my life lately

I am sitting here dipping a slice of sourdough bread into a bowl of steaming delicious corn chowder while an electric heater beneath my desk burns my ankles, and I am trying to decide what I should write.

It has been frigid this week. The clouds cover the sun most of the day and the air is constantly a crisp chill, gusts of which blow in occasionally and swoop up handfuls of dull yellow and rust colored leaves that have fallen from the trees to help them survive the cold. I love it all so much. In the evenings, after work and dinner, we bundle up in our boots and wool socks to go outside and play until the sun goes down.

Last night I even wore a winter coat, fighting my urge to avoid it and instead determining that my comfort should be more important than some inner ego trying to see how long I can go before putting a coat on. I sat in a camp chair that I had set up just inside the garage walls to block the wind, where I read a book while the boys rode their skateboards around the parking lot. There is a skinny teenage boy with a very hip haircut that lives across the way from us who spends all of his extra time outside practicing tricks on his skateboard, and the boys have really taken to him. They stare at him in awe and then in turn try to do everything he does, therefore skateboarding has become a favorite hobby for them these days.

It is the time of year that I over indulge in candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins. On Sunday we had our annual witches dinner at my mom's house, where she creates a dinner of hawaiian haystacks creatively set up to a Halloween theme. The crunchy noodles are spider legs, the mandarin oranges are pumpkin poop, the almonds are witches fingernails. The kids think that it is just the best, this Halloween gig.

I just got glasses. I need glasses now more than ever, which is a true mark of my age. I need them when I watch movies, I need them when I read, I need them when I type, and if I am being frank it probably wouldn't hurt to wear them when I drive. They are adorable though (they should be, over $200 for these babies!) and truthfully I am so excited to be the girl in glasses. Another mark of my age, I suppose. They arrived this afternoon so I wore them for the first time on my drive home from work. The mountains and trees and cloud filled sky were all so beautifully crisp and clear that it actually took my breath away and made me cry.

I have been having a lot of nightmares recently and I'm not sure what is triggering them. At first they started with dreams about James. Not dreams about him dying, but rather, dreams about him being alive. In my dreams he is teasing me and laughing with me, holding a large can of the energy drink he used to love in his hand, wearing his hat with the brim bent to hell, being his good old little brother self. Each time I wake it is a terribly disheartening reminder that it was just a dream. Intertwined with dreams of James, I have had a few truly awful nightmares. In the most recent one we lost Beck while on vacation. It was terrible as a dream can get, one in which for hours I was  searching and screaming, running the streets and crying. I knew he was gone and that I would never see him again. I woke from the nightmare to Beck happily calling for me from his bedroom in the darkness of the early morning, and I have never been so elated to rush into his room, scoop him up in my arms and kiss his soft cheeks.

I have been sick to my stomach while dreading the coming of the Holidays this year. December especially will be the hardest, and I wish I had it in my power to hop on a plane and spend the entire month away from reality in Thailand or Italy. I'm not sure how I will do it yet, how I will make it through a month filled with so many heartbreaking emotions and memories, how I will walk through an anniversary of the worst day of my life so far. I have two little boys for whom I need to make the holidays magical, yet the thought of celebrating Christmas makes me physically ill. It puts me in such a terrible contradiction and I don't know how I will do it all.

In that regards, I feel that lately I am like a black bear preparing for hibernation, how they instinctively sense the winter coming, devouring pound-fulls of berries rich in carbohydrates to hold them over through the long freezing months to come. I feel with this primal instinct inside of me that with the literal winter is coming this horrible metaphorical winter, this time of torture that I'm not sure how to endure, and so I am stuffing myself with all of the sugary berries I can find. I am finding my berries in Dan and the boys. I am finding berries in Beck's sweet cuddles and Jace's fishy kisses and long walks with Rockie around the neighborhood. I am finding them in the magnificent fall colors surrounding me everywhere I go. I am finding them in quiet late night cups of steaming hot chocolate with a good book. I am finding them in corn mazes and pumpkin patches. I am finding them in shopping trips with my girlfriends, date nights with my lover, kayking and hiking and exploring in the mountains. I have baskets full of berries, and I have a feeling they will get me through somehow.

I was talking late last night with my sister-in-law who knows terrible heartache from recently losing her sweet daughter. We talked about how, through these god-awful hard days, we find so many moments that feel like our lost loved ones pushing us along and carrying us through somehow. Like they are sending us signs with good omens, like they are wanting us to succeed and find some happiness. We talked about how it makes us sound crazy to say that out loud, but that we really don't care one bit if we sound crazy because sometimes, if hope is all you have, hope is enough.

So my life lately is full. It is full of pain and it is full of love and I think that's all I can ask for, to live a real full human experience and to feel it all.

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