The calendar has changed to July. But I am living in days of Before and After. Before and After my brother died. Really I am living in During and, as everyone knows, the during phase of construction is always the worst. Everything is all over the place. Nothing feels settled. I can't find anything where I thought I placed it. Someone has come and moved everything around. Nothing works. Or at least nothing works the way it's supposed to. June was definitely During. I know somewhere in there my daughter graduated from elementary school and my son's baseball team won the championship. We celebrated with friends in a rare night out at a restaurant on the deck. We all went to a Phillies game. These things kept me going. We went to the shore and drank margaritas and ate clams and went on the log flume. These things kept me smiling.
But now that is over. I am done with talking, listening, crying, hugging and being held. I don't feel like running today. I can't do it anymore. Now I need to reconstruct my view of the world, get a new perspective that allows room for memories of him, if not for him.
A few months ago I wrote about What Matters, where I tried to describe why little things make a difference when we are in some kind of pain or feeling down. I tried to talk about why I want my son to have clean socks when he feels that it just doesn't matter. I tried to say that little things do matter and lift us up and comfort us when we need them. Now I need them. I need soft socks. Flip-flops will do.
The cream on top would have to be chocolate milk. To mix things up a little I made some for the kids today in a bar shaker. Chocolate, ice, a few drops of vanilla, a little cinnamon sugar, and milk. When you shake, it gets all frothy cold and bubbly. Delicious. Comfort.
The other comfort comes in being outside. Breeze. Sun. Clouds. Sky. Nothing to do. Maybe some windchimes would be nice.
Water. Just from a hose is enough. Drink it straight. Water the flowers. Hear the splash-spray of it. Soothing.
Kids. They are definitely some kind of comfort. Making us laugh out loud when we least expect it.
What are some other soft socks for moms? Cold dinners when we don't have to cook. Paper plates. A month of bathing suits only and no laundry. A glass of wine. Someone putting the seat down or washing the last dish that appears in the sink at night. An uninterrupted chapter of a good book. A friend calling just to check in. Maybe a good haircut. And of course, our homes. My home is clean today. I spent all morning touching things up and dusting and putting away. It feels good. I had a plan Before, a list of things to accomplish this summer and honestly, I can't remember one. Something about the coffee table in the family room, but what color was I going to stain it? I will get back to normal, or at least to After, for now we are just going on as is. Struggling with the re-construction phase and washing our socks and eating peanut butter and jelly.