happy Birthday to Maddie and Riley and Mama. After all, our children's birthdays are as much the mother's milestone as they are the child's.

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday to Maddie and Riley. Time flies!

Susan said...

I loved age 3 with my kids.....still little but having this great big world to explore and the excitement on their faces is even greater. Happy birthday to your sweet little ones, Maddie & Riley. Ya know, I come from a large family and we never celebrated birthdays during the week because my dad was never home (drove a truck). We always, always celebrated the Sunday after your birthday. Now, we do the same for my kids.

Goddess in Progress said...

Happy third birthday, and happy third mom-aversary to you!

Kristin said...

Wow! Happy birthday to the kids!

Delurking to say that I hope this new chapter in your life brings you much happiness. I've been reading your blog for a few years and I'm so glad that you seem to be in a better place (emotionally, work related and location) than in a long time. You and your kids deserve it.

Lil Sis said...

Happy Birthday kids, your Mom is a keeper too!

Betty M said...

Happy birthdays!

Sadia said...

There's so much I could respond to, but I'll limit myself to two:

1. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I thought three was going to be hard, but hard was supplanted by joyous in short order. However, we're only a month into three, so I may yet be proven wrong.

2. "Complementary rather than supplementary". What a beautiful way to describe a relationship. I'll have to share that with my husband; I think he'll agree that that's exactly the phrase we've been searching for for the last several years.

Lyndsay said...

Happy Birthday kiddos!!

Anonymous said...

Three! One of the best ages ever! I hope you all have lots of fun on the birthday-day, and even more as the year progresses! ... leslie

silene said...

Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful three-year-olds!

Becky said...

Aw, happy birthday to the kiddies!

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday Maddie and Riley! Sunday is my real birthday and I am very happy to know that I am sharing it with two very special little people. (I am a mere 44 years older than they are - ahem :)!)

Snick, I am so happy for you and all the positive changes you have made to your life. I admire you and wish you well in your new job and am so happy that you are near your family now. My kids are 22, 20 and 16. They have a tremendous relationship with their grandparents and it is all because we lived close by when they were growing up. It adds a dimension to all their lives that can't be beat.

Soledad said...

Happy Birthday Maddie and Riley. I have three year old twins and it's a glorious age. LOVE to you and the kids. You are amazing! Sounds like you are settling in very nicely. Best of luck for the birthday party.

Kerry Lynn said...

Oh my, Happy Birthday babies! Wow, three does sound old. Ugh

I started a new blog that I wanted to share with you. Just for bloggy friends

http://iheartmytwins.wordpress.com/

tousquireste said...

happy birthday, twins! It seems crazy that I've been able to follow little pieces of your lives for 3 years now!

and, belatedly, i'm glad the new gig and move are working out so well for you and the twins, snick. Hope that continues!!

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OTRgirl said...

When I'm busy, or in limbo, it's very hard to think about what I'm feeling. I totally hear you on that one.

It kinda freaks me out how much having house guests puts me into a place of avoiding my internal life. It seems like a certain amount of routine is necessary in order to feel 'safe' to then deal with sad emotions? I can't imagine how much more chaos having children around would bring. I guess I'm trying to say that it makes sense you weren't feeling much, given all the change in the last months.

Happy Birthday to the twins! Wow. Three years. How is that possible?!

Meg said...

Happy birthday to the twins!

And congratulations to the mom of three-year-old twins!

Fairlington Blade said...

Happy birthday Maddie and Riley! We just went to a birthday party on Saturday. One of Secondo's classmates (I'll call him J2) turned 4. J2 is a lovely little boy who has Down Syndrome. It was fun seeing him running around and we got to meet several of Secondo's classmates and their parents.

I only wish Keen could have been there to decorate the cake.

BB

Keen said...

Happy birthday, Maddie and Riley! Remembering your birthday brought back wonderful memories of riding on the swan boats on the Boston Common last year. And not-so-wonderful memories of Riley falling down the basement stairs. :-) So crazy that one year later, you're settling down in Oregon!

Rev Dr Mom said...

Happy birthday to Maddie and Riley!!!

For reasons very different from yours, my kids have grown up largely without their dad--especially the Kid who hasn't seen his dad in something like 10 years (and given that he's 17, that's major). It so happened that I was asked to write a column for the religion section of the local paper this weekend--about Father's Day--and I wrote about how much my life was shaped by my dad. It was only when I read it in the paper that it hit me how very different experience was from my kids' and what they missed out on. So while Father's Day per se wasn't hard, thinking about fathers and the lack thereof sorta was.

Anyway, not to highjack you comments, but just to say I understand how it can stop and make you take notice. And I wonder if the bank thing hit you harder than it might have, coming on the heels of Father's Day as it did...

Ginevra said...

Happy Birthday, Maddie and Riley! And Happy Birth Day, Snick! We miss you so much. While we were giving ASH his bath I told T it was M&R's birthday and ASH immediately piped up, "I wanna see Maddie and Riley!" Me too, kid. So glad you seem to be settling in well, and looking forward to reading of your further adventures!

Much love,
J

Angela said...

Happy Birthday Maddie and Riley!
I hope they had a great day.

another karen said...

Happy Birthday Maddie and Riley!!!!

All the Best,
Karen

Crash Course Widow said...

First: Happy, happy birthday, babies!!

Second: "a sign of healing or moving on"...What a crock. "I think it's more a sign that I've got a lot on my plate right now" is dead-on [and yes, pun slightly intended]. Not that we don't heal, but stuff like not thinking about John on F.D. isn't a sign of "healing" or moving "through" (never 'moving ON') the grief so much as it is just a representation of how we were on any given day, with or without grief. I've found as time goes on that the "grief" isn't really a physical or emotional 'presence' or thing in my life, except for how my current thoughts encompass both my past with Charley, my more-recent past without him, my current present, and my unknown future. (I don't even know if that made any sense, but my brain is mush after finishing up a huge deadline earlier this week...intelligent thought is negligible at the moment. =))

Glad you survived FD okay. And I hope you have a fabulous party on Sunday!! Hugs!

gypsygrrl said...

dear snick,

my dad hated madeup holidays too ~ and because i was an only child, we had the option ~ he declared MY Birthday as HIS Father's Day and we celebrated as such...

since the twins share the same b-day, maybe when they are older they can share their day as Father's Day...

thanks for sharing your journey ~ i have been reading haphazzardly (nursing school time suck) but i always come back and try and catch up...

happy 3rd birthday M&R!