I’m sitting here listening to the clock tick. Then tock. Then tick again.
Do we still have clocks that actually tick and tock anymore? I grew up with clocks all over my house, and after living in a renovation home for the past two years with anything labeled decor still packed in boxes, I can say with all certainty, I do not hear a clock ticking in my home.
What I hear might be the rumbling of my stomach. It’s 9:30am. I’ve been awake since 5:30am. And I have bloodwork in just over an hour. I can’t eat until after the bloodwork. So tick-tock. If I start to hallucinate the cow jumping over the moon or a dish running away with the spoon — well, nevermind. That might actually happen here in my tick-tock-less home because I loaded the dishwasher only to have a sink full of Monday morning dishes, so if my dishes and spoons just ran away to another home, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised.
Since I have time with rumbling noises that lack a tick and a tock, I thought I would reflect. I’m hungry and severely lacking morning coffee on top of it being Monday, so reflection time might not be the absolute best way to spend my time. However, it is what I will do.
We’ve been through a really difficult month. A month ago, I relived the day my father passed away six years before. It’s still painful, but I will share if you are lucky enough to still take a breath or feel the rumbling of an empty tummy, it will get easier. The day after, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a big party. Ironically enough, six years before, I missed her birthday party. She turned six years old and my father passed away. Not on the same day, mind you. But I wasn’t in the state where my daughter was celebrating life because I was half a country away listening to the clock of life unwind one slow breath at a time.
That year, my daughter wanted a zebra cake. So I did what all moms of soon to be six-year-olds do, and I consulted my favorite intern, Pinterest. With directions on how to make the perfect zebra cake and dreams of nailing it, I planned a party. In the end, I missed the party, didn’t make the cake, and may never have even said happy birthday to my daughter. Well, maybe I did, but for full effect of grief, I don’t remember saying it or being a part of a big event, so if the words came out, they only did so naturally.
A friend of mine made her zebra cake, and she had a party all the same – just without her mother. We all know what matters most and what tasks we can delegate or give up altogether when something else arises. It wasn’t that anything was more important than my daughter at that time, but rather that the time to truly say goodbye occurs once. And if you’ve ever been on the phone with me you’ll understand what I mean. I have a tough time with a simple phone goodbye, so I end up saying the words about three times before I hang up or I hear the dead air left from the other person who had the power to disconnect. Truly saying goodbye only happens when we can’t ever say it and be heard again.
That zebra cake was beautiful. Well, the pictures were. Six years later, I decided to make the zebra cake I never got a chance to make. And I know my daughter at age twelve much better than I did at age six. At age six, she wanted a zebra with a touch of pink. At age twelve, she thought about just a black and white zebra but ultimately, I decided she was too colorful for that, so I made her a rainbow zebra cake and let her decorate the outside.
I think we did okay. And we laughed. And we had fun. And the cake was delicious. And after six years, she got her zebra cake, and I got to make it just for her.
Moments before cutting into this cake, we got news that rocked our world and spun not only us but our community into a new reality.
A teen….one we knew well and loved immensely, had committed suicide.
I won’t get into his story. It’s not mine to tell. But with the love for my father, the love for my daughter, the time to build her a fun cake from scratch, and the joy of life, it’s taken me a month to come back here. To write again. To get my planner out each day and start to live again.
It’s the one thing we can do. Because we’re here.
We can live.
And drink vats of coffee after bloodwork has been completed.
I hope you all are well, and I wish you love and peace.